NMSU Football Falls To South Alabama 35-28 In Season Finale

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

MOBILE, AL - The final game of the 2016-17 season saw the New Mexico State football team square off with the South Alabama Jaguars at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The game saw two defenses come to play as the score remained low for most of the game. The final score saw the Aggies fall 35-28 after the fourth quarter saw five scoring drives to close out the contest.

After the game, Coach Martin was asked about his team’s performance in their final game and he said, “I am very proud of how this team played tonight. We always play with a chip on our shoulder and if we come out like we did tonight and realize it’s us against the world, we will definitely improve and play great football next year.”

The first quarter opened up with back-to-back punts as the Aggie defense held the Jaguars to a three-and-out and then a flag on NM State’s first drive forced them to punt, as well. South Alabama tried to get things rolling on their next possession as a two-play drive culminated in a 51-yard rush to put the Jaguars up 7-0 just 3:19 into the first quarter.

The Aggies looked to respond after three consecutive 10-plus yard rushes by Xavier Hall, Tyler Rogers and Larry Rose III on their next drive, but another penalty forced NM State to punt. South Alabama then began to march down the field as they got the ball down to the Aggies 10-yard line, but a Demarcus Owens interception on the goal-line kept the Jaguars out of the end zone. When the first quarter had ended, the Aggies trailed 7-0.

The second quarter featured strong defense from both teams as just fewer than ten minutes passed until there was a change on the scoreboard. The drive that added to the score total began when the Aggie defense forced another three-and-out and the Aggies took over on their own 20yd line for their second drive of the quarter. The first play of this drive saw Alabama native Conner Cramer come into the game at quarterback and break off a 50-yard rush on his first play. On the very next rush, Larry Rose II found a hole and was not touched as he ran in for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game up.

The defense used this momentum and on South Alabama’s ensuing drive as Jaden Wright forced a fumble and recovered it at midfield. Larry Rose III then did what Larry Rose does and took off for a 51-yard rush, the longest rush by an Aggie this season. Unfortunately, the Jaguar defense recovered a fumble by the Aggies on their own six yard line and used the next drive to run the clock out as the first half ended with a tie score, 7-7.

As each team emerged from the locker room, the tide turned very quickly in favor of South Alabama as they intercepted a deep pass by Conner Cramer and turned the resulting drive into a touchdown as the home team went up 14-7. However, the Aggies came out on their next possession and a nine play drive saw Cramer take a 41-yard rush to the house and tie the game up, 14-14.

South Alabama looked to counter with a score of their own but a pass to the end zone was picked off by Jaden Wright, as he forced his second turnover and the Aggies marched down to the Jaguars side of the field as the third quarter ended, 14-14.

Beginning the quarter in enemy territory, the Aggies ran the ball right up the middle as Larry Rose III finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown rush to give the Aggies their first lead of the game, 21-14. The lead did not last long, unfortunately, as a 76-yard pass on the Jaguars first play of their next drive tied the game up at 21, with 14:10 left in the game.

Following the score, another three-and-out gave South Alabama the ball back as they took 5:52 off the clock with a 12 play, 86-yard drive which resulted in another touchdown to put the opposition back on top, 28-21. As the clock winded down, the Aggies found the end zone one more time as Jonathan Boone had a 35-yard reception, but time was their biggest opponent as the clock hit 0:00 and the Aggies were defeated, 35-28.

This was the final game of the season for the Aggies as they finished at 3-9, tied for the most single-season wins during the Doug Martin era.

POSTGAME NOTES
· Larry Rose III had the longest run of the season (51 yards) for the Aggies in the second quarter
· Jaden Wright forced two turnovers (one interception, one fumble) for the first time this season
· Larry Rose moved into fourth all-time for all-purpose yards with 4,259
· NM State ran for the most single-game net rush yards this season (359)