Aggies Hang Tough With Kentucky, Fall 62-42

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LEXINGTON, KY - After leading the majority of the first half and entering the locker room knotted 35-35, the NM State football team ultimately dropped a 62-42 decision to SEC opponent Kentucky on Saturday night in Commonwealth Stadium.

The Aggies (1-2) led the Wildcats (1-2) on four separate occasions before the home team pulled away in the second half. The first two Aggie touchdowns came from an interception by Jaden Wright and a fumble recovery by Izaiah Lottie. Overall, the Aggies secured three turnovers with two forced fumbles and an interception.

Tyler Rogers completed 16-of-33 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. This was his third 200-yard passing game of 2016 and the 13th of his career. In addition, the quarterback had a career-high 70 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Kentucky was led by quarterback Stephen Johnson who completed 17-of-22 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Stanley Williams had 181 rushing yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

The Aggies jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter. Wright stepped in front of Drew Barker’s pass to garner his first interception of the season as NM State took over on the Kentucky 46 yard line. After Jason Huntley carried the ball 11 yards for a first down, Rogers found Johnathan Boone in the end zone for a 35 yard touchdown.

Kentucky’s Williams then used a 63-yard, one-play drive to score, but the Aggies responded quickly. After NM State was forced to punt on its next series, Lottie recovered a fumble on the punt return. Following a lateral pass from Rogers, Tyrian Taylor found Boone in the end zone for a 31 yard touchdown to give the visitors a 14-7 advantage.

The Wildcats drove 77 yards for the next touchdown as Stephen Johnson found C.J. Conrad in the end zone to draw even with the visitors, but the Aggies responded again. With 2:40 left in the first quarter, Rogers lateralled the ball to Taylor, but this time Taylor kept the ball for a five yard score to give NM State the 21-14 advantage.

After back and forth scores through the second quarter, Kentucky took its first lead of the game with 58 seconds remaining before the half. Running back Benny Snell capped a nine-play, 88-yard drive with a one-yard rush into the end zone for the score, but the Aggies responded 26 seconds later.

Rogers found Royce Caldwell with a 20-yard pass, but Caldwell used a wide open field to run for 35 more yards as he turned it into a 55-yard play. Rogers and Caldwell then connected on a 17-yard pass before Rogers used a quarterback keeper to punch in a one-yard touchdown. With this score, the Aggies and Wildcats entered the break knotted at 35-35.

Kentucky scored back-to-back touchdowns to open the second half before the Aggies added another score of their own. A 20-yard pass from Rogers to Hall, a 15-yard personal foul on the Wildcats and a 10-yard rush by Rogers put the Aggies on the Kentucky 27-yard line. Rogers then found Lottie for an 18-yard completion. The Aggie quarterback concluded the drive with a 5-yard quarterback keeper to make it a one-score game.

The Wildcats added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

NM State takes the field again next Saturday as they open conference play with a road trip to face Troy in a 5 p.m. MT matchup. The game will be live streamed on ESPN3.

First Quarter
13:20: NM State – 35-yard pass from Tyler Rogers to Johnathan Boone (Davidson, P. XP), 2-46-0:23, NM State 7-0
11:10: Kentucky – 63-yard run by Stanley Williams (MacGinnis, A. XP), 1-63-0:13, Tied 7-7
08:58 – NM State – 31-yard pass from Tyrian Taylor to Johnathan Boone (Davidson, P. XP), 1-31-0:08, NM State 14-7
08:21 – Kentucky – 72-yard pass from Stephen Johnson to C.J. Conrad (MacGinnis, A. XP), 2-77-0:33, Tied 21-14
02:40 NM State – 5-yard run by Tyrian Taylor (Davidson, P. XP), 15-75-5:41, NM State 21-14

Second Quarter
12:08: Kentucky – 9-yard pass from Stephen Johnson to C.J. Conrad (MacGinnis, A. XP), 6-39-3:18, Tied 21-21
09:33: NM State – 5-yard pass from Tyler Rogers to Gregory Hogan (Davidson, P. XP), 10-79-2:31, NM State 28-21
08:17: Kentucky – 5-yard run by Benny Snell (MacGinnis, A. XP), 3-75-1:16, Tied 28-28
00:58: Kentucky – 1-yard run by Benny Snell (MacGinnis, A. XP), 9-88-3:34, Kentucky 35-28
00:38: NM State – 1-yard run by Tyler Rogers (Davidson, P. XP), 3-75-00:20, Tied 35-35

Third Quarter
10:10: Kentucky – 17-yard pass from Stephen Johnson to C.J. Conrad (MacGinnis, A. XP), 8-71-2:46, Kentucky 42-35
06:46: Kentucky – 2-yard run by Benny Snell (MacGinnis, A. XP), 7-62-2:29, Kentucky 49-35
04:08: NM State – 5-yard run by Tyler Rogers (Davidson, P. XP), 8-75-2:38, Kentucky 49-42

Fourth Quarter
13:07: Kentucky – 4-yard run by Benny Snell (MacGinnis, A. kick failed), 11-75-6:01, Kentucky 55-42
03:41: Kentucky – 65-yard run by Charles Walker (MacGinnis, A. XP), Kentucky 62-42