Aggies Dominate in Bounce Back Game Against Western Illinois

In the heart of Las Cruces, New Mexico, at Aggie Memorial Stadium, the NMSU Aggies were ready to redeem themselves after a disappointing game the previous week. Their opponent, Western Illinois, stood as the barrier.

The opening kickoff set the tone as the Aggies embarked on a blazing 70-yard drive downfield. The crowd erupted as star running back, Star Thomas, burst through the line for a 20-yard dash, securing a 6-0 lead after a missed PAT.

The Aggies’ defense came alive, sacking Western Illinois and forcing a quick three-and-out. Last week’s sackless performance was a distant memory as they recorded two tackles for loss on the first possession.

The excitement continued when QB Eli Stowers kept the ball for a 4-yard touchdown run, marking his first touchdown with NMSU. With 14:53 left in the first half, the Aggies were leading 13-0.

Western Illinois, however, showed resilience, making significant plays against Aggies’ blitzes on third down, including a 5-yard TD pass on third and goal. The score narrowed to 13-7 with 8:42 remaining in the half.

The Aggies responded with a well-executed option play, as Stowers pitched the ball to Ahmonte Watkins for a 5-yard touchdown on third down, extending their lead to 20-7 with 2:23 left in the half.

Western Illinois fought back with a 20-yard draw up the middle, evading at least two missed tackles, cutting NMSU’s lead to 20-14 after another long drive.

At halftime, the scoreboard read NMSU 20, Western Illinois 14. QB Deigo Pavia had an impressive 9-10 passing record for 113 yards, and the Aggies had rushed for 102 yards. However, Western Illinois had 117 passing yards and a remarkable 6-8 third-down conversion rate.

Western Illinois dominated the second quarter, outgaining NMSU 150-81 and converting all six third-down attempts. They received the ball first in the third quarter, hoping to maintain their momentum.

But the Aggies had other plans. Bryce Childress caught a pass in the flat and sprinted 75 yards down the sideline, extending the lead to 30-14 with 7:58 left in the third.

The Aggies continued to shine as Pavia connected with Jonathan Brady on a post route right after a missed Western Illinois field goal. The 80-yard touchdown pass ignited the crowd, making it 37-14 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.

Western Illinois managed to find the end zone in the third quarter, closing the gap to 37-21 with 2:38 remaining.

Star Thomas was unstoppable, accumulating 96 rushing yards with two touchdowns. The Aggies led comfortably at 44-21 with 11:18 left to play.

In the fourth quarter, Eli Stowers showcased his arm, delivering a beautiful pass to Jordin Parker for yet another Aggie touchdown. The scoreboard now displayed an impressive 51-21 lead with 8:49 remaining.

As the game neared its conclusion, Makhilyn Young made crucial plays, taking them inside the 10-yard line before scoring another touchdown. The Aggies were rolling, leading 58-21 with 4:13 left in the game.

Remarkably, eight different players had contributed to the scoring for NMSU that night. They had amassed an astonishing 650 yards.

In the end, the final score resonated throughout Aggie Memorial Stadium: New Mexico State 58, Western Illinois 21. The Aggies were back on track with a 1-1 record and were eagerly looking forward to opening their CUSA era the following week against Liberty.

Story by Christian Molinar