LAS CRUCES – NM State erupted for 23 fourth-quarter points, capitalizing on some late UTEP turnovers, and beat the Miners 44-35 on Saturday afternoon at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The Aggies (2-9) won their second consecutive game while topping UTEP (1-10) in the Battle of I-10.
The teams combined for 42 points in the wild final period. But after the Miners went ahead 22-21 on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Kai Locksley to Jacob Cowing with 14:55 remaining, the Aggies scored 16 unanswered points to pull in front 37-22.
Locksley had a career game with 358 yards passing and 103 yards rushing. But his interception and fumble in the fourth quarter led to 10 critical points for the Aggies.
The first half was a showcase for NMSU’s Jason Huntley, who rushed six times for 167 yards including runs of 39, 53 and 57 yards. NM State took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter on Huntley’s 39-yard touchdown run. The Miners tied it up early in the second quarter on Treyvon Hughes’ 12th rushing touchdown of the season, an 11-yard dash into the end zone.
UTEP took its first lead when Gavin Baechle converted a 34-yard field goal with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter. They extended their advantage to 13-7 on a 21-yard field goal by Baechle with 1:29 on the clock. But the Aggies regained the lead as Huntley busted loose for the 53-yard rushing score shortly before halftime.
The third quarter was relatively uneventful as Baechle converted his third field goal and Huntley picked up his third rushing TD of the game. NMSU held a slim 21-16 lead heading into the final period.
After the Miners went ahead for the last time, quarterback Josh Adkins led the Aggies on a nine-play, 69-yard drive and found Tony Nicholson for a seven-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, but NMSU led 27-22 and wouldn’t trail again.
Locksley’s first turnover of the game, an interception into the hands of Rashie Hodge, Jr., led to a 53-yard field goal by the Aggies’ Dylan Brown. Then, on the next series, Locksley was sacked, the ball was pried loose and Matthew Young returned it 19 yards for a TD and a 37-22 lead.
The Miners tacked on a couple of late touchdowns but weren’t able to get closer than eight points.
UTEP racked up a season-high 557 yards of offense to NMSU’s 441. Adkins threw for 175 yards for the Aggies, and Huntley rushed for 191 yards.
Justin Garrett had 101 receiving yards for UTEP and Hughes went over 1,000 yards rushing for his career, finishing with 60 yards on the ground.
The Miners will conclude the 2019 season at home against Rice on “Senior Day” next Saturday (Nov. 30) at 1 p.m. Fans can receive one youth ticket (ages 12 and under) for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets, starting at $12, are available by calling 747-5234 or by going online.
Gallery by Ruben R. Ramirez | Video Clips by Johnny Yturales – El Paso Herald Post | Video Highlights by UTEP