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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggies dominate in first ever Wednesday night game

Leah De La Torre
Quarterback Diego Pavia prepares to throw the ball. Oct. 4, 2023.

In their first Wednesday night game in program history, the New Mexico State football team dominated against the Florida International University Panthers 34-17. Going into the game, the Aggies’ offense was ranked second in Conference USA with 435.8 yards per game. NMSU now needs to win four out of their next seven games to become eligible to play in a bowl game for the second year in a row. 

In their first possession, Diego Pavia connected with Chris Bellamy for a 24-yard gain and created momentum for the offense to finish a 76-yard drive with a touchdown. The Aggies closed it out in 11 plays with an 11-yard pass to Bellamy for the 7-0 lead.  

The Panthers quickly responded with a 7-play touchdown drive, to tie it 7-7.  

After the Aggies punted and the Panthers turned it over on downs, the Aggies got the ball back and went straight to work offensively. 

A 12-yard pass to junior Trent Hudson got the Aggie offense rolling and after a huge 49-yard touchdown pass from Pavia to redshirt sophomore Jordin Parker to retake the lead at 14-7.  

When the defense got back on the field, what would’ve been a crucial sack was overturned due to a penalty and allowed the Panthers to get into the red zone and eventually tie it up at 14-14. 

The Aggies attempted to add another touchdown to the scoreboard before the half but were unable to get down the field.  

Heading into the third quarter and riding their momentum, the Aggies kept the offense going strong when Pavia hit Hudson for a 25-yard gain followed by a 13-yard run from junior Star Thomas to get back into the red zone. NMSU settled for a field goal from kicker Ethan Albertson to regain the lead 17-14. 

NMSU’s defense held the Panthers to a 41-yard field goal, deadlocking both teams at 17-17. 

As the third quarter ended, a huge run down the sideline by running back Monte Watkins set the Aggies up in nice field position. 

Outside linebacker Buddha Peleti charges against FIU Panther. Oct. 4, 2023. (Leah De La Torre)

In the first play of the fourth quarter, Pavia broke free into the open field and turned on the jets for a 43-yard touchdown run. The drive was a lightning fast 75-yards in just over a minute in only 3 plays to go up 24-17.  

The offense continued to make a statement after Bryce Childress made the contested catch for 26-yards. Watkins kept this momentum going with 32-yard run to put the Aggies back into the red zone. The Aggies ended the drive with a 3-yard touchdown rush from Thomas furthering their lead to 31-14. 

The Aggies saw another opportunity after sophomore Keyshaun Elliot popped the ball up off a tip into the hands of Andre Seldon for an NMSU interception and touchback. The Panthers remained steadfast on defense and forced three and out on the Aggies.  

FIU attempted to keep the ball away from NMSU’s secondary before redshirt junior safety Torren Union made a diving catch for the pick. The Aggie Offense focused on running the clock as much as they could before being forced to send a punt back over the struggling Panthers’ offense.  

The Aggies remained in control of the game, ran out the clock and ended with another Albertson field goal to finish the game 34-17.  

Pavia finished the game 20-31 with 256 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and retained his completion percentage of 65 and a rushing touchdown. On the rushing side, Monte Watkins led the team with 89 rushing yards and Pavia was right behind him with 69 yards. The defense kept the Panthers from scoring the entirety of the fourth quarter and finished with 10 tackle for losses, seven sacks and two interceptions.  

Head Coach Jerry Kill reflected on the team’s performance and how their plan will continue in conference play.  

“We played the way I want to see [a] Jerry Kill football team play.” Kill said. “I think we’re getting closer. Defense, offense helped each other out and then our special teams were solid tonight. It’s not exactly where I want to be — but we’re learning.”  

The Aggies will remain at home and host Sam Houston State University on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Coverage will be streamed on CBS Sports Network.  

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About the Contributors
Kaden Martinez
Kaden Martinez, Staff Writer
Kaden Martinez is entering his first year at The Round Up as both a staff and a sports writing intern. This is his first time writing for a local publication (or any publication for that matter!). He is also entering his first year as a freshman majoring in Cybersecurity with a minor in Computer Engineering. Since his dad is in the military, he has moved all around New Mexico, having lived in Albuquerque, Springer, Maxwell, and finally Rio Rancho where he graduated. He is the oldest of three siblings. Kaden has always enjoyed writing, whether it was school related or as a hobby. He decided to become a member of The Round Up both to broaden his horizons and step out of his comfort zone by trying something new. Some of his interests include exercising, playing sports, video games, TV shows, and movies.
Leah De La Torre
Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sewing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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  • AnonymousOct 7, 2023 at 12:49 PM

    Fantastic! …..GO ACGIES!

  • C

    Colin RossOct 6, 2023 at 12:48 PM

    What an insightful article!