Mustang fans had to feel a little bit of apprehension and déjà vu with the way the game started on Saturday. Although it was not the first play of the game, Western New Mexico allowed Texas A&M’s special teams to get a very quick score with a 79 yard punt return the first time they touch the ball. So for the second week in a row Western New Mexico was behind and the other teams offense had not yet taken the field.
Unlike last week, our offense answered quickly and tied the game rather than falling behind by three scores. Job you hold continues to be able to throw the ball well. You know that Xavier Ayers is always going to give you a spectacular game, but Tredonte Hill, Herman Moore, and Rodney Lawson are each giving us big plays. It’s clear that the passing game is clicking once again for Western New Mexico. The offense of line is giving job you time to throw plus the play calling gets the ball out of his hands quickly.
The run blocking needs to improve. DeAndre Williams is showing that he has the talent to be an above average running back in this league. He hasn’t broken any longer runs but that is more because he is getting hit by defenders quickly, usually at or within a yard or two of the line of scrimmage. Right now the running game is doing just enough to keep defenses honest, but it could be a much bigger producer of yardage and scores than it has been.
Look at was this happened in the last two home games. Once again this week we haven’t first and goal, essentially on the other teams goal line. Yet we cannot punch the ball in with the running game. In fact we cannot move anybody forward when both teams are lined up in goal line formations. Maybe the solution is to go into the spread formation at the goal line or try running off of tackle either out of goal line formation or spread formation.
Defensively, we continue to give up big plays but we also continue to make big plays. Sometimes when you’re going to get turnovers you’re also going to give up a lot of big plays. We did put pressure on the other quarterback, especially in the first half keeping Commerce from getting comfortable in the passing game. Texas A&M came out in the second half with the idea that they would establish the run and they did so. That also helped them to get more room in the passing game. We did not seem to have an answer for their commitment to the run in the second half.
One observation about the Lone Star conference in general; the top teams in this conference do not seem to be the type of team you would expect of Texas football, that is hard-nosed physically overpowering teams. We have played the top-ranked teams in the conference and Eastern New Mexico was the more physical of the teams we have played yet I don’t feel like they are the best team in the conference. Looking back at the RMAC, we look at teams like Pueblo, Mesa, Chadron, and as I understand it Black Hills State is teams that are very physical. Maybe we will see more physicality from the teams we face later in the season but it’s something that was just an observation and a bit of a surprise given the reputation of the Lone Star conference and Texas football in general.