Aggies Win First WAC Game of the Season 31-24
The New Mexico State football team defeated Idaho, 31-24, for its first WAC win of the season.
The Aggies moved to 3-3 and 1-1 in the WAC, while Idaho slipped to 1-6 and 0-3 in a special teams extravaganza with two kickoff returns and a punt return for touchdowns.
Junior running back Kenny Turner rushed for a career-high 171 yards in his third consecutive game with 100 yards rushing. Junior wide receiver Kemonte' Bateman posted two receiving touchdowns. Senior quarterback Matt Christian threw for 102 yards and a touchdown, and freshman quarterback Travaughn Colwell also threw from 100 yards and his first career touchdown.
In the fifth annual Tough Enough to Wear game, which raised $548, 166 this year, the Aggies moved to 3-0 under head coach DeWayne Walker.
The Aggies continued their fast start to games and scored on the opening drive for the second consecutive game. NM State marched down the field, and Turner capped the drive with a 14-yard rushing touchdown. The score was his third rushing touchdown of the season.
On the ensuing kickoff, senior safety Donyae Coleman forced and recovered a fumble on the 27-yard line. The Aggies capitalized on the next play to extend the lead to 14-0. Christian found Bateman on the left side of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.
An Aggie miscue allowed Idaho to score and cut into NM State's lead, 14-7. The Aggies answered when senior wide receiver Taveon Rogers returned the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give NM State a 21-7 advantage. It was Rogers' career-long return and second kickoff return for a touchdown of the year.
After an Idaho field goal to trim the Aggie lead to 21-10 with 4:04 to play in the first quarter, the game was scoreless until after halftime.
The Vandals scored first in the third quarter with a 64-punt return for a touchdown to pull within four, 21-17. On the kickoff, Rogers returned the ball to the 27-yard line. He is now the school leader in career kickoff return yardage with 1,890 yards.
On the next Idaho possession, Coleman grabbed his fourth interception of the season. He leads both the team and WAC.
The turnover spurred the Aggie offense to another score to broaden the lead to 28-17. Playing for the injured Christian, Colwell threw his first career touchdown pass to Bateman from the 1-yard line.
Idaho countered with a returned kickoff for a touchdown to stay within four, 28-24. To start the fourth quarter, junior kicker Tyler Stampler gave the Aggies a seven-point lead, 31-24, with a 20-yard field goal.
On the next possession, junior linebacker Numi Lolohea recovered his first career fumble with 13:08 minutes remaining in the game. The Aggie offense moved the ball but stalled at the 37-yard line with 8:23 to play. The NM State defense held strong and stopped Idaho on fourth and goal at the one yard line with 21 seconds left on the clock.
The Aggies continue WAC play at Hawai'i, Saturday, Oct. 22, at 10 p.m. on AggieVision.