NMSU Football Falls To Troy In 2017 Home Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State football hosted the Troy Trojans at Aggie Memorial Stadium to open Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday night. Time was the Aggies biggest enemy as they got within three points after a touchdown and two-point conversion, but Troy went on to run out the clock and defeat NM State, 27-24.

After the close loss to Sun Belt Conference powerhouse Troy in front of a strong Aggie crowd, head coach Doug Martin said, ““I want to complement the crowd tonight and the people that were there. That was a great college football atmosphere and it was fun playing in front of that crowd. This was a great college football game between two great teams. When you have a game with no turnovers on either side, that’s about as good as it gets in college football and the good news is we were there. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and the way they competed.”

NM State (1-2) began the game with a four and out on their first drive. Troy (2-1) took over and charged down the field on a series that was capped off with a 9-yard touchdown pass to put the Aggies down 7-0 just 3:22 into the game.

NM State responded on their second drive as quarterback Tyler Rogers went 5-for-6 for 58 yards paired with a couple of rushes by Larry Rose III to move the Aggies into the red zone. The drive ended with Dylan Brown hitting a 26-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 in favor of Troy at the 6:48 mark of the opening quarter.

Troy got their second score of the game in as many drives after a three-yard touchdown rush. The Trojans then missed on the point after attempt, keeping the Aggies deficit at just 13-3 which would sit as the score at the end of the first quarter.

Troy’s first drive of the second quarter saw them get held to fourth down on the NM State 24-yard line, but a defensive pass interference call gave the Trojans a 1st-and-Goal. The NM State defense stood strong and held the Trojans to 4th-and-6 and the Troy kicker then rung the 27-yard field goal off the left upright and it was no good.

Heading into the second half, the Aggies trailed 13-3 and Troy added to that lead early. The opponents moved down the field in short order and got another touchdown on the board with a 3-yard rush. Just 2:33 into the third quarter the score put the Aggies down 20-3, their largest deficit of the contest.

NM State came out strong for their first drive of the second half. After a 22-yard completion to Conner Cramer, Rogers then found Greg Hogan for 10 yards to move the ball to the Trojans side of the field. Troy looked to keep the Aggies at bay as NM State set up for a 3rd&11. However, Rogers went deep for Izaiah Lottie and although the ball was tipped by the defensive back, Lottie stuck with it and caught the ball in the end zone for a 46-yard score.

After a failed point after put NM State behind 20-9, the Aggie defense forced the Trojans to punt. For NM State’s next drive, the team was 8-for-11 on passing attempts and rushed the ball just one time. The heavy passing attack paid off as Rogers found Jaleel Scott in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to bring the team within 20-16 with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter.

Troy then went 79 yards down the field on 12 plays, which included a 32-yard quarterback keeper on 4th&1 to get the Trojans in the end zone. The touchdown put the Aggies behind 27-16 before the third quarter came to a close.

Trailing by 13 in the final quarter, the Aggies cut into the deficit at the 9:49 mark. A 9-yard touchdown pass to Izaiah Lottie, his second of the game, was followed by a two-point conversion when Rogers found Scott in the back of the end zone. The score put the Aggies down 27-24.

The defense continued to hold the Trojans scoreless, but the Aggies could not capitalize in the waning minutes and Troy was able to run out the clock to hand the Aggies their second loss of the season.

NM State remains at home for the next contest of the season as Battle of I-10 rival UTEP enters Aggie Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m. MT.

NOTABLES
- The team rushed for 51 yards, their lowest total since putting up 40 yards against No. 20 San Diego State on Sept. 28, 2013.
- NM State committed zero turnovers for the first time since playing at Texas A&M on Oct. 29, 2016.
- Junior Christian Gibson had a pair of rushing attempts, his first as an Aggie since switching from defensive back.