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Aggies' road only gets tougher this weekend

Utah State got what it expected Saturday night, a comfortable victory over a not-very-good New Mexico State team.

The Ags started slowly and gradually picked up steam, getting 21 points and 187 yards in the final quarter to break a four-game losing skid with the 38-7 win.With NMSU out of the way, the road gets tougher for the Aggies, beginning this week in Moscow, Idaho, where they'll take on an Idaho team that hasn't lost at home in nearly four years.

The coach back then? None other than USU coach John L. Smith. It's been 21 games since the Vandals suffered a 54-34 home loss to Montana in 1993. Smith knows his team won't have it easy Saturday night at his old stomping grounds at the Kibbie Dome.

"We will have to play better than we did tonight, against Idaho," said Smith following Saturday night's homecoming victory. Idaho is 4-3 overall after losing at Nevada on Saturday.

Smith was generally happy with the win over New Mexico State, in which his Aggies never turned the ball over and racked up a season-high 523 yards of total offense. He said the big difference was how the Ags practiced this week compared to last.

"We practiced much better," he said. "I always say that you are going to play like you practice."

A couple of players who didn't practice a lot during the week came up with fine performances.

Running back Demario Brown scored three touchdowns and picked up 69 yards in carrying the ball just 14 times, about half his season average. Brown is still having trouble with the knee he injured earlier in the year and sat out much of the week. Melvin Blue added 58 yards on 14 carries.

Receiver Nakia Jenkins, who missed a couple of practices with various ailments, bounced back from a poor showing at Oregon State to catch 10 passes for 158 yards. He caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Matt Sauk, just his second TD of the season.

Sauk had perhaps his best game of the year following a slow start in which he completed just one of his first eight passes. He finished with 23 of 41 completions for 371 yards.

AGNOTES: Perhaps the most amazing Aggie stat to come out of Saturday's game was this: two penalties for 18 yards. Coming into the game, the Aggies were averaging 113 penalty yards a game . . . Jenkins went over 2,000 career receiving yards and Sauk surpassed the 4,000-yard mark in career passing . . . Freshman linebacker Blake Eagal got his first start in place of Jeramy Hunt-Loveless, who still played much of the game . . . Tony D'Amato, the team's leading tackler on the year, led the way in tackles against NMSU with 13, in-clud-ing one for a 10-yard loss . . . DT Ben Crosland went out on the first play with what was first announced as an Achilles tendon tear. But Smith said his injury wasn't serious enough to keep him out of this week's game.