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New Mexico State’s Dream Season Ends At New Mexico Bowl

Isleta New Mexico Bowl - New Mexico State v Fresno State Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

The New Mexico State Aggies have far exceeded expectations in their brief time under Diego Pavia. Somehow, someway, they made it to their second consecutive bowl game for the first time since 1960 and got to stay within their home state to play it. However, the Aggies just didn’t appear to have the juice, losing Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl to Fresno State by a final score of 37-10.

New Mexico State’s passing attack was basically non-existent. Or, at least, the passes that were completed resulted in very few yards after catch. After averaging 8.3 yards per completion on the season, NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia averaged just 2.3 yards per completion in Saturday’s game. He finished with only 58 yards through the air.

Against an experienced Fresno State team led by interim head coach Tim Skipper, the NMSU defense was unable to contain an offense led by QB Mikey Keene and RB Malik Sherrod. Keene threw for 380 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Sherrod had 171 yards from scrimmage, combining his running and receiving numbers.

“I just love winning, whether I was a head coach, assistant coach, whatever - winning feels good all the time,” Skipper said postgame. “Obviously this is sweet for me in this first game getting that done. But I feel better for these kids, man. We haven’t been smiling for a while, to be honest. And we finally were smiling out there and that’s what gives me the joy. I give all the credit to these guys.”

Fresno State end the season 9-4 after losing their previous three regular season games.

For New Mexico State, there’s still plenty of reason to remember this season fondly. They reached ten wins for the first time since 1960, they were CUSA runners up, and could return many critical pieces next season as well. Let’s not forget their massive win at Auburn, either.

If Kill can sustain this momentum into 2024, it would be one of the most intriguing storylines in the G5.