After a back-and-forth battle in the first half, Louisiana Monroe pulled away from the Aggies of New Mexico State in the second half to win its first game in almost two months, 30-17.
ULM got up 10-0 on the Aggies early, with Rashon Ceaser being the catalyst. He's had solid (if underwhelming, considering how he finished his 2013 campaign) numbers this season, but hadn't broken a big punt return nor scored a receiving touchdown. He did both in the first half today.
With ULM already up 3-0, Ceaser returned a punt 51 yards down to the NMSU 5. Centarius Donald punched it in two plays later. The Aggies soon tied the game back up at 10, but Ceaser broke away from the Aggies secondary on the ensuing drive for a 45-yard touchdown catch to go up 17-10 with four minutes left in the second quarter.
But the Aggies would not go away. Larry Rose III had 229 yards on 35 carries and touchdowns of 37 and 64 yards, single-handedly keeping New Mexico State in this game. His 64-yarder came in the second quarter as he got the Aggies to within 3, down 20-17 going into halftime.
The backbreaker for the Aggies came late in the third quarter when they were forced to punt deep in their own end of the field. ULM's Alex Johnson blocked the attempt, and Mitch Lane was their to scoop it up in the endzone for a touchdown. That made it 27-17. The Aggies were unable to do anything in the fourth quarter offensively when they had to rely on freshman QB Tyler Rogers putting the ball in the air.
ULM P/K Justin Manton went 3-for-4 on field goals and had 12 points total, which made him the all-time leader in points in ULM history with 244.
Pete Thomas had another solid, efficient effort, going 35-for-50 for 350 yards and the 45-yard touchdown pass to Ceaser. After a few very inefficient games in October and early November, he has really picked up his play the last two weeks.
ULM (4-7, 3-4) will play Georgia Southern next weekend to close out its season, while New Mexico State (2-9, 1-6) takes on Arkansas State.