NMSU Football Defeats Idaho 17-10 For Fifth Win Of Season

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State football team took on Sun Belt Conference foe Idaho on Saturday afternoon in Aggie Memorial Stadium. After NM State scored on its first two drives, the Aggie defense then protected the team’s lead with constant quarterback pressure and helped the team get their fifth win of the season, 17-10, over the Vandals.

Following the crucial victory, head coach Doug Martin said, “I’m really proud of our defense, they stepped up and we really needed that today. I just couldn’t be happier for this football team because our guys are resilient and they have believed in themselves all year. As I told them, it’s a one game season now.”

Saturday’s contest opened in the Aggies favor when NM State (5-6, 3-4 SBC) linebacker Leon McQuaker intercepted a pass from Idaho (3-8, 2-5 SBC) quarterback Mason Petrino which was brought back to the NM State 45-yard line.

Five plays later, Larry Rose III broke off for a 25-yard rush to the end zone to give the Aggies a 7-0 lead just 4:41 into the game.

The strong defensive play continued on the next drive after Idaho had to bring in freshman quarterback Colton Richardson to replace an injured Petrino. On the third play of the drive, NM State defensive back Shamad Lomax forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Idaho 23.

Just 1:12 later, Rose III took a carry on a fourth-and-one three yards into the end zone to extend the Aggies lead to 14-0.

NM State looked to add three points to their lead before the end of the first quarter but a 29-yard field goal attempt was blocked to keep the team’s lead at two scores heading to the second.

On a fourth-and-four for the Vandals, a defensive pass interference gave Idaho a new set of downs on the NM State side of the field. The Aggie defense continued to play strong and held the Vandals to a 41-yard field goal attempt which went off the right upright to hold Idaho scoreless.

A third-down pass for NM State looked to move the chains for the team but a forced fumble after the completion gave the Vandals the ball at the NM State 44-yard line. This turnover resulted in points for Idaho when a 25-yard touchdown pass cut the Aggies lead in half, 14-7, to end the second quarter.

The special team’s woes continued for NM State in the second half when a 33-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Two series later, Idaho split the uprights with a 34-yard field goal of their own to make the Aggies lead 14-10 at the 7:00 mark.

Each defense stood tall on the remaining drives to close out the third quarter allowing NM State to maintain its four-point lead. Then to open the fourth and final quarter, Dylan Brown was able to nail a 23-yard field goal and put the Aggies up 17-10 with 12:29 remaining.

The Aggies continued to stifle any hopes of a comeback for the Vandals with strong defensive play. This culminated with Jaden Wright intercepting a final heave for the end zone by the Vandals and the clock ticked down to zero.

This victory puts NM State one win away from bowl eligibility and the team looks for that sixth win in the final game of the regular season when they host South Alabama on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2:30 p.m. MT in Aggie Memorial Stadium.

NOTABLE
- The victory over Idaho marked the highest season win total for the Aggies in the Doug Martin era (5).
- With win number five, NM State recorded the most wins since 2004.
- This win over the Vandals moved the Aggies win streak at home over Idaho to four games.
- NM State set a game-high for the program with eight sacks. This tops the previous high of eight set against Angelo State (Sept. 26, 1987).
- With 11 sacks against the Vandals, NM State set a new season-high for sacks with 35. The previous high was 33 for the team in 1999.
- Leon McQuaker recorded his first career interception as an Aggie.
- For the third-straight game the Aggies scored on their first possession. This was also the fourth time they have done so in the last five games and fifth time all year.
- With Jaden Wright’s game-ending interception that gave the team 14 on the year which topped the 2016 total of 13.
- Larry Rose III recorded his ninth career game with multiple rushing touchdowns and third against Idaho.
- Bryce Roberts set a season-high in catches (2).