NMSU Falls to San Diego St. in their Season Opener


POSTED: Saturday, September 11, 2010 - 9:06pm

UPDATED: Saturday, September 11, 2010 - 9:38pm

The NM State football team jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the season opener but could not overcome four rushing touchdowns by San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman in a 41-21 loss at Aggie Memorial Stadium Saturday night.

The Aggies racked up 328 yards of total offense in the game. Junior quarterback Matt Christian threw for 223 yards on 17-of-34 passing, while sophomore Kenny Turner led the rushing attack with 48 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Senior Marcus Allen led the Aggie receivers with 114 yards and a touchdown on four receptions; while classmate Kyle Nelson hauled in a team-high five catches for 28 yards. Defensively, junior Boyblue Aoelua tallied 16 tackles.

The Aztecs were led by quarterback Ryan Lindley who threw for 319 yards and a touchdown, completing 20-of-42 pass attempts. Ronnie Hillman rushed for a game-high 150 yards on 22 carries, while Vincent Brown made five grabs for 99 yards. Miles Burris and Jerome Long led the Aztec defense with eight tackles apiece.

The Aztecs opened the second half with a quick score on a four-play 59-yard drive, capped off by a 44-yard run by Hillman. San Diego State took a 20-7 lead with 13:25 left in the third quarter.

After stopping San Diego State on fourth-and-one, the Aggies then took over on downs and Christian hit Allen for a 58-yard touchdown pass to pull NM State back within six points at 20-14 with 9:07 left in the third.

The Aztecs came right back with a five-play 74-yard drive in 2:05 to extend their lead to 27-14 with 6:55 to go in the third quarter. Hillman scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run.

The Aggies took the ball early in the fourth quarter and drove 60 yards in three plays, capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Christian to junior Todd Lee, as NM State closed to within six points at 27-21 with 11:45 to go in the game.

San Diego State responded minutes later with a touchdown of its own. Hillman tallied his third rushing score of the contest on a 2-yard run into the end zone. The Aztecs increased their lead to 34-21 with 8:52 remaining.

Later in the fourth quarter SDSU capitalized on an Aggie special teams fumble inside the NM State 15-yard line. After the Aztecs recovery, Hillman ran in his fourth touchdown from a yard out three plays later.

The Aggies got on the board first after the defense stopped the Aztecs on fourth-and-one. The Aggies took the ball 40 yards on four plays, capped off by an 18-yard touchdown run by Turner. It was Turner’s first career touchdown as an Aggie. With 5:49 left in the first quarter the Aggies led 7-0.

On the next drive, the Aggies advanced to the Aztec 40-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Aztecs quickly got the ball deep into Aggie territory on a 55-yard pass from Lindley to Brown. The Aggies defense would hold, forcing a field goal by the Aztecs to make the score 7-3 with 1:13 left in the first quarter.

The Aggie offense stalled on its next possession and was forced to punt the ball away. The Aztecs took the ball down inside the NM State 20-yard line. The NM State defense held again, allowing just a field goal by the Aztecs, moving the score to 7-6 Aggies with 10:28 remaining in the half.

The Aztecs would get the ball back after a three-and-out by NM State but later missed a 37-yard field to take the lead. The Aggies held on to a one-point lead at 7-6 with 7:03 to go in the half.

Late in the half San Diego State marched down the field to take the lead at 13-7 with 1:26 left on the clock, after a 14-yard touchdown pass from Lindley to Gavin Escobar. That is the way the first half would end with the Aztecs holding a 13-7 advantage.

The Aggies racked up 156 yards of total offense in the first half. Christian threw for 102 yards on 7-of-16 passing, while Turner led the rushing attack with 28 yards on three carries and a touchdown. Allen led the Aggie receivers with two catches for 46 yards. Defensively, Aoelua tallied nine tackles.

The Aztecs were led by quarterback Ryan Lindley who threw for 214 yards and a touchdown. Ronnie Hillman rushed for 30 yards on seven carries, while Vincent Brown had four grabs for 95 yards. Andrew Preston led the Aztec defense with five tackles.

The Aggies will be back in action Sept. 18 in El Paso as they renew the I-10 Rivalry with UTEP. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (MT)

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