Louisiana Tech Scores Two Late Touchdowns; Aggies Fall 41-20

The Aggie football team battled the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs closely for nearly the entire game trailing by just seven points but two touchdowns in the final five minutes sealed the Aggies' fate as the Bulldogs left Las Cruces with a 41-20 victory ending a 10-game road losing streak.

In his second career start, Andrew Manley threw his first career touchdown pass connecting with Todd Lee on a 30 yard touchdown strike in the second quarter. Manley finished the game 20-of-40 for 216 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Robert Clay, in his first start filing in for injured Seth Smith and Kenny Turner finished with 108 yards on 22 carries with an average of 4.9 yards per carry.

The Aggies struck first as they recovered a muffed punt by Phillip Livas on their own 45 yard line. Freshman quarterback Andrew Manley, starting in place of regular starter Matt Christian, led the Aggies on a nine play drive. The Aggies had first and goal at the LA Tech 10 yard line. After a five yard gain by Robert Clay on first down put the ball down to the four yard line, the Aggies' drive would stall prompting a Tyler Stampler field goal attempt from 25 yards out. Stampler would covert giving the Aggies a 3-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Louisiana Tech's Myke Compton would return the ball to their own 47 yard line where Aggie kicker Tyler Stampler would hit Compton popping the ball out. After the scramble for the ball, the Bulldogs would come out of the pile with the football. Capitalizing on their good fortune, the Bulldogs would quickly march down the field getting a 24-yard pass completion from Ross Jenkins to Ritchie Casey. After a series of runs would get the ball down to the Aggies' 14, Jenkins would find Andrew Guillot two plays later for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The extra point by Matt Nelson would put the Bulldogs up 7-3 with 7:00 left in the first quarter.

The Aggies would get the ball back but would be forced to punt after a 3-and-out giving Louisiana Tech the ball at their own 30 yard line. Louisiana Tech would get a 34-yard run by Lennon Creer giving them a first down at the Aggies' 36 yard line. Jenkins would find Ray Holley for 22 yards giving the Bulldogs a 1st down at the Aggies' 13 yard line. Three plays later Creer would rush five yards for a touchdown putting the Bulldogs up 14-3 after the extra point.

The Aggies would get the ball on the ensuing kickoff and after a Robert Clay run for 12 yards on second down gave the Aggies a first down at their own 45 yard line, Manley would find Todd Lee for a 30 yard strike giving the Aggies a first down at the LA Tech 25 yard line. However, on the next play Manley would be intercepted by Chad Boyd who would return the pick for 30 yards to the LA Tech 45 yard line. The Bulldogs would drive down to the Aggies' 30 yard line where they would be forced to attempt a 47 yard field goal. Matt Nelson would convert the kick giving the Bulldogs a 17-3 lead just seconds in to the second quarter.

The Aggies would answer on their next drive after starting at their own 15 yard line, the Aggies would get pass completions of five, 14, 12 and five yards sprinkled in with a few rushes by Manley and Robert Clay to drive the Aggies down to the LA Tech 30 yard line. On 1st and 10 from the LA Tech 30, Manley would find Todd Lee on a crossing pattern and delivered a perfect strike for a 30 yard touchdown. The extra point by Stampler would bring the Aggies to within a touchdown at 17-10 with 8:47 left in the half.

After the two teams traded punts, the Bulldogs would get the ball back at their own 17 yard line with 7:31 on the clock. Jenkins would find Jacarri Jackson for a 41-yard completion on 2nd and 14 from their own 45. The completion would give the Bulldogs a first down at the Aggies' 14 yard line. Three plays later Jenkins would call his own number rushing in from seven yards out for the touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 24-10. The Aggies would get the ball back with 1:31 left in the half but would elect to run out the clock and go into halftime trailing by 14.

Coming out of halftime the Aggies would put together a drive starting at their own 35 yard line. They would drive down to the Louisiana Tech 37 yard line but the drive would stall at the Bulldogs' 36. The Aggies would go for it on fourth and nine from the LA Tech 36 but Manley's pass to Marcus Allen would fall incomplete giving the ball back to Louisiana Tech at their 36. On the very next play, Ross Jenkins' pass would get intercepted by Aggie linebacker Boyblue Aoelua at the Bulldogs' 41 yard land and Aoelua would return the interception 41 yards for a touchdown. The extra point would bring the Aggies back to within a touchdown at 24-17 with 11:37 left in the third quarter.

The two teams would trade punts on their next possessions and after the Aggies forced another three and out by the Bulldogs, they would take over on their own 16 yard line but on the ensuing play from scrimmage, Manley would be intercepted by Javontay Crowe who returned the ball to the Aggie 30 yard line. The Aggie defense, facing a pivotal series needing to to hold the Bulldogs would limit Louisiana Tech to just three yards on the drive and force a 44 yard field goal attempt by Matt Nelson who would be unable to convert as the kick would be just wide left leaving the score at 24-17.

The two teams would head to the fourth quarter with the Aggies trailing 24-17. Louisiana Tech would get the ball on the Aggie 45 yard line after an Aggie punt. LA Tech would drive down to the Aggies' seven yard line where the Aggie defense would stiffen forcing a Matt Nelson field goal to put the Bulldogs up 27-17 with just over 10 minutes left to play.

The Aggies would get the ball back and drive from their own 33 down to the Louisiana Tech 13 yard line before the drive would stall. Tyler Stampler would hit a 31 yard field goal to draw the Aggies back to within a touchdown at 27-20 with just over six minutes left to play.

The Bulldogs would seal the game as Phillip Livas would break a 62-yard touchdown run on an end-around play to put the Bulldogs up 34-20 with 5:00 left to play. On the ensuing kickoff the Aggies' Stephen McIntyre would be unable to get the handle on the kickoff and the Bulldogs' Justin Goodman would recover the ball. It would take Louisiana Tech six plays to drive 37 yards culminating in a nine yard touchdown run by Livas putting Louisiana Tech up 41-20 with 90 seconds left to play.

The Aggies finished with 366 total yards while Louisiana Tech finished with 426 yards.

The Aggies' Marcus Allen caught seven passes for 80 yards, Todd Lee caught three passes for 73 yards and the Aggies' lone offensive touchdown.

Tyler Stampler was perfect on field goals hitting from 26 yards and 31 yards.

Boyblue Aoelua returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown.

Ross Jenkins finished 19-of-31 for the Bulldogs with one touchdown and one interception. Lennon Creer finished with 107 yards rushing and one touchdown. Phillip Livas carried the ball five times for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

Bulldog kicker Matt Nelson was 2-of-3 on the night and hit all five extra points.

The Aggies fall to 2-8 on the season and 1-5 in WAC play. Louisiana Tech improves to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in WAC play.