Commentary: Why NMSU Will Beat Troy

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Derek Gonzales

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Commentary: Why NMSU Will Beat Troy

Week three of the college football season is here and though there are not many marquee games, one of the better matchups on the slate will take place inside Aggie Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. The Troy Trojans come into town and will face a New Mexico State team that has been one of the bigger surprises in college football thus far.

The Aggies are coming off an impressive 30-28 win over in-state rival New Mexico, in which they led the entire way and by as much as 25 points before a fourth-quarter rally by the Lobos made the game appear closer than what it was. National buzz is starting to surround this Aggie team that appears to have a team in place that could contend not only for bowl eligibility but possibly a Sun Belt Conference championship.

ESPN College Gameday’s Chris Fallica picked the Aggies to beat Troy, and College Football Insider Brett McMurphy had NMSU projected to play in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Ariz.

Troy is 1-1 on the season, having lost to Boise State on the blue turf to open the year before knocking off FCS Alabama State 34-7 last Saturday in their home opener.

The Trojans are led by senior quarterback Brandon Silvers, who along with NMSU’s Tyler Rogers, is in his fourth season as a starter. Silvers has yet to throw a touchdown this season but has accumulated 54 passing touchdowns in his career.


In the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Trojans were picked to finish second (the highest predicted finish for Troy since 2011) and returned 98.7 percent of their offensive production from a season ago.

It will be a tough task for the Aggies to beat a top-tier SBC team, but with monstrous strides they have shown defensively through two weeks and a prolific offense, here are a few things that will happen that can propel NMSU to a monumental win tonight.

Rose needs 125+ all-purpose yards

Running back Larry Rose III has been fantastic through two games this season — and he has done it in a way that has the Aggie offense looking as dangerous as ever. Having gone against two primarily man-to-man defensive playing teams, there just has not been much room for the 2015 AP All-American to operate. UNM and ASU game-planned for Rose and as a result, limited his explosive plays. Nonetheless, Rose still not only managed to get 102 yards rushing against the Lobos, but was also the second-leading receiver on the team with seven catches. Expect Rose to create more gash plays against a zone-running Troy defense. With the 35 pounds Rose has gained since arriving on campus in 2014, he looks more equipped at running between the tackles and has done well thus far. Expect Rose to have a big game.

Aggie offense will convert at least 80 percent of red zone opportunities

Last year’s meeting was a 52-6 blowout win for Troy. Rose was in his first game back after nursing a sports hernia injury and did not look 100 percent. However, NMSU moved the ball with ease against the Trojans, racking up 539 yards of total offense and Rogers throwing for a career-best 445 yards. Where the Aggies struggled was in the red zone — and boy did they struggle mightily. Four of Rogers’ five interceptions came in the red zone, where the team only converted on one of their six red zone opportunities. This year, NMSU has scored on every red zone chance, and despite having thrown the ball 114 times, Rogers only has three interceptions. The Aggie offense will move the ball and convert close to the end zone, putting up the points necessary to upend the Trojans.


Special Teams will convert all extra points

This is certainly an area Aggie fans have stopped taking for granted a long time ago. It began with Parker Davidson’s struggles in 2015 and 2016 and have only continued to be a cause for concern with new starter Dylan Brown. Brown missed a PAT against ASU and holder Conner Cramer mishandled a snap and made it worse by trying to make something out of nothing, fumbling the ball and allowing UNM to run it back for a two-point conversion. Those struggles will not happen today, if only for one game. NMSU will be fundamentally sound and not take off any points off the board through special team blunders.



Trying to pick a winner in this game is tough. Troy has had NMSU’s number, but something about this year’s team has Las Cruces thinking everything could be different. I for one have bought stock into this Aggie team and I think they send a message to the Sun Belt that they are looking to leave the conference with a crown.


NMSU 33, Troy 30





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