The New Mexico State football team welcomed Alcorn State to Aggie Memorial Stadium for the final home contest of the season on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies sent their veterans out right on senior day dominating the Braves from the game’s opening kickoff en route to a 52-42 victory.
NM State (3-7) wasted no time getting on the board to open the game. Alcorn State (7-3) sent the opening kickoff to the edge of the end zone and Aggie returner Jason Huntley took off for a 99-yard score that gave the Crimson & White a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game.
The Aggies then capitalized on their next drive after forcing a three-and-out for the Braves. The scoring series was set up by a 35-yard rush from Christian Gibson to give the team a first down at the Alcorn 15. Then on a 3rd & Goal from the six, quarterback Josh Adkins found senior Royce Caldwell in the back corner of the end zone to put the Aggies on top 14-0.
Alcorn looked to answer on its next drive before the opening quarter came to a close. The Braves moved down the field, converting on two third-down attempts, before a 12-yard rush got in for the score. This cut into the Aggies lead that now stood at 14-7 after one quarter.
NM State allowed Alcorn to get a first down with a rush on a 4th & Inches early in the second frame, but then the defense came up big on the next play. A hand-off on first down was fumbled by the Braves and picked up by Shane Jackson to give the Aggies the ball at the opponent’s 39-yard line. This possession ended in points when Adkins found Johnathan Boone over the middle for a 23-yard score to put NM State ahead 21-7.
After forcing another Braves punt, the Aggie offense continued to build on the momentum. Back-to-back first down passes, one for 19-yards to Gibson and then a 43-yarder to Caldwell set NM State up with a 1st & Goal. After a rush went backwards, Huntley took the next carry 10-yards into the end zone for a 28-7 Aggie lead.
The scoring continued on the next series for NM State when a pair of completions to Boone and Huntley each moved the chains, then a 28-yard rush by Gibson put the ball on the Alcorn side of the field at the 32. Following a completion to Anthony Muse to get in the red zone, Adkins again found Boone and this time for a 15-yard touchdown, that gave the Crimson & White a 35-7 advantage.
Despite the large lead for the Aggies, Alcorn was able to put more points on the board before the first half ended. Right at midfield, the Braves aired it deep and found an open receiver for a 50-yard score to put the NM State lead at 35-14 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
The second half opened with a punt for each side, before Alcorn was able to cut into the NM State lead. The Braves moved down into the red zone and then used a five-yard pass to the flat for the score that made the Aggies lead 35-21.
Then the Crimson & White looked to answer on the next possession. A third-down completion moved the ball to the Alcorn side of the field at the 43. Then on 4th & 2 from the 15-yard line, Gibson moved the ball ahead for a first down. The new series of downs again came to fourth down, but the Aggies were able to see a 30-yard field goal increase their advantage to 38-21 heading to the fourth quarter.
Following a punt by the Aggies, the opposition used the next drive to put up the first points of the final frame. The Braves completed a pass by the sideline and a great stiff arm to shove off the defensive back turned the catch into a 29-yard touchdown reception to put the score at 38-28.
This lead for the Aggies got even smaller on the ensuing drive. A fumble was recovered by Alcorn at the NM State 34 to take over with great field position. The Braves then used two plays to find the end zone, culminating in a 17-yard rushing score and NM State only led by three, 38-35, with 10:43 remaining.
The Aggies looked to quiet any idea of a comeback on their next possession, moving quickly into the red zone. A pass to Huntley set the Aggies up with a first down at the Alcorn 11-yard line. Then on a 3rd & 8, Huntley got the carry and rushed in for six. The extra point gave NM State a 45-35 edge.
Looking to add a little insurance, the Crimson & White did so on a long touchdown play. Looking at a 2nd & 20 from their own 40, Adkins connected with Huntley who broke off for a 60-yard touchdown reception that expanded the team’s lead to 52-35.
Alcorn was able to find the end zone once more on a 12-yard pass to cut into the deficit late in the game. However, the onside kick was recovered by the Aggies and the team was able to run the clock out for a 52-42 win over the Braves on senior day.
Following the final home game of the 2018 season, New Mexico State now enters a bye week before traveling to Provo, Utah to take on BYU on Saturday, Nov. 17.
– John Graves III recorded the first sack of his Aggie career on his first play in the opening quarter versus Alcorn State.
– Johnathan Boone’s pair of touchdowns gave the receiver his first two-touchdown game of the 2018 season and first since doing so at Kentucky on 9/17/16.
– NM State had its best first half of the season offensively, scoring on five of the team’s first seven drives.
– Tymon Locklin registered a career-high 11 tackles.
– Jason Hunltey scored a career-high four touchdowns versus Alcorn State, topping his previous high of three done against Georgia Southern on 10/20/18.
– Leon McQuaker registered a new career-high in tackles with 22.
– Johnathan Boone set a new career-high in receiving yards with 92, topping his previous high of 90 he put up against Louisiana on 10/13/18.