Aggies Edged 35-31 In Home Finale

Written By: NMSU Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Senior quarterback Chase Holbrook threw for a season-high 486 yards and four touchdowns in his final game at Aggie Memorial Stadium, but the New Mexico State football team fell short against Louisiana Tech, 35-31, Saturday, Nov. 22.

NMSU (3-8, 1-6 WAC) held La Tech to 127 yards of total offense in the second half and just seven points, but late in the fourth quarter the Bulldogs went up for good on a 68-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ross Jenkins to Phillip Livas.

In all, New Mexico State racked up 523 yards of total offense on 84 plays, which set a new school record for most plays in a game. The Aggie defense held La Tech to just 64 yards passing in the game if you take away that final touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Senior wide receivers A.J. Harris and Chris Williams both caught 10 passes in the game for the Aggies. Williams had 189 yards receiving and two touchdowns while Harris racked up 75 yards. With his two touchdown catches, he set a new school record for most TD receptions in a career with 32.

Holbrook completed 75 percent of his passes in the game (45-of-60) and was just five completions shy of tying his own single-game record. With his performance tonight, Holbrook now has 10 400-yard passing games in his career.

"I'm really proud of the way our kids fought," head coach Hal Mumme said. "I thought they fought their hearts out. They showed what kind of character we’ve recruited around here. I’m so proud of the way they played."

Louisiana Tech (7-4, 5-2) got 226 yards on the ground and 130 of that came from junior running back Daniel Porter. He scored one of La Tech’s three rushing touchdowns in the game.

The Aggies were forced to punt on both their first two possessions of the game. Holbrook would complete a 13-yard pass to Kyle Nelson, which moved him into 18th all-time in NCAA history for passing yards in a career. The Bulldogs opened up the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Daniel Porter. The quarter would end with the score 7-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.

The Aggies opened the second quarter with a bang, as Holbrook connected with Chris Williams for an 80-yard touchdown pass that gave Williams a share of the school record for touchdown receptions in a career as well as moved Holbrook into 15th all-time in NCAA history for passing yards in a career and 30th in the NCAA career touchdown list. The score was tied 7-7 with 14:50 left in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs responded quickly with a drive of seven plays and 80 yards as Livas scored on 14-yard rush, giving La Tech a 14-7 lead with 11:47 remaining in the half.

NMSU then put together an impressive drive that took 7:16 on 16 plays and 81 yards to bring the score to14-10 with 4:26 left in the half. Kyle Hughes nailed a 22-yard field goal to cap off the drive. The Aggies converted on a fourth-and-five to keep the drive alive.

The Bulldogs quickly scored again, moving the ball down the field, scoring on a 10-yard run by Patrick Jackson to give La Tech a 21-10 lead, with 2:30 left in the first half. NMSU then went three-and-out and were forced to punt. The Bulldogs would block the punt and recover, returning it for a touchdown that gave La Tech a 28-10 with a 1:55 left on the clock in the first half.

New Mexico State was not done as they quickly marched down the field to bring the score to 28-17 with :44 second left in the half. Holbrook hooked up with Ronald Opetaia for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Holbrook moved into 29th all-time on the career NCAA touchdown pass list.

La Tech would miss a 45-yard field goal as time expired to end the first half.

The Aggie defense opened the second half with a huge stop of the La Tech offense, but the Aggies were unable to capitalize. The NMSU defense again came up with a big stop of the Bulldog offense to give the Aggies the ball back with 7:46 remaining in the third quarter. NMSU fell short on a fourth and one attempt to give the Bulldogs the ball back but again the NMSU defense stopped La Tech on a fourth down attempt to get the ball back for the Aggies.

Holbrook then drove the Aggies down the field and connected with Marcus Anderson on an 8-yard touchdown pass, his ninth of the season to pull NMSU with four points at 28-24 with 1:28 left in the third. The touchdown pass moved Holbrook into 25th all-time in NCAA history for passing touchdowns in a career with 84.

Another stop by the Aggie defense gave the ball back to NMSU. Holbrook then hit Williams on a 34-yard pass with blitzers right in his face to give NMSU a 31-28 lead with 10:44 remaining in the game. With the touchdown reception, Williams broke the school record for touchdown receptions in a career (32) breaking a 13-year old record held by Lucious Davis (1992-95). He also went over the 3,500 receiving yard mark for his career, while Holbrook moved into 22nd all-time for touchdown passes in NCAA history.

The Bulldogs scored their first points of the second half with 3:52 remaining when Livas recorded his first touchdown pass of the game on a 68-yard pass from Jenkins to take a 35-31 advantage.

The Aggies will wrap up the 2008 season next Saturday as they travel to Logan, Utah to face the Utah State Aggies. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m.