POSTED: Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 5:42pm
UPDATED: Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 6:48pm
The New Mexico State football team dropped its opening Western Athletic Conference (WAC) game of the season 34-24 at San Jose State Saturday afternoon.
NM State dropped to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play. San Jose State earned its first win of the year to improve to 1-3 overall and begin WAC play at 1-0. The Aggies were flagged for eight fouls for 76 yards while the Spartans drew one penalty for five markers on the day.
Aggie senior quarterback Matt Christian made his first start of the season, throwing for 238 yards on 17-of-28 passing with an interception and a touchdown. Christian also rushed for a 9-yard touchdown as part of his 58 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Starting at running back today, junior Kenny Turner compiled a career-high 129 yards on 17 carries including a career-long 78-yard touchdown. Turner also nabbed his first career touchdown reception on an 18-yard strike from Christian, finishing with three grabs for 19 yards. Senior wide receiver Taveon Rogers amassed a career-high 120 yards on five catches and totaled 67 yards on four kick returns.
Defensively, senior Courtney Viney eclipsed his season total (12) in tackles with 14 stops including 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Senior Donyae Coleman recorded his second straight game with 10 tackles, his third double-digit effort of the season to go with two pass breakups. Senior tackle David Mahoney recovered his first career fumble in the second quarter that led to NM State’s first touchdown drive of the game.
On the second play of the third quarter, SJSU threw for a 64-yard touchdown to take a 17-10 lead with 14:12 left. The Aggies then drove the ball down in four plays to tie the game at 17-17 with 12:31 to go in the third. Christian scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on a 9-yard run. Christian was a perfect 2-for-2 and rushed for 24 yards on the drive.
The Aggie defense stopped the Spartans on a third-and-one to force a punt with 10:34 left in the third. Turner then took the ball on a second-and-10 and turned it up the field for 78 yards and a touchdown, giving NM State a 24-17 lead with 8:35 to go in the quarter. It was Turner’s career-long run, while pushing him over the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time as an Aggie.
The Spartans took the ball and drove 75 yards in 14 plays to tie the game at 24-24 with 3:19 to go in the third, on a 3-yard touchdown pass. Christian then threw an interception on the Aggies’ next drive to give SJSU the ball back with 1:20 left in the third. The quarter ended with the score tied 24-all and the Spartans driving deep into NM State territory.
The Spartans scored on a 2-yard run to take a 31-24 lead with 13:59 left in the game. It was Rutley’s second rushing touchdown of the game. SJSU’s scoring drive was 53 yards on six plays in 2:20. The Aggies’ next drive stalled and was forced to punt the ball away to the Spartans with 10 minutes left in the game.
SJSU would kick a field on its next possession to extend their lead to 34-24 with 7:07 remaining in the game.
NM State went three-and-out on the ensuing drive after a false start penalty.
San Jose State started its next drive with 5:43 remaining. The Spartans rushed the ball six times in seven plays to wind down the clock as NM State used its second timeout of the game. SJSU turned it over on downs with 1:43 remaining.
The Aggies took over on their own 33-yard line with 1:43 left in the contest. NM State moved into Spartan territory and called its final timeout with 1:02 remaining. Christian utilized the two-minute offense to move the Aggies to the Spartan 20-yard line before time ran out.
The Aggies got on the board first with a 19-yard field goal by Tyler Stampler. NM State took the opening drive 77 yards on 10 plays, taking a 3-0 lead with 9:41 to go in the first quarter. The Spartans turned right around and scored on their first play of the game, a 66-yard rushing touchdown, to give SJSU a 7-3 with 9:29 left in the first.
The Spartans attempted a 37-yard field goal with 4:05 to go in the first quarter, but it sailed wide right giving the ball back to NM State at its own 20-yard line. The Aggies then went three-and-out, having to punt the ball away for the second time in the game. SJSU held a 7-3 lead after one quarter, while driving into NM State territory.
Just seconds into the second quarter the Aggies forced the Spartans to punt the ball back at the 14:56 mark. The Aggies started their drive at the 2-yard line after a solid special teams play by the Spartans. NM State moved the ball into the Spartans’ side of the field but were forced to punt, downing the ball inside the 2-yard line of SJSU with 11:03 to go in the half.
The Spartans slowly moved the ball up field before defensive lineman David Mahoney recovered a fumble snap by the Spartans quarterback to give NM State excellent field position at the SJSU 45-yard line with 6:14 to go in the half. It was Mahoney’s first career fumble recovery.
The Aggies moved the ball inside the SJSU 20-yard line with just under five minutes to play in the half. Christian then hit Turner on an 18-yard diving touchdown catch to put the Aggies up 10-7 with 4:12 left in the first half.
SJSU drove the ball to the NM State 25-yard line with 22 seconds left in the half and were forced to attempt a field goal. The 42-yard attempt was good, tying the game at 10-all with just 17 second to go in the half.
Christian threw for 140 yards on 6-of-11 passing and a touchdown in the first half. Turner led the Aggies with 40 yards rushing, while Taveon Rogers caught four passes for a career-high 105 yards. Turner also caught a touchdown pass in the first half. The defense was led by Courtney Viney and Boyblue Aoelua each with seven tackles. The Aggies totaled 188 yards of offense compared to SJSU’s 213 yards in the first half.
The Aggies will take on I-25 rival New Mexico, Oct. 1 in Albuquerque, N.M. at University Stadium beginning at 6 p.m.