LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Sept. 22)- The New Mexico State football team lost to I-25 rival New Mexico, 27-14, in front of 25,211 fans inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The Aggies fall to 1-3 on the season, while the Lobos improve to 2-2.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley completed 22-of-34 passes and finished with 256 total passing yards and one touchdown. Senior running back Robert Clay led the Aggie ground attack rushing 11 times for 47 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Austin Franklin had his third 100-plus yards receiving game of the season, finishing with a team-high 107 yards on six catches.
Defensively, junior strong safety Davis Cazares led NM State with 19 total tackles. Sophomore linebacker Anthony Joiner added 12 tackles, while junior linebackers Bryan Bonilla and Trashaun Nixon each finished with 10 tackles.
The Lobos took the opening kickoff and proceeded to go on a 13-play, 71-yard drive that culminated with a 24-yard field goal by junior kicker Justus Adams. The field goal would be the only score of the first quarter.
UNM added to its lead early in the second quarter after driving 84 yards on nine plays. Freshman Lobo running back Jhurell Pressley capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run up the middle giving the Lobos a 10-0 lead.
It took NM State just over two minutes, however, to answer the Lobo touchdown. Manley completed a couple of first-down passes to junior tight end Perris Scoggins before hitting Franklin on a deep post. The 35-yard pass play placed the ball at the UNM 11 yard line. Clay finished off the drive on the next play with an 11-yard touchdown run to the left side cutting the Lobo lead to 10-7.
With just over five minutes left in the half, UNM began a drive that would end with a 29-yard field goal on the last play of the half. The Lobos led at halftime, 13-7.
Manley finished the half with 81 passing yards, going 7-of-11. Clay rushed for 24 yards to lead the Aggies at the half, while Franklin led the receivers with 42 yards receiving on two receptions.
After a turnover-free first half, the second half started with each team turning the ball over on its first possession.
NM State received the second half kickoff and drove into Lobo territory, but sophomore wide receiver Joseph Mathews fumbled the ball at the Lobo 30 yard line. Freshman free safety Brandon Branch recovered the fumble for UNM and returned it to Aggie 40 yard line.
NM State got the ball right back on the next play, however, when junior defensive end Kalvin Cruz recovered a fumble by Lobo senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook.
Three plays after the fumble recovery Manley hit Franklin on a 29-yard pass play that put the ball at the Lobo 27 yard line. The drive stalled, however, and UNM took over after the Aggies could not convert on a fourth and nine.
The Lobos proceeded to score on a 29-yard touchdown run up the middle by junior running back Kasey Carrier to take a 20-7 lead after three quarters.
UNM added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter after a fumble by Aggie sophomore running back Akeelie Mustafa gave the Lobos the ball at the NM State 40-yard line. UNM took advantage of the short field and increased its lead to 27-7 after Pressley's second rushing touchdown.
NM State added a late 23-yard touchdown pass from Manley to Franklin to make the final score 27-14.
The Aggies now host UTSA, Saturday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.