Aggie Defense Impressive In Loss To No. 24 Louisiana Tech

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State football team held the top-ranked scoring offense in the nation, Louisiana Tech, to its lowest point total of the season in a 28-14 loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.

The Aggie defense was led by junior safeties Davis Cazares and George Callender. Cazares finished with a team-high 15 tackles, eight of which were unassisted, while Callender was right behind with a total of 14 tackles on the night. Junior linebacker Bryan Bonilla almost joined the safety duo with double-digit tackles, finishing with nine total tackles.

Offensively, sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 283 passing yards on 18-of-34. Junior running back Germi Morrison nearly missed a 100-yard rushing game, gaining 92 yards on 16 carries. Sophomore wide receiver Austin Franklin tallied his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season, finishing with seven catches for 139 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter.

The Aggie defense was stout all night, especially in critical situations. NM State held the Bulldogs to 7-of-19 on third down conversions. The Aggies also allowed only two scores in seven Louisiana Tech red zone scoring chances.

The Bulldogs had three of those red zone chances in the first half, but could only covert one of them. NM State was aided by three missed field goals by Louisiana Tech senior kicker Matt Nelson. The Aggies held the nation's top-scoring offense to only one touchdown on six possessions during the first half and trailed 7-0 at the half.

Cazares and Callender led NM State at the half with seven total tackles each. Bonilla added another six tackles.

On the offensive side, Manley finished the half with 107 yards passing on 10-of-19 passing. Morrison led the Aggies both on the ground and in the air. He finished the half with six carries for 31 yards and three receptions for another 40 yards.

Louisiana Tech increased its lead to 21-0 off a couple of NM State turnovers in the second half and added a fourth-quarter touchdown off an 83-yard touchdown run by senior running back Ray Holley.

The Aggies didn't concede, however, coming back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns of their own. With 6:35 left in the game, Manley hit senior wide receiver Kemonte' Bateman down the middle with a 19-yard touchdown pass for NM State's first touchdown. After a Bulldog punt, Manley and Franklin connected for the final score of the night with just over two minutes left in the game. An Aggie on-side kick attempt failed ending the game at 28-14.