The New Mexico State football team stepped out of conference Saturday afternoon and fell to No. 18 Georgia 63-16 at the Bulldogs’ Sanford Stadium.
Junior running back Kenny Turner led the Aggie offense on the day, scoring two touchdowns and set career receiving numbers. Turner led the NM State receiving corps as well with a career-high 127 yards on eight receptions, also a career mark. He rushed for 94 yards on the ground on 23 carries. It marked Turner’s second career game with a receiving and rushing touchdown in addition to his game at San Jose State earlier this season.
Senior quarterback Matt Christian played in just the first half before going out of the game with an injury just before halftime. Christian finished the half with 156 yards on 12-of-24 passing and an interception. Freshman Travaughn Colwell started the second half for the Aggies and went 8-for-12 on the day for 120 yards and a touchdown. Colwell also gained 15 yards rushing on four carries.
Senior safety Ben Bradley led the Aggies with 10 tackles on defense including one for a loss while senior corner Courtney Viney registered eight stops.
NM State drops to 3-6 on the season, while Georgia improves to 7-2 on the year.
The Aggies opened the fourth quarter with its first touchdown of the game. Colwell connected with Rogers on a 30-yard pass to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Turner to make it 56-10 with 13:35 remaining. With 1:59 left on the clock, Colwell later connected with Turner on a 22-yard touchdown pass on the Aggies’ final drive of the contest. The Aggies extra point was no good to yield the final score.
In the first half, Georgia drove deep inside NM State territory on its first drive of the game but Aggie defensive tackle Walter Taumoepeau forced Bulldog running back Brandon Harton to fumble the ball inside the NM State 5-yard line. NM State senior safety Donyae Coleman recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback, his third recovery this season. It also marked Taumoepeau’s first career forced fumble.
NM State began its second drive on the 20-yard line after the turnover. Christian connected with freshman wide receiver Austin Franklin on a 24-yard pass on third down to reach the Aggie 44-yard line. But on the next play Turner fumbled after he crossed midfield and the Bulldog defense recovered.
UGA quickly took advantage of the miscue scoring two plays later on a 56-yard touchdown run by Branden Smith to take the lead 7-0 with 7:17 remaining in the first quarter.
Christian and Turner teamed up for a couple big plays on NM State’s third series of the game. On first down from the Aggie 21-yard line Christian found Turner open down the far left sideline resulting in a 49-yard gain to the Bulldog 30-yard line. Two plays later Christian tossed a screen pass to Turner who rumbled 17 yards for another first down at the UGA 11-yard line.
The Crimson and White drove inside the Bulldog 5-yard line but could not punch it into the end zone. Junior Tyler Stampler came on to connect on a 24-yard field goal to open the second quarter and cut the lead to 7-3 with 14:50 left before the half.
Georgia took command of the game in the second quarter as the Bulldog offense exploded for 42 points in the final 13 minutes of the half, scoring a touchdown on each of its six drives. Meanwhile the UGA defense stifled NM State’s offense allowing the Aggies just 48 yards the rest of the half. Georgia led 49-3 at the break.
The Aggies return home for a conference contest against Fresno State, Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. on the WAC Sports Network.