LYNCHBURG, Virginia (KTSM) – New Mexico State earned its biggest win of the Jerry Kill era after they played their way to a 49-14 victory over Liberty at Williams Stadium on Saturday.
The Aggies’ play on both sides of the ball is what led them to their dominant win.
“I am very happy for our kids, they worked very, very hard. They had the opportunity to be on the road and come in here and do what we did to a good football team,” New Mexico State head coach Jerry Kill said. “They [Liberty] were ranked 18th in the country just two weeks ago so I am just so proud of our kids. Today is unbelievable. I’ve been through a lot of great things in my life, but this is a moment in my life that I won’t forget.”
The play of junior quarterback Diego Pavia was the catalyst of the offense. Pavia, who made his third consecutive start, threw for 214 yards on 16 of 21 passing. Along with that, Pavia collected three passing touchdowns.
Pavia’s run game also heavily contributed to their success. Pavia ran for 125 yards on 20 carries and recorded three rushing touchdowns. That was six total touchdowns on the day for the product out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This was the Aggies’ finest offensive performance on the season. NMSU collected 428 total yards (214 rushing, 214 passing). It showed in the scoring department as well as NMSU leaped out to a 28-7 lead over Liberty at halftime. Pavia’s three passing touchdowns came in the first half. Pavia found Jonathan Brady, Star Thomas, and Kordell David for scores. Pavia also tacked on a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the half.
“The offense scored and made some big plays. We dominated the whole football game,” said Kill. “Diego [Pavia] played lights out and when you get good quarterback play like that you are going to have an opportunity to be successful.”
“Anything is possible at any day. It is Saturday and you guys see that there are upsets left and right,” said Pavia. “Anything can happen any Saturday and so that is why you have to come and play because it is anyone’s game for who comes to play.”
In the second half, Pavia had two rushing touchdowns. The other score in the second half was a 49-yard run from Jamoni Jones that put NMSU up 42-7.
The Aggies defense was firing on all cylinders as well. NMSU’s defense allowed 315 total yards from Liberty. The Aggies made life difficult for their opponent as the defense collected five sacks and forced two fumbles and recovered both those fumbles. NMSU’s Bryce Jackson had the lone interception of the game.
“What we did to Liberty today, we deserve to go to a bowl game period. I will fight anybody on the country on that. There is no question.” Kill said.
“We just want to play for each other and that was something coach [Jerry Kill] preached this week,” said Pavia. “I think we did that and now we have a chance at a bowl game. We are really excited; we just have to keep moving.”
Now, all sights are set on what will happen next week for New Mexico State (5-6). Remember, NMSU is hoping to line up an opponent for next Saturday to replace the postponed game versus San José State.