The game started off with 26,278 fans in the stands-a crowd that usually only occurs when the Lobos or Miners are in town. But obviously, this night was different.
That’s because the Aggies were about to make history. You could feel the excitement in the air. The fans were loud, the players were excited-and nervous-and the game was simply amazing.
It got off to a slow start but Dylan Brown would hit two field goals and Tyler Rogers would hit Anthony Muse for a touchdown pass to put the Aggies up 13-7.
A great defensive stand by the Aggies helped keep the Jaguars off the board before halftime, meaning NMSU was only one half away from bowl eligibility!
The third quarter kept the score even at 13-7 but then...the Jaguars struck.
After Dylan Brown’s third field goal of the game, South Alabama scored 10 straight points to dry up the Aggies lead and keep everyone biting their nails as NM State was now down by one with five minutes to play in the fourth.
That’s when the seniors showed up and, in another close game, a place they have been many times throughout their careers, Tyler Rogers, Larry Rose III, the offensive line and all the receivers pulled off the greatest drive in NMSU history.
15 plays, 83 yards, 4:47.
The drive was highlighted by a HUGE 3rd and 10 conversion on a pass to Johnathan Boone, who had a great day. And of course, this:
What’s the most amazing thing about this play? Connor Cramer made the catch. On his birthday. Against his hometown team (he’s from Mobile, Alabama).
His heroics led to an amazing scene and emotions from everyone in Las Cruces.
Thirty seconds remained and the defense held to make New Mexico State bowl eligible for the first time in 57 YEARS!!!!
22-17 final. NMSU bowl eligible. Congrats to basically everyone ever associated with NMSU football pic.twitter.com/yHYl30KiEJ— Jason Groves (@JPGroves) December 3, 2017
WATCH | The man of the hour, NM State head football coach Doug Martin talks with @youngpbp and former Aggie football player Danny Knee after the historic win Saturday to become bowl eligible at Aggie Memorial Stadium. #MakeHistory #AggieUp pic.twitter.com/XBztt2Uxwc— NM State Football (@NMStateFootball) December 3, 2017
Coach Martin earned a $20,000 bonus for getting the Aggies to a bowl game and he earned it. Everyone is so proud of him and his team!
Aggies are BOWL ELIGIBLE and look to snap the 57-year drought!! Tickets for the potential bowl game can be bought at the Pan Am ticket office!!https://t.co/HIlLziMYQv#AggieUp #MadeHistory pic.twitter.com/6qZWEztpJS— NM State Football (@NMStateFootball) December 3, 2017
This team, especially the seniors are something special. They have accomplished SO MUCH in their time in Las Cruces.
- They broke the nation’s longest D1 losing streak (17 games).
- They helped bring in donations to renovate a locker room that they used to not show recruits that came in.
- They came, stayed and bought in to a dream and a vision that Doug Martin had for this team despite a bevy of reasons that could have made them leave, without anyone blaming them.
- Most importantly, they played their hearts out, played selflessly, and accomplished what thousands of other teams couldn’t: A BOWL BID!!!!
Someone call Disney, this would be a great story to tell.
Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS to EVERYONE involved with the New Mexico State Football team, Athletics Department, the fans, and the town for sticking with it and succeeding!
Enjoy this time! You are the pride of the city! We’ve all enjoyed watching you.
One last tweet before we sign off for the night...— NM State Football (@NMStateFootball) December 3, 2017
THANK YOU to ALL the Aggie fans at Aggie Memorial Stadium tonight, ALL SEASON AND those that cheered us on from afar. WE. DID. IT.
THIS IS FOR YOU!#AggieUp | #MakeHistory pic.twitter.com/UXpdq42LF6