Aggie Football Falls To Vandals 29-17

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

MOSCOW, ID - The New Mexico State football team fell 29-17 to Idaho in Sun Belt Conference action Saturday, Oct. 18 in the Kibbie Dome, falling to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in league play. The Vandals picked up their first win of the year and are now 1-6 and 1-4 in SBC play.

Once again turnovers play a role in the outcome of the game for the Aggies with NM State throwing three interceptions and losing one fumble. Freshman quarterback Andrew Allen got his first career start and ended the game going 6-of-11 passing for 88 yards and one interception. Tyler Rogers, who made an appearance late in the game, recorded 3-of-5 passing for 12 yards and two interceptions.

The Vandals recorded two turnovers to the Aggies four. More importantly, Idaho scored 16 points off turnovers, missing a two point conversion on one score. The Aggies scored three points off the Vandal interception.

Larry Rose III had another big game for the Aggies, leading the team with 155 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. The Aggies recorded 100 yards passing and 140 yards on the ground, compared to Idaho’s 226 through the air and 310 on the ground. Vandal’s running back Jerrel Brown finished with 151 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

The start of the game saw both teams hit highs and lows on offense. After Idaho scored on a four-yard run with 10:20 in the first quarter, the Aggies responded with Rose scoring on a 79-yard run to make it a 7-7 ball game with 9:06 on the clock in the first quarter. Both teams scored quickly on their opening drives, then were both forced to punt on their next drives, with both offenses fumbling and losing the ball on their ensuing drives.

The Aggies struggled offensively in the first half posting, three first downs on 101 yards rushing a 66 yards passing. Allen was 3-of-5 passing hitting Adam Shapiro on a 53 yard pass, Rose on an eight-yard connection and Bentancourt on a five-yard pass.

The Vandals managed to hit a wide open receiver towards the end of the first quarter to go ahead 14-7 heading into the second quarter.

More importantly for both teams, the first half included crucial injuries and an ejection. On the opening drive, Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan was targeted on a slide by Kawe Johnson, resulting in the quarterback missing the rest of the game and Johnson being ejected. Later in the first quarter, Aggie center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke was injured and had to be sidelined. He would return midway through the second quarter.

In the second half, both teams saw drives end in punts before the Vandals threatened the go up by two touchdowns midway through the quarter. On third and short, Aggie defensive back Winston Rose made a great play on the ball to grab the interception, resulting in a touchback for the Aggies. The interception was Rose’s fourth of the season, where he leads the team in that category.

After a quick three-and-out for the Aggies, the Vandals marched down the field once again. NM State stood their ground, holding the Vandals to a field goal. On the Aggies next drive they drove down the field until they were forced to settle for a 35-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, but an Idaho roughing the holder penalty gave NM State an automatic first down, keeping the drive alive.

After some good ground work by Betancourt, the Aggie veteran running back dove for the end zone in what was originally called a touchdown on the field, but after review was placed at the half-yard line for fourth down. NM State elected to kick a field goal with Johnson putting the ball through the uprights to cut the Idaho lead to 17-10.

With Idaho getting the ball back with a little over two minutes left in the half, the vandals went into hurry up mode and drove the ball down the field. The Aggies defense held though, preventing a score and instead making Idaho settle for a field goal with eight seconds remaining. A squib kick by the Vandals ended the half with Idaho leading 20-10.

The Vandals used almost nine minutes of clock to drive the ball 90 yards to the Aggie one yard line to start the second half. On fourth down NM State stopped the Vandals resulting in a turnover on downs. The Aggies couldn’t capitalize on the defensive stand however, with Allen throwing an interception around midfield after converting a third down to get out of the end zone.

The fourth quarter opened with a Vandals field goal to extend their lead 23-10. On NM State’s next possession, the Aggies saw the return of Rodgers at quarterback. After driving down the field for 48 yards, Rose broke free from the line of scrimmage for another big run, taking the ball 33-yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 23-17.

After holding the Vandals to a punt on the ensuing drive, the Aggies got the ball back on the five-yard line after an Idaho punt. After several plays and two penalties, the Aggies found themselves pushed back into their own end zone. With the pocket collapsing on third down, Rogers scrambled and threw a pass that was intercepted by the Vandals.

After scoring a touchdown on short yardage, NM State received the ball one last time with slightly less than seven minutes left. In hurry up mode, the Aggies drove the ball up the field quickly, but once again a turnover by Rogers sealed the Aggies fate, with the vandals running the clock out and taking the game 29-17.

The Aggies are off next week before hosting Texas State Nov. 1 at home. The game between NM State and Texas State is the start of a three game home stand for the Aggies heading into the final third of the season.