The New Mexico State football game won their third game of the season and first WAC contest of the season with a 31-24 victory over Idaho on Saturday night. The Aggies overcame two special teams touchdowns by Idaho while Taveon Rogers broke New Mexico State's career kickoff return yardage record as he tallied 172 yards on four returns including a 100-yard return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
The Aggies held the Vandals to just 281 total yards and gained 393 yards behind 171 rushing yards from Kenny Turner and 202 passing yards from Matt Christian and true freshman Travaughn Colwell who replaced the injured Christian in the second half.
The Aggies would jump on the board first as they would put together a 69 yard touchdown drive on seven plays. The quick strike took just 2:29 off the clock giving the Aggies a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Idaho's Justin Veltung would fumble and Donyae Coleman would recover the ball at the Vandals' 27-yard line and return it to the 20 yard line. The Aggies would take advantage and on the first play from scrimmage Matt Christian would hook up with Kemonte Bateman on a 20-yard touchdown strike. The extra point would give the Aggies a 14-0 lead just two and a half minutes into the game.
On the Vandals' ensuing drive the Aggies would force a three-and-out and an Idaho punt, however, Austin Franklin would muff the punt and Idaho would recover on the Aggies' six yard line. The Vandals would punch the ball in three plays later to cut the Aggies' lead to seven at 14-7.
Idaho would kick off and Taveon Rogers would field the ball in the end zone and return it 100 yards for a touchdown restoring the Aggies' lead to two touchdowns.
After the two teams traded punts, Idaho would put together a nine play 52-yard drive culminating with a Trey Farquhar 45 yard field goal to cut the Aggies' lead to 21-10 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
The game would slow down as the Aggies would take over on their own 20 yard line and drive to the Idaho 25 on a 41-yard pass from Matt Christian to Austin Franklin. However, the drive would stall and the Aggies' Tyler Stampler would miss a 39-yard field goal.
Neither offense would be productive the remainder of the second quarter as the teams would combine for eight punts sending the game into halftime with the Aggies leading 21-10.
The Aggies would force an Idaho punt on their first drive coming out of halftime but Idaho would do likewise after pinning the Aggies at their own 2-yard line to start the drive. The Aggies would punt the ball back to Idaho and Justin Veltung would return the punt 64 yards for a touchdown to cut the Aggies' lead to 21-17. On the ensuing drive the Aggies would be forced to punt but the Aggie defense would give the ball right back to the Aggies as Donyae Coleman would intercept Brian Reader a the Idaho 28 yard line. The Aggies would capitalize as Colwell would throw his first touchdown pass as an Aggie from one yard out to Kemonte Bateman to give the Aggies a 28-17 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff Idaho's Princeton McCarty would return the Aggies' kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to cut the Aggies' lead to 28-24.
The Aggies would take that lead into the fourth quarter as they would have a first and goal at the Idaho four to start the quarter. The Aggies would be unable to score a touchdown but Stampler would convert from 20 yards out to give the Aggies a 31-24 lead.
The Aggie defense would recover a fumble by Princeton McCarty at the 31 yard line but would lose six yards and be forced to punt pinning the Vandals at their own eight yard line with 8:23 left to play. The Vandals would put together an 18-play drive getting down to the Aggies' one yard line setting up a fourth and one. The Aggie defense would flush Idaho quarterback Brian Reader out of the pocket and force an incomplete pass as they tackled him. The Aggies would take over and run out the remaining 21 seconds of game clock for their first home victory of the season.