New Mexico State takes down New Mexico behind Pavia in 27-17 win
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State quarterback Diego Pavia threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns and he added another 96 yards on the ground to spark the Aggies to a 27-17 win over rival New Mexico on Saturday.
New Mexico State (3-1) held a 20-10 lead until Andrew Erickson caught a touchdown pass for the Lobos (1-2). But the Aggies immediately responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Pavia to Jonathan Brady to restore a 10-point advantage at 27-17.
“I think the big play of the game was after they went down and scored, we hit them on a post for a touchdown to Brady and I think that really hurt,” said New Mexico State's offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Tim Beck. “They had just put a nice drive together and had just scored and we answered on the very next play, so a great job by the offensive line. The offensive line played the best game they have up to this point.”
This is the second straight win in the series for New Mexico State, who got 54 rushing yards and touchdown from Star Thomas.
Dylan Hopkins threw for 247 yards and a score for New Mexico and Jacory Croskey-Merritt had 83 rushing yards with a score.
The game was relatively clean, with just one turnover, but it was a big one in the first quarter with the Lobos up 3-0.
Aggies safety Myles Rowser hit New Mexico running back Sherod White after a seven-yard gain to the New Mexico State 10, forcing a fumble that Dylan Early recovered.
“The fumble was huge because after the fumble, we went down and scored,” Beck said. “Great job of getting the turnover. Those are so important.”
Lobos coach Danny Gonzales said it was one of the game’s turning points.
“They made more plays that we did,” he said. “That play that hurt us obviously. We had the opportunity to drive down there and go up 10-0 in the first quarter. Give them credit, they made a nice play and got a turnover."
Despite the loss and New Mexico’s lack of recent success — its last bowl appearance was in 2016 — Gonzales said the team will still make some noise this season.
“I’m going to make a bold statement right now,” Gonzales said. I guarantee this team will be in a bowl game this year. We will find five wins from here to the Utah State game.”
A brawl at least year’s game in Las Cruces, New Mexico, months later led to a campus shooting by an Aggies basketball player that killed a New Mexico student in the early morning hours of the schools’ first of two basketball games.
Both games were ultimately cancelled and relations between the school remained strained for many months before both agreed to resume play amid increased security on both campuses.