ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Tyler Rogers threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns for New Mexico State and the Aggies defense caused four turnovers Saturday night to beat New Mexico 30-28.
The Lobos (1-1) made it close in the fourth quarter, scoring 23 straight points behind backup quarterback Tekava Tuioti, but Aggies defensive back Javahn Ferguson knocked down the potential tying 2-point conversion attempt.
”Man that was stressful,” said Rogers, who completed 34-of-57. ”Wow, what a game. The defense held in there. It was an exciting game. It feels good to get the win and that’s all you can ask for.”
New Mexico State (1-1) forced a Lobos fumbles on the second play, then went 42 yards in five plays, with Rogers hitting OJ Clark for a 30-yard score. New Mexico returned a fumble on the PAT attempt, but that 6-2 score was as close as it would get until the waning minutes.
Izaiah Lottie had two touchdown catches and 98 yards receiving for the Aggies.
New Mexico State’s defense limited the Lobos’ running game, which led the country in rushing a year ago at 350 yards per game, to just 176.
”Even though they were not contained, being able to pressure them I thought was key,” said Aggies coach Doug Martin. ”We did a great job of attacking their space early on. It was a great effort by our defense. Our defense couldn’t have done that even a year ago.”
Chris Davis had 81 yards on eight catches and a fourth-quarter touchdown for New Mexico, while Jay Griffin IV had a receiving and rushing touchdown in the comeback attempt. Tuioti finished 10-for-19 for 151 yards and two touchdowns after coming in midway through the third quarter.
”There’s no sting in losing,” Lobos coach Bob Davie said. ”The sting is when you don’t play as well as you’re capable of playing. That’s the sting.”
THE TAKEAWAY: The Aggies looked like the far more prepared team after a tough, season-opening test against Arizona State a week ago.
”What the ASU game did last week was it convinced our kids that they could play,” Martin said. ”Particularly the defense. They really took some confidence from that game. I think it’s the first time that we played one of those power conference teams and our kids after the game were actually frustrated and disappointed that they didn’t win the game. .Confidence-wise, it certainly helped us.”
Meanwhile the Lobos struggled for a half before finding some rhythm against Abilene Christian last week.
”Certainly we started leaking some oil against Abilene Christian, offensively,” Davie said. ”It just didn’t look like us.”
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: ”We kind of pulled off the throttle a little bit,” Rogers said. ”We wanted to play safe, conservative and it kind of bit us in the butt a little bit.”
UP NEXT: New Mexico plays at Boise State on Sept. 14. The last time the Lobos played in Boise in 2015, the Lobos came away with a rare 31-24 victory. The Broncos own an NCAA-best 103-6 home record since 2000.
New Mexico State plays to host to Troy on Sept. 16 in both teams Sun Belt Conference opener. The Trojans have a 3-1 record against the Aggies.
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