PROVO, Utah (Nov. 19) - The New Mexico State football team fell 42-7 to BYU at the Cougars' LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday night.
Freshman wide receiver Austin Franklin caught a career-high eight receptions for 66 yards and his third career touchdown to lead the Aggie receiving corps. Junior running back Kenny Turner finished with 61 yards rushing on 16 carries. Senior quarterback Matt Christian played just shy of three quarters for the Aggies before leaving the game. Christian finished with 98 yards on 12-of-23 passing with a touchdown and an interception. Freshman Travaughn Colwell took over for the Aggies and went 7-for-11 on the night for 61 yards the rest of the way.
Linebackers Bryan Bonilla and Boyblue Aoelua led the Aggies with eight tackles apiece on defense.
NM State drops to 4-7 after the loss while BYU improves to 8-3 this season.
BYU opened the second half on offense and drove inside NM State territory but missed a 37-yard field goal wide left to remain ahead 21-7 with 12:06 left in the third quarter. The Aggies could not get their offense started in the second half and were forced to punt after three rushing attempts by Turner.
The Cougars put together another touchdown scoring drive on its next possession. BYU drove 57 yards on nine plays to increase its lead to 28-7 after a 2-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation by Matt Marshall with 7:01 left in the quarter. Neither team managed to put together an extended drive over the next three minutes.
Colwell entered the game with just under five minutes left in the quarter. A few plays later, the Cougar defense got to Colwell in the backfield and forced a fumble recovered by BYU at the NM State 40-yard line. BYU quickly scored on a 9-yard touchdown reception by Matt Edwards from Jake Heaps to give the Cougars a 35-7 lead with 3:14 remaining in the third. The Cougars tacked on another touchdown in the fourth quarter to yield the final score.
After an 18-yard run from Turner and a pair of passes by Christian to Kemonte Bateman and Taveon Rogers, the Aggie offense moved into Cougar territory on its initial drive to open the game. But inside the BYU 30-yard line, the Cougar defense penetrated the pocket and sacked Christian who lost the football later recovered by the Cougars near midfield.
BYU took advantage of the miscue. The home team drove 52 yards in 12 plays capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Bryan Kariya to put the Cougars up 7-0 with 5:38 left in the first quarter. Neither offense could get a drive started the rest of the opening stanza.
The Cougars opened the second quarter with the ball on their own 36-yard line. After a BYU penalty to open the quarter, safety Donyae Coleman made his fifth interception of the season at the Cougars' 39-yard line to give the NM State offense good field position.
A few plays later Turner converted a 4th-and-1 with a 12-yard gain up the middle to move the Aggies to the BYU 17-yard line. Soon after the conversion Christian connected with Franklin for a 3-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:40 left before halftime. Christian went 5-for-5 on the scoring drive.
On the ensuing drive, BYU marched 90 yards in 15 plays to score on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Heaps to Ross Apo. The score gave BYU a 14-7 advantage with 3:25 before the half.
After the Aggie offense went three-and-out on the next possession, BYU took over inside NM State territory with 2:14 remaining. The Cougars capitalized with another scoring drive as Apo caught an 8-yard touchdown reception from Heaps with 30 ticks left on the clock. Apo's second score of the game put BYU up 21-7 just before the half.
The Aggies travel to Ruston, La., Saturday, Nov. 26, for their final road contest of the season against Louisiana Tech with kickoff slated for 2 p.m. MT.