LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State football team defeated Fresno State for the first time in school history, 48-45, Saturday night at Aggie Memorial Stadium, behind Taveon Rogers' school record breaking 412 all-purpose yards. The Aggies move to 4-6 on the season and 2-3 in the WAC, while Fresno State falls to 3-7 on the year and 2-3 in conference play.
Senior quarterback Matt Christian threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns in the game, while Rogers caught a career-high 10 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. Rogers also broke the school record for kickoff returns for a touchdown. Running back Kenny Turner recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season with 112 yards on 27 carries, while also recording a career-high three rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Aggies totaled 500 yards of offense. Safety Justin Smith tallied a career-high 13 tackles to lead the defense in his first career start.
Fresno State took its opening kickoff of the second half and marched 76 yards in five plays to take a 24-23 lead with 12:28 remaining in the third quarter. The Aggies would have to punt in their first possession of the second half. The Bulldogs then struck quick with a 59-yard touchdown pass to give Fresno State a 31-23 lead with 10:34 left in the third.
NM State responded with a 68-yard drive, capped off by a Turner 10-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. The Aggies then went for two and converted on a pass from Christian to Turner, tying the game at 31 all with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs again hit a long pass to score on the first play of the drive to retake a 7-point lead at 38-31 with 6:22 to go in the third.
Turner then scored on a 6-yard run to tie the game at 38-38 with 3:50 to go in the third. The Aggies drove the ball 84 yards on 12 plays. Turner's touchdown run marked a personal-best for touchdowns in a game. The NM State defense then forced the Bulldogs to punt the ball back to the Aggies.
The Aggies took advantage of the opportunity, as Stampler hit a 25-yard field after an eight-play 59-yard drive, giving NM State 41-38 lead with 13:25 to go in the game. The Bulldogs came right back and scored to go up 45-41 with 8:05 left in the game, following a 10-play 84-yard drive, capped off by a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
The Aggies would take the lead back at 48-45 late in the game on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Christian to Rogers with 1:50 left in the game. The Aggie defense then stopped the Bulldogs, as Courtney Viney deflected a pass on fourth-and-10. The Aggies would then run out the clock to end the game and take the win, 48-45.
The Aggies got on the board quick with a 59-yard drive in 2:52, capped off by a 29-yard pass from Christian to Turner as the Aggies took a 7-0 lead with 12:08 to go in the first quarter. NM State would force Fresno State to punt but couldn't move the ball down the field and were forced to punt as well.
An 8-yard punt by the Aggies gave Fresno State great field position and seven plays later the Bulldogs punched it in from five yards out to tie the game at seven all with 4:30 to go in the first.
NM State was forced to punt again but a fumble by Fresno State at their own 12-yard line gave the ball back to the Aggies. After three straight rushing attempts by Turner, he finally punched it in from 1-yard out to give NM State a 14-7 lead with 14:11 to go in the half.
Fresno marched down the field, inside the Aggie 5-yard line but the NM State defense stopped the Bulldogs' attack and allowed just a field goal, as the score moved to 14-10 with 8:15 left in the half.
Taveon Rogers then took the kickoff 99 yards for his third kick return for a touchdown this season, breaking the season and career record at NM State. The Aggies were then up 20-10 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half.
Fresno State then hit a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull back within three points at 20-17 with two minutes to go in the half. The Aggies would put together a solid drive, as Turner would rip off a 22-yard run with just a second left in the half, which allowed Stampler to hit a 39-yard field goal to end the half. The Aggies led 23-17 at the half.
The Aggies tallied 182 yards of total offense in the first half. Christian went 9-of-16 with a touchdown and 104 yards passing, while Turner rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown. Rogers caught three passes for 29 yards and racked up 167 kick return yards and a touchdown. Justin Smith led the Aggies with eight tackles.
The Aggies will be back in action Nov. 19 against BYU in Provo, Utah. Game time is set for 8:15 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU.