NMSU Football Falls At Louisiana 66-38

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAFAYETTE, LA - The New Mexico State football team traveled to Lafayette, La. to take on Louisiana at Cajun Field on Saturday. The clash with the former Sun Belt foe saw an offensive outburst for both teams end with the Aggies not able to close the gap as they fell to the Ragin’ Cajuns, 66-38.

Louisiana (3-3) opened the game with the first score on the game’s opening drive. On 3rd & 10 at midfield, the Ragin’ Cajuns found an open receiver over the middle who took off for the 50-yard score that put NM State (2-5) behind 7-0 just 2:10 into the contest.

After a three-and-out on the Aggies first drive, the opposition was able to increase the deficit for NM State on the next series. Another third down, this time on 3rd & 12, the Ragin’ Cajuns saw a 30-yard pass find the end zone to put the Aggies down 14-0.

NM State lucked out to open the next drive when Louisiana’s kick traveled out of bounds to start the Aggies with the ball at their own 35-yard line. The Crimson & White took advantage of the good field position when Josh Adkins found an open Jason Huntley with a pass and then the running back put on the burners and took off for a 51-yard score as the deficit stood at 14-7.

The next series for Louisiana saw the team put more points on the board as the NM State hole grew. On 3rd & 8, the Ragin’ Cajuns saw a pass to the flat turn into an 11-yard touchdown that put the Aggies behind 21-7.

Jason Huntley then looked to shift the momentum on the kick return when the speedster saw a hole in the defense and turned that into an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown. This score brought the Aggies within one score, 21-14.

The deficit increased on the Ragin’ Cajuns next drive. A double-reverse on 2nd & 15 saw Louisiana make the play into a 79-yard rushing touchdown. This was the final score of the opening quarter and NM State trailed 28-14.

To open the second quarter, Louisiana looked to put NM State behind even more. The fifth-straight scoring drive saw the Ragin’ Cajuns use a 31-yard rushing touchdown to put the Aggies down 35-14 with 12:30 left in the half.

After an NM State punt, Louisiana used its next drive to get back on the board. A first down play saw the Ragin’ Cajuns find the back of the end zone on a 22-yard touchdown pass and the Aggies now trailed 42-14.

The Aggies were able to respond on their next drive to slow down the Ragin’ Cajuns. On 3rd & 7, Adkins scrambled out of the pocket and found a wide open Johnathan Boone across the middle and a roughing the passer flag set NM State up with a 1st & Goal at the six-yard line. Then back-to-back three-yard rushes saw Christian Gibson get into the end zone for the score to put the Aggies deficit at 42-21.

Before the first half ended, Louisiana moved down the field and got into the red zone. The opposition used a 31-yard field goal with 11 seconds left to put NM State behind 45-21 as the teams headed to their locker rooms at halftime.

Looking to close in on the Louisiana lead, NM State used its first drive of the second half to put more points up on the scoreboard. After driving all the way down to the Louisiana eight-yard line, three straight incomplete passes brought up 4th & Goal. Dylan Brown then came out and split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal to put the score at 45-24.

The Aggie defense then came up strong on the Ragin’ Cajuns first drive of the third quarter, forcing the opposition to punt for the first time in the game. NM State then capitalized on the next series. The team got the ball on the Louisiana side of the field after Huntley broke off a 31-yard rush all the way to the 36-yard line. Then on 3rd & 8 from the 11, Gibson moved the chains on a nine-yard rush and the Aggies sat two yards away from the end zone. On 1st & Goal, Gibson got the carry again and saw a two-yard rushing touchdown put the Aggies deficit at 45-31.

Louisiana then tried to change the second-half momentum NM State had grabbed with its next series. A defensive pass interference gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a new set of downs at the NM State 33. Two plays later saw Louisiana draw up a screen on 3rd & 8 that turned into a 31-yard passing touchdown to expand the opposition’s lead to 52-31.

The Aggie offense continued to roll on their next series that lasted into the start of the fourth quarter. On 3rd & 20, NM State completed a pass by the sidelines and a facemask penalty set up a 1st & 10 at midfield. A 31-yard completion to Huntley set the ball up for the Aggies in the red zone before Gibson got the ball on third down and rushed in from 11 yards out to bring the score closer at 52-38.

This 14-point hole expanded for NM State after Louisiana’s next drive ended with a score. On third down, the Ragin’ Cajuns handed the ball off and the play ended with a 36-yard rushing touchdown as NM State trailed 59-38.

The Crimson & White looked to close in on the next series, but a strip sack gave the Ragin’ Cajuns the ball back at the NM State 40-yard line. Louisiana capitalized on the turnover with a nine-yard rushing score and the Aggies fell behind 66-38 with 9:48 remaining.

To close out the game, Louisiana was able to get the ball back and run out the clock. Despite the Aggies forcing a turnover with a fumble recovery, the time on the lock was not enough to mount a comeback and NM State fell to Louisiana 66-38.

New Mexico State now looks to rebound for its home game next weekend against Georgia Southern on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. MT inside of Aggie Memorial Stadium.

NOTABLES
- Jason Huntley’s kickoff return touchdown was the third of his career and first since his 100-yard return score in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl against Utah State on 12/29/17.
- The kickoff return score was Huntley’s second against Louisiana as he recorded the first of his career against the Ragin’ Cajuns with a 97-yard return touchdown on 11/18/17.
- Christian Gibson became the first Aggie with three rushing touchdowns in a game since Larry Rose III did so against New Mexico on 10/3/15.
- Jason Huntley’s 112 receiving yards were a new career-high for the Aggies and first time an NM State running back has had over 100 yards receiving since Huntley put up 111 against Appalachian State on 10/7/17.