Aggies fall out of bowl contention with loss at Texas State

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The New Mexico State football team made a trip to the Lone Star State to take on Texas State on Saturday night inside of Bobcat Stadium. A first-drive touchdown for the Bobcats in the second half saw the Aggies not able to climb back from two scores down and drop the weekend showdown, 27-20.

A slow opening to the game for NM State (2-7) saw Texas State (2-6) take advantage early. The Aggies were forced to punt on the game’s opening drive and the Bobcats returner took the ball back 45-yards to start with great field position just 28-yards from the end zone. Just two plays later, Texas State saw a 19-yard quarterback keeper prove to be the first score of the contest and NM State went down 7-0 just 2:53 into the game.

The Crimson & White looked to answer on the next series after a pair of third-down and long conversions got the ball on the Bobcats side of the field. However, the opposing defense was able to force a fourth down and the Aggies 37-yard field goal was no good to keep the Aggies off the scoreboard.

Following a Texas State punt, NM State tried to capitalize but an interception at midfield was brought back to the 32-yard line to set up the Bobcats. Four-straight quarterback rushes set the opposition up with a goal-to-go situation and the Bobcats handed the ball off for a three-yard score. Texas State could not convert on the point-after and the NM State deficit stood at 13-0 before the first quarter came to a close.

The second quarter opened with the Aggies looking to put a stop to the Bobcats momentum to regain control of the game. NM State did just that on its first drive of the frame. On 4th & 1, Josh Adkins found Drew Dan to move the chains and then on a third-down conversion attempt, a horse-collar penalty set the Crimson & White up with a 1st & Goal from the five. The Bobcats stood strong on the goal line to force a fourth down, but NM State kicker Parker Davidson came in to split the uprights on a 22-yard field goal to put the score at 13-3.

On the next drive for Texas State, the Aggies forced a punt that had a visitor-friendly bounce as NM State took over at its own 49-yard line. Jason Huntley then broke off a 40-yard rush to set up a 1st & Goal. On the first-down play, the Aggies went right back to Huntley who cut inside and then turned it outside and found the end zone on a five-yard rush to put the Aggies down by just three, 13-10.

After forcing another fourth down, the NM State defense came up big once more when Christian Gibson broke off the edge to block the punt and set the Aggies drive up at the Texas State 32-yard line. This great field position saw the series end with a successful 25-yard field goal attempt for Davidson and the Aggies made it 13 unanswered points to tie the game up 13-13.

Each side was forced to punt on its next possession, before Texas State could get back on the board and take the lead before the first half ended. Sitting in the red zone, the Bobcats saw a pass to the corner of the end zone get hauled in as the Aggies now trailed 20-13 heading to the locker rooms.

Texas State expanded upon its lead over NM State at the beginning of the second half. The first drive of the third quarter ended with a 39-yard touchdown pass for the Bobcats to put the Aggies behind 27-13.

Back-to-back punts and a failed fourth-down conversion saw the score remain the same over the next 10 minutes of action with the Aggies trailing by 14. This all changed on a turnover forced by NM State linebacker Shane Jackson on a strip-sack that the junior brought back 35-yards for an Aggie touchdown and the team only trailed 27-20 heading into the fourth quarter.

Looking to tie the game up early in the fourth frame, NM State moved the ball all the way down to just six yards away from the end zone. The Bobcats thwarted this chance, however, when a pass to the end zone on 3rd & 1 was intercepted to give Texas State the ball back and keep the Aggies down seven.

NM State looked to erase this deficit on its final drive of the game. A defensive pass interference on 4th & 5 gave the Aggies new life, but on another fourth down try an incomplete pass ended the hopes of a comeback and the team fell at Texas State, 27-20.

New Mexico State now looks to get back in the win column on the team’s final home game of the season when Alcorn State makes a trip to Aggie Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday, Nov. 3, for senior day.

NOTABLES

–        Parker Davidson’s 22-yard field goal in the second quarter was the kickers first for NM State since doing so against Texas State on 11/19/16.

–        Shane Jackson’s strip-sack returned 35 yards for a score was the Aggies first career touchdown.

–        Shea Holebrook Jr. reeled in a seaon-long reception of 17 yards.

–        Holebrook also brought in four receptions for 33 yards that set new personal season-highs.

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