ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bowl Hopes Get Officially Buried
No. 24 la. tech 28, nEW MEXICO STATE 14
By Ken SickengerJournal Staff WriterNo. 24 LOUISIANA TECH 28,NEW MEXICO ST. 14Louisiana Tech 7 0 14 7-28New Mexico St. 0 0 0 14-14First Quarter LaT-Dixon 2 run (Nelson kick), 6:10. Third Quarter LaT-M.White 44 pass from Cameron (Nelson kick), 9:13.LaT-Cameron 2 run (Nelson kick), 4:34.Fourth Quarter LaT-Holley 83 run (Nelson kick), 8:50. NMSU-Bateman 19 pass from Manley (M.Johnson kick), 6:35. NMSU-Franklin 67 pass from Manley (M.Johnson kick), 2:06. A-12,118. LaT NMSUFirst downs 26 20Rushes-yards 46-238 31-122Passing 292 283Comp-Att-Int 29-44-0 18-34-1Return Yards 35 3Punts-Avg. 5-52.4 8-40.4Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2Penalties-Yards 4-35 5-45Time of Possession 29:28 30:32INDIVIDUAL STATISTICSRUSHING-Louisiana Tech, Holley 12-130, Dixon 20-69, Cameron 7-25, H.Lee 5-22, Team 2-(minus 8). New Mexico St., Morrison 16-92, Colwell 6-20, Franklin 3-10, Manley 4-4, Team 2-(minus 4).PASSING-Louisiana Tech, Cameron 29-44-0-292. New Mexico St., Manley 18-34-1-283.RECEIVING-Louisiana Tech, M.White 7-125, Patton 6-42, D.Banks 4-42, H.Lee 3-24, J.Greenwalt 2-19, Holley 2-16, Dixon 2-11, Guillot 2-5, Gru 1-8. New Mexico St., Franklin 7-139, Bateman 5-67, Morrison 4-51, Walls 2-26.
LAS CRUCES – Moral victories may not be satisfying, but they’re better than no victory at all.
The New Mexico State University football team was at least able to leave Aggie Memorial Stadium with heads held high after a 28-14 loss to 24th-ranked Louisiana Tech on Saturday night.
NMSU at Auburn, 10:30 a.m.
Yes, it was the Aggies’ seventh straight loss. And yes, it ensured NMSU will not play in a bowl game for a 52nd consecutive year.
Still, coach DeWayne Walker’s team held the nation’s top scoring offense to half its average output and its lowest point total of the season. Coming in as 30-point underdogs, the Aggies battled the Bulldogs until the final snap.
Asked about his defense’s effort, Walker broke into a smile.
“That was fun to see,” he said. “Watching that (Bulldogs) offense score 70 points against Idaho last week scared the crap out of me. We definitely didn’t want to be put in the 70 club, so we came up with a scheme and the guys made it work.”
NMSU’s offense, on the other hand, was no smiling matter. The Aggies were 1-for-11 on third-down conversions and turned the ball over three times. Two of those giveaways ended promising drives, the third set up a Louisiana Tech touchdown.
“This game could have been a lot more interesting if not for our crucial miscues,” Walker said.
It was not the type of game most observers would have expected. Louisiana Tech came in averaging 56 points per game and allowing more than 38, while NMSU had surrendered an average of 34 points in its previous seven contests.
Nonetheless, defense dominated most of the game.
Louisiana Tech (7-1, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference), which had scored no fewer than 44 points in any previous game, led just 7-0 at halftime.
The Bulldogs cashed in on a short field with Kenneth Dixon’s 2-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Their other first-half drives ended with two punts and three missed field goal tries.
“Everyone came to play,” said safety Davis Cazares, who led the Aggies with 15 tackles. “It just showed what our defense can do.”
Unfortunately for the 12,118 fans in attendance, NMSU’s offense was a study in frustration for the first three quarters.
On its only sustained drive of the first half, New Mexico State (1-7, 0-4) appeared to have a first down on a pass from Andrew Manley to Austin Franklin at the Bulldogs’ 41. But Franklin gave ground trying to avoid a tackler and left NMSU with a fourth-and-inches.
After a false-start penalty, the Aggies punted.
It was a glimpse of frustrating things to come.
New Mexico State’s first two drives of the third quarter ended with fumbles in La. Tech territory. The third, an interception by the Bulldogs’ Chad Boyd at the NMSU 28, set up a Colby Cameron touchdown run that made the score 21-0.
The Aggies later held La. Tech on a goal-line stand and, even after allowing a Ray Holley 83-yard touchdown run for a 28-0 margin, continued to fight.
Manley and the offense finally broke through in the fourth quarter, capping drives with touchdown passes to Kemonté Bateman and Franklin.
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal