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New Mexico State Defeats Idaho 17-10 Behind a Great Defense, Earns Fifth Win

Aggies will play for bowl eligibility next week at home against South Alabama!

New Mexico State v Arkansas
Doug Martin has the Aggies on the brink of six wins for the first time since 2004!
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Thanks to a dominating performance on defense, the New Mexico State Aggies now have five wins in a single season for the first time since 2004!

How did the Aggies get their fifth win? By flying around the field and making plays.

The NM State defense forced Idaho to turn the ball over on their first two possessions and sacked Idaho freshman quarterback Colton Richardson 11 times to shore up the most wins in the Doug Martin era.

The game began with both teams starting their backup quarterbacks but on the first drive, Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino would fall hard on his shoulder and be out the rest of the game. That play resulted in a tipped ball and an interception for Leon McQuaker, who started his first game for the Crimson.

Larry Rose III would run the ball in five plays later from 25 yards out to put the Aggies on top 7-0 early.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Texas A&M
Larry Rose is one rushing touchdown away from tying the program’s all time mark of 37, set by James Pilot.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

On the next Idaho possession, Coach Petrino was forced to burn Colton Richardson’s redshirt and put him in at quarterback. The result from the first possession wouldn’t change, however, as Shamad Lomax would rip the ball from the Vandal receiver’s hands and recover it.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Arkansas
Shamad Lomax (22) made a great play to force a turnover and help the Aggies pull out their fifth win of the season!
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, Larry Rose would run the ball in on a fourth and one to make it 14-0 NM State with 8:24 left in the first! This play was very important for two reasons: it shows that the coaching staff is playing to win by going for a touchdown on fourth and one, and because it put LRIII just one rushing touchdown away from tying the program record of 37!

After that score the game kind of grinded to a halt. Both teams failed to score, as the Aggies would have a 29 yard field goal get blocked (one of two blocked) before the end of the first quarter and the Vandals would have a 41 yarder hit off the upright.

It wasn’t until the end of the second quarter, when a Jaleel Scott fumble gave Idaho good field position would there be another score in the first half.

Their freshman QB would hit David Ungerer from 25 yards out to cut the lead to seven. Colton Richardson showed some promise for the Vandals, but the Aggies defense was just too much.

They constantly got pressure on Richardson and made him uncomfortable. There were SO MANY SACKS! It was so fun to watch.

Both teams had trouble moving the ball, however, and NMSU had two opportunities to score in the game but they ended with another blocked field goal and an interception in the end zone.

That didn’t matter as the defense would come through time and again. On the final possession of the game, Idaho threw a deep pass that would have been a touchdown, except for a strategic pass interference on the Aggies.

That gave Idaho a new set of downs but a few plays later, Jaden Wright would pull in an interception and secure the NM State win!

This is a completely different defense from last year. Thanks to their efforts the New Mexico State Aggies will play for their sixth win and a chance to become bowl eligible and break the nation’s longest bowl drought at 57 years!

GO AGGIES! WOBBLE ON!

Notables

  • The NM State defense has now recorded 35 sacks this season, which is a new team record! The previous record was 33 in 1999 and obliterates the 12 that the team had last year.
  • The defense also has surpassed 2016’s interception total of 13. Jaden Wright’s game winning interception was the team’s 14th of the year.
  • Freshman tight end Bryce Roberts had a career high two catches Saturday and is looking promising at the position.
  • Cedric Wilcots II had 3.5 sacks and continues to develop as a force on the defensive line.