By ERIN BASS
“Welcome to the WAC, New Mexico State.”
That seemed to be the thought of every Bulldog fan and player this past Saturday night as the ‘Dawgs (1-2, 1-0 WAC) mauled the Aggies (0-5, 0-1 WAC) 34-14.
The Bulldogs will take on Hawaii (1-3, 1-1 WAC) Saturday at 6 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium in another crucial WAC game.
In last Saturday’s game, Cornerback Tramon Williams took away New Mexico’s first possession with an interception, but Tech would do nothing with it and ended its first series with a punt.
“It’s just crazy how it goes sometimes with turnovers,” head coach Jack Bicknell said. “Sometimes it could be a fumble or a tipped ball, and you don’t get it and sometimes you do. And this week we just seemed to be getting them.”
On their next possession, after driving the ball 48 yards, the Bulldogs found themselves at 4-1 on the New Mexico 25-yard line.
“A lot of times I would have kicked a field goal in that situation, but I felt like the team was a little bit nervous, and we needed something good to happen to get us going,” Bicknell said.
“I felt like if we got it, then that would have been it.”
After running back Freddie Franklin gave Tech a first down with a 15-yard rush, fellow running back Mark Dillard rushed the final ten yards and received the first touchdown of the game.
With two of the three running back choices making first downs and scoring touchdowns and the other doing just as well, Bicknell said he will continue to rotate the three until deciding otherwise.
“We got three guys right now that I feel confident in. I’m not sure which of the three is better,” Bicknell said.
“They all give us something a bit different. Mark [Dillard] is a hard running guy…Freddie [Franklin] is kind of an all-around, everything guy and Patrick [Jackson] gives us something with quickness.”
Early in the second quarter, kicker Danny Horwedel made a field goal which brought the score to 10-0.
The score would remain looking like a shut out until 1:05 remained in the fourth.
True freshman tight end Anthony Harrison would score twice, once in both the third and fourth quarter, with two receptions from starting quarterback Matt Kubik.
Then the score would sit at 34-0 as Horwedel made the last score with one right through the up rights.
New Mexico State scored two touchdowns back-to-back in the final seconds of the game, finalizing the score 34-14.
Even though a shut-out was looming, Bicknell decided to put the second string in mid-third quarter.
“I really like playing a lot of people when you have the opportunity to,” Bicknell said.
“I feel like those guys are working hard; they got parents in the stands and, to be honest, there are a few different reasons. You get your starters out when you can. There’s no sense, if you know the game is in the bag, to play your starters and have one of them get hurt and be out for the rest of the season.”
“And those guys deserve to play, and you are providing depth for those guys and giving them experience so that if you do ever get an injury, then it’s not like it is the first time they have ever played in a game.”
Saturday’s game will be Tech’s second conference game. Kubik believes the ‘Dawgs are ready to take another one home.
“The first win is always the toughest win to get, but I thought we played well,” Kubik said. “Each game we are learning what we do best, and overall it was a boost to our confidence as a team. We’re looking forward to Hawaii.”