LAS CURCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State football team fell to the San Diego State Aztecs, 26-16, on Saturday night, Sept. 28, at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies move to 0-5 on the season and SDSU picks up its first win for a 1-3 record.
The Aggies were led by wide receiver Joshua Bowen, who tallied 66 yards and one touchdown. Senior quarterback Andrew McDonald passed for 228 yards on 23 of 35 passing and threw two touchdowns for the Aggies. He also picked up 22 rushing yards. Davis Cazares led the Aggies defensively with 14 tackles, including four unassisted. Junior safety George Callender had 10 tackles on the night with two of those being solo efforts.
As a team, the Aggies had 16 first downs with 268 yards of total offense, while the Aztecs had 441 total offensive yards.
Sophomore Brock Baca made his first appearance of the season on the opening kickoff of the game. NM State took over on downs after the Aztecs went three-and out on their opening series. The Aggies scored on their first possession of the game, on a 6-yard pass to sophomore Joshua Bowen for a 7-0 lead with 10:10 on the clock in the first quarter.
The Aggie defense forced the Aztecs to go three-and-out on their next drive, bringing McDonald and the Aggie offense back on the field. A couple of short passes set up for a 47 yard pass to Shapiro, good for a first down at the SDSU 25. A 28-yard field goal by Maxwell Johnson increased the Aggie lead to 10-0 with 5:10 in the first quarter. The field goal attempt was the first for NM State this season.
SDSU was unable to pick up a first down after the kickoff, turning the ball back over to the Aggies. NM State converted a third-and-long for a first down with an 11-yard pass to junior Joseph Matthews. NM State was forced to punt for the first time on the night just three downs later, but a roughing the kicker call gave NM State another shot on offense from their own 49-yard line.
On that next drive to start the second quarter, NM State went three plays before Cayle Chapman-Brown punted away. On San Diego State’s next drive, Aztec quarterback Quinn Kaehler fumbled the ball and a fumble recovery by Darien Johnson gave NM State the ball at the SDSU 30-yard line. Two 15-yard passes by McDonald gave NM State a 16-0 lead over SDSU. Junior Andrew Dean had the catch in the end zone for his first career touchdown. With The Aggies set for the extra point attempt, SDSU’s defensive tackle Sam Meredith blocked the kick and David Lamar returned the blocked kickback 89 yards for two points, bringing the score to 16-2 early in the second half.
The teams traded possessions before the Aztecs were able to get inside the red zone for the first time on the night. NM State stopped SDSU from scoring a touchdown, but a 25-yard field goal attempt was good, adjusting the score to 16-5 with 8:19 to play in the half.
The teams continued to trade possessions, with SDSU getting as close as the NM State 1-yard line. The Aggies were able to stop the ball short of the end zone and take over deep inside their own territory. The Aztec defense proved powerful, allowing the Aggies to move the ball just seven yards before being forced to punt.
SDSU took over at the NM State 45, but the half ended with the Aggies’ Mason Russell blocking a field goal attempt from the 40 yards away.
The second half started with NM State taking the ball inside the SDSU 35. A fake punt by senior Jake Capraro fell short and SDSU took over after a loss of one on the play. The Aztecs drove the ball 69 yards before scoring their first touchdown of the game on a 12-yard rush with 5:18 in the third quarter, closing the gap to 16-11 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
The third quarter ended with San Diego State still down 16-11 but driving the ball deep in NM State’s side of the field.
SDSU started the fourth quarter with a two-yard run for a touchdown to take over the lead. A two-point conversion gave the Aztecs a 19-16 lead over the Aggies with 14:55 left on the clock.
The NM State offense couldn’t get back into a rhythm and were forced to punt the ball back to San Diego State.
A 34-yard rush and a 24-yard pass by SDSU’s Kaehler helped the Aztecs get to the NM State 5-yard line, but the Aggies stopped the Aztecs fourth down attempt, getting the ball back.
The Aztecs would score a late touchdown on a 43-yard run by running back Donne Pumprey, giving SDSU a 26-16 lead with under three minutes to play. The game would end with the same score, as San Diego State defeated NM State, 26-16.
The Aggies head out on the road for the Rio Grande Rivalry against the New Mexico Lobos, Oct. 5, at 5 p.m., in Albuquerque.