New Mexico no ‘sacrificial lamb’ for No. 7 Texas A&M

Field Level Media

September 14, 2021 at 10:03 pm.

Dropping two placed in the rankings despite a victory last week, Texas A&M figures to be plenty motivated in a nonconference meeting with New Mexico on Saturday.

A close 10-7 victory at unranked Colorado of the Pac-12 dropped Texas A&M from No. 5 to No. 7.

The Aggies (2-0) play their third straight nonconference football opponent Saturday morning at Kyle Field in College Station against New Mexico of the Mountain West. They will do so without quarterback Haynes King, who left the Colorado game in the first quarter with a lower leg fracture that required surgery.

King is out indefinitely, and Zach Calzada, who took over in Denver, is in. Calzada completed 18 of 39 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 28 yards on seven carries.

Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher likes what he saw from Calzada as far as his communication and sideline demeanor after mistakes and execution errors. Calzada fumbled at the goal line on a play that was close, reviewed by officials and upheld. But later, he led his team down the field and hit Isaiah Spiller for an 18-yard touchdown pass that proved the winning points with 2:41 left in the game.

At 10 games, A&M has its longest winning streak since 1998, and is a heavy favorite to extend the streak this weekend.

“That’s the first real actual true game time that Zach has had,” Fisher said. “He got put in the fire pretty good right there quick out of the blue, and they (Colorado) were ready for us.

“The more he played, the more it slowed down, the more he saw it, the more plays he was able to make.”

The Aggies defense was stubborn in the second half, holding the Buffaloes to just 54 total yards and forcing them to go 0-of-6 on third-down conversions. With Jayden Peevy’s interception, Texas A&M has intercepted a pass in six of its last seven games.

New Mexico is 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 season, after the Lobos’ 34-25 win over New Mexico State last Saturday. Quarterback Terry Wilson threw for a career high 381 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson is this week’s Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

“The big thing, we’re trying to change the habit of losing,” Lobos head coach Danny Gonzales said. “We’re trying to establish something around here. It’s an attitude.”

Gonzales said his team is not a “sacrificial lamb” for Texas A&M.

“They may think we are. But we’re going to go down there and put our best foot forward and we’re going to fight and compete,” he said.

Wilson and wide receiver Mannie Logan-Green have built a connection from when they worked out together in Arizona in 2018. Logan-Green is No. 2 in the nation in kickoff return yards with 279 and fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards with 395 through two games this season.

Texas A&M has won all four previous meetings, including the three in Texas by an average of 46 points per game.

— Field Level Media