The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggies dominate offensively in first win of the season

David Castañeda
Running back Jamoni Jones maintains his distance from the WIU Leathernecks. Sept. 2, 2023.

New Mexico State football is back on track after defeating the Western Illinois University Leathernecks    58-21 after recording 650 total offensive yards. Following a season opening loss to the University of Massachusetts in which they struggled to cohesively perform, the Aggies found their groove on both ends of the field.  

The Aggies got off to a hot start on their opening possession when junior running back Star Thomas found the endzone through a gaping hole in the Leatherneck defense for a 20-yard touchdown to put the Aggies on the board.  

After picking up six points on offense, NM State’s defense quickly responded by forcing a three and out. The Leathernecks then returned the favor forcing the Aggies to punt the ball and return possession.  

Following a series of punts WIU and a touchdown by New Mexico State, both teams traded touchdowns on the next four possessions of the second quarter. The Aggies led 20-14 at halftime. 

“We had a lot of youth mistakes and things that showed up,” head coach Jerry Kill said in the post-game. “We got to grow some kids up and grow some players up, and we’re going to do that from week to week and just keep getting better.”  

The second half began with the Leathernecks gaining possession of the ball. However, NMSU’s defense continued where they left off in the first quarter and once again forced a three and out. On the Aggies first possession of the third, junior quarterback Diego Pavia led the offense down the field which resulted in a 37-yard field goal by redshirt senior Ethan Albertson to put the Aggies up 23-14.  

The Leathernecks offense continued to struggle in the third quarter. Then after picking up a first down on their second possession, WIU quarterback Matt Morrissey was sacked by outside linebacker Buddha Peleti and defensive tackle Gabriel Iniguez for a loss of 8 yards. Western Illinois was then forced to punt the ball right back to the Aggies. The Aggies then regained possession as their offensive efforts continued to overpower their opponent.  

Pavia started to find his rhythm and moved the chains that led to a quick 75-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior Bryce Childress. This gave the Aggies a comfortable 30-14 lead midway through the third quarter.  

Quarterback Diego Pavia passes the ball to wide receiver Trent Hudson. Sept. 2, 2023 (David Castañeda)

Riding their momentum, NM State kept their foot on the gas and continued to push forward. On their next possession, Pavia threw his second touchdown pass of the quarter to sophomore Jonathan Brady on a one play drive that went for 80 yards. NMSU extended their lead to 23 points and were up 37-14. 

On the next drive, the Aggies defense was down a man after safety Dylan Early was disqualified from the game for targeting. Early was already in the hotseat during the second quarter when a flag was thrown for a possible targeting call. However, after the officials reviewed the play, the call was reversed. However due to NCAA rules, Early will not be allowed to play in the first half of next week’s game.  

Up front, we did OK, but we struggled in the secondary in some things,” coach Kill said. “The youth has showed up a little bit. We have to get some corrections made and move forward.” 

Following the penalty, the Leatherbacks found the endzone on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Morrissey to Donald McKinney to cut the lead 37-21. 

Tempers flared during the fourth quarter when two sets of offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties were called on both teams. The Aggies scored 21 unanswered points and finished the game with a 58-21 win.  

“I think we proved we have some playmakers,” coach Kill said. We got the ball down the field. We have a lot of speed on the edge, but we still made some mistakes. …but the bottom line is we scored enough points to win. That’s all that matters.”  

New Mexico State will now travel to Lynchburg, Virginia to take on Liberty University Saturday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. for their first Conference game of the season.  



Facebook Comments
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Victor Fierro
Victor Fierro, Sports Writer
Victor Fierro is starting his first year with The Round Up as a staff writer. He is currently a senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Sports Marketing. He developed a passion for writing when he was in high school. His main goal is to become a play-by-play announcer for an NBA team. Victor loves to write game stories for all sports including basketball and football. Victor hopes working for The Round Up will help him grow as a person and a journalist.
David Castañeda
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

Comments (0)

All NMSU Round Up Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *