NMSU Football Falls To Arkansas State, 37-21

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State football team played host to defending Sun Belt Conference Champion Arkansas State at Aggie Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. While NM State led after the first two quarters, an explosive second half from the Red Wolves saw the Aggies drop Saturday evenings contest, 37-21.

Following the tough loss head coach Doug Martin said, “Tonight was disappointing. I thought defensively we competed pretty well. Arkansas State is a really good team and that’s the best we’ve played them in the last couple years.”

After a quiet start which featured seven straight scoreless drives from NM State (3-5, 1-3 SBC) and Arkansas State (5-2, 4-0 SBC), the Red Wolves finally got on the board with a 21-yard touchdown pass to put the Aggies down 7-0 with 1:25 remaining in the opening quarter.

NM State was forced to punt on their first drive of the second quarter but then responded on defense when Malik Demby forced a fumble in the backfield which was recovered by Roy Lopez at the Arkansas State 24-yard line. The next drive for NM State culminated with a one-yard touchdown rush by Larry Rose III to tie the game up at seven.

The first half scoring did not stop there for the Aggies after a 41-yard reception by Jaleel Scott set up the Aggies three-yards from the end zone. A play-action pass then saw Tyler Rogers hit Bryce Roberts in the end zone to put the Aggies ahead 14-7 to end the second quarter.

A punt from each side opened up the second half. Then, following the eighth straight stop on third down by the NM State defense, Arkansas State was able to hit a 44-yard field goal to put the Aggies lead at 14-10 just 5:48 into the third quarter.

Following an Aggie punt, the Red Wolves set up a drive that ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass to give Arkansas State the lead, 17-14, at the 6:55 mark.

The next NM State series resulted in an interception by Arkansas State at their own 46, however, Shamad Lomax returned the favor with an Aggie interception at the NM State 17-yard line. The ensuing drive did not result in points, but NM State was able to add to their total early in the fourth quarter.

A 55-yard catch and run by O.J. Clark in the closing seconds of the third quarter set the Aggies up with a first-and-goal from the Arkansas State three-yard line. Then on the first play of the final quarter, Rogers scrambled in for a two-yard score to regain the lead for the Aggies, 21-17, just four seconds into the fourth quarter.

Arkansas State responded quickly with a drive that took 2:41 and ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass to again force a lead change putting the Aggies behind 24-21. The Aggies were held scoreless for the remainder of the game and Arkansas State was able to add a pair of touchdowns before the clock read zero to hand NM State a 37-21 loss.

NM State football now hits the road for another Sun Belt contest against Texas State on Nov. 4, at 1:00 p.m. MT in Bobcat Stadium.

NOTABLE
- Malik Demby recorded his first career forced fumble.
- Roy Lopez tallied his first career fumble recovery.
- Larry Rose III moved into a tie for third all-time in program history in rushing touchdowns (31).
- Billy Nipp recorded his first career sack.
- O.J. Clark set a career-high in receiving yards (113) and long reception (55).
- This was the first time the Aggies have been outgained in yards passing this season (297-241).
- Dalton Herrington tied a career-high in tackles (16) which was set last season also against Arkansas State (11/12/16).