NMSU’s Defense Holds Strong, History Made in 20-17 Win Over Jax State

On Saturday afternoon, New Mexico State and Jacksonville State came into today’s matchup at Aggie Memorial Stadium with 3 losses and one of them went home with a 4th. It was an ideal start for the Aggies going up 14-0 in the first quarter. Offense was humming in rhythm, defense was solid coming up with stops.

Then it all came to a slow roll. Jamoni Jones had the first touchdown, Trent Hudson had the second. Then NMSU would only get a field goal before the end of the first half. Stats wise it was all Aggies. 19 first downs, 3 for 3 in the red zone and 22 minutes of possession. 

Jacksonville State had trouble finishing drives, they could only get one field goal in the first half but they would pickup steam in the second half. Two more field goals and a touchdown by M. Jackson late in the 4th made it a one score game and NMSU’s offense was struggling. Pavia had two interceptions in the second half which gave Jax state good field possession twice which led to two scores. NMSU’s defense would hold Jax state off on some drives. Myles Rowser and Dylan Early had interceptions each to get some momentum back. 

The last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter had all the drama necessary for a finale at Aggie Memorial. NMSU again hadn’t scored since the 2nd quarter, and lacked consistency. Pavia and company needed to clean things up and have one drive that resulted in points. Up until the last drive NMSU had out gained JSU 408 to 289 and had the ball for 36 minutes compared to 17 for Jax State. Getting points on the board was the issue. 

NMSU would punt with 3:48 to go in the fourth quarter. Again asking their defense for one more stop. In the previous 9 games NMSU’s defense held opponents to 19 points per game. A huge fourth down near the 40 yard line, Zion Webb had a rugby scrum rush for the 1st down with 2:49 to go. JSU would get inside the 10 yard line with around a minute to go and everyone in AMS was on their feet. A huge penalty on Webb for illegal forward pass would push them to the 13 on make it 3rd and goal. The game would be tied on 4th down by JSU with 43 seconds left. NMSU had 2 timeouts left and needed a 30 yards to get in range. Pavia found Trent Hudson for a big gain, a 36 yard pass and the biggest play of the game. The offense struggled to pass the 50 yard line in the second half but late in the 4th they found their way. Close enough to field goal range for Ethan Albertson but still two timeouts left. They would set up Albertson from the middle of the field at the 25 yard line for a 42 yard field goal. The Senior would knock it through and NMSU would get a 20-17 victory and 10 wins for the second time in school history. The last time was in 1960s. 

Up Next: NMSU travels to play Liberty for the CUSA title game on Dec 1st at 6pm

Story by Christian Molinar