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Lobos Down Aggies in Wild Rivalry game 55-52

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 (9/21/2019) Football vs. New Mexico State (2019)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a game that at times defied logic, and featured brilliant plays after brilliant plays, it came down to a fourth down battle of wills, and New Mexico’s will won out.  Ahmari Davis leaped over a pile of lineman on fourth-and-inches with just over two minutes on the clock at the Aggie 37-yard line and picked up 17 yards to seal a wild 55-52 win for the Lobos.  The win pushed UNM to 2-1 on the season and dropped New Mexico State to 0-4.
The game featured plenty of offense as the two teams combined for 107 points, the second-most ever in the rivalry (the record is 113 back in 1917), and the seventh-most in UNM history.  The game was also Lobo Scorigami, as it was the first 55-52 game in the history of the program.  UNM has now won two straight in the Rio Grande Rivalry, presented by Nusenda Credit Union, and six of eight overall.
UNM found themselves down 38-34 in the third quarter when Josh Adkins slung a pass to Tony Nicholson for a 3-yard touchdown, Nicholson’s second score of the game.  It was one of three TD passes by Adkins, who also ran for three, becoming just the third quarterback in the FBS this season to rush for three scores and throw for three in the same game.
UNM went to work after that, methodically moving down the field on what ended up as a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.  The final 20 came from Jordan Kress, who caught his second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard pass from Tevaka Tuioti.  It was one of three touchdowns for Tuioti, who threw for a career-high 355 yards.

After Kress made it 41-38, the Aggies had a chance to tie, but Devin Sanders blocked Dylan Brown’s 44-yard field goal attempt, getting just enough of it to have it fall short.  That play turned huge when Tuioti hit Cedric Patterson III on the sidelines, and he outraced everyone for his second career catch and first career touchdown.  That made it 48-38, and after an errant third down snap forced New Mexico State to punt, UNM’s offense went to work again.  The key play on the drive was Tuioti hitting a free Elijah Lilly for 29 yards down to the 16-yard line.
After a fumble that Tuioti fell on, UNM got a break on a face mask penalty, and Daevon Vigilant made the Aggies pay with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 55-38.  However, New Mexico State didn’t quit.  It answered with a 4-yard pass to Jason Huntley with 737 to go, and then after an interception, Adkins scored his third rushing TD of the day with 5:22 left and it was 55-52.
UNM’s offense wouldn’t let the Aggies touch the football again.  Tuioti twice kept the ball on zone reads for first downs of 18 and 11 yards, putting the ball across midfield.  Bryson Carroll then rushed for four but lost nine on the next play, and UNM faced third-and-15 at midfield.  Tuioti then faked a rush and hit Anselem Umeh, who stretched for what looked like a first down with just 2:12 to go, but the ball was ruled just short of the line to gain on a replay review.
Undaunted, acting coach Saga Tuitele went for it at the 37, and Davis leapt the line, and then rumbled to the 20-yard line.  On the next play, needing one more first down to clinch the game, Davis got hit at the line and a veritable rugby scrum ensued.  When it was finally over, Davis had 11 yards and a first down, and UNM had its 72nd Rio Grande Rivalry win.

UNM got on the board on the second play of the game when Jerrick Reed II intercepted Adkins and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown.  Reed was making his first career start.
NMSU scored twice to take a lead at 14-7, but UNM tied with when Davis scored from two yards out.  The Lobos then matched every score for State.  The Aggies got a 33-yard field goal, and UNM answered with an Andrew Shelley 48-yarder.  NMSU scored to make it 24-17, but Kress tip-toed the sidelines for a 55-yard touchdown.  UNM looked like it would have a 31-24 lead at the break when Davis scored with 1:07 to go, but NMSU went the length of the field, helped by a 53-yard catch and run to tie the game at 31-31 with two seconds left, setting up the wild finish.
Postgame Notes:  New Mexico 55, New Mexico 52

This was the 110th meeting between the two teams.
New Mexico now leads 72-33-5
New Mexico now leads 43-15-2 in Albuquerque
New Mexico leads 29-18-2 in Las Cruces
New Mexico has now won two in a row in the series
New Mexico has now won one in a row in Albuquerque
Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep
Offense: Chris Estrella started at left guard for David Zavala.  Elijah Lilly started at slot for Jay Griffin IV
Defense: Jacobi Hearn started at Rush for Dylan Horton.  Adebayo Soremekun started at defensive end for Erin Austin.
*New Mexico’s captains were Alex Hart, Aaron Blackwell, Kyle Stapley and Trent Sellers
*Andrew Shelley served as New Mexico Man and carried the state flag onto the field.  It was the first career honor for the former walk-on.
*New Mexico won the toss and elected to defer.  UNM kicked off defending the North goal.  UNM is now 1-2 on the coin toss.
*UNM’s touchdown on an interception return by Jerrick Reed II was UNM’s first pick-six since Marcus Hayes returned an interception 60 yards by Marcus Hayes, against New Mexico State last year.
*The game was tied 31-31 at the half.  It’s the first time in the 110-game history of the rivalry that both teams scored at least 30 points in the same half.

*The game was the second-highest combined score in Rio Grande Rivalry history.
113           NMSU 110, UNM 3 11/24/1917
107           UNM 55, NMSU 52 9/21/2019
87              UNM 56, NMSU 31  10/22/1994
85              UNM 61, NMSU 24  9/6/1997
83              UNM 66, NMSU 17  10/5/2013
82              UNM 61, NMSU 21  9/8/1984
81              NMSU 42, UNM 39  9/12/1992
80              UNM 66, NMSU 14  10/23/1982

*The game was the seventh-highest combined score in New Mexico football history
113           New Mexico State 110, New Mexico 3                Las Cruces 11/24/1917                                                                                                                                
111           Fresno State 94, New Mexico 17                           Fresno, Calif. 10/5/1991
109           Boise State 60, New Mexico 49                             Albuquerque 11/8/2014
108           New Mexico 108, Northern Arizona 0                  Albuquerque 11/11/1916
108           Colorado State 66, New Mexico 42                      Albuquerque 11/16/2013
107           New Mexico 55, New Mexico State 52               Albuquerque 9/21/2019                                                                                   
107           Utah 58, New Mexico 49                                         Salt Lake City, Utah 11/9/1985
99             Air Force 73, New Mexico 26                                 Albuquerque 11/14/1987
98             UNLV 56, New Mexico 42                                       Albuquerque 9/28/2013
96             BYU 49, New Mexico 47                                          Provo, Utah 9/24/1994
96             New Mexico 57, Utah 39                                         Albuquerque 11/6/1971
*UNM had a 100-yard rusher for the second time in three games.  Last year UNM had just one game with a 100-yard rusher.
*Other than the kneel downs at the end of the game, UNM had just two negative yardage plays on offense.
*UNM still hasn’t allowed a sack this season on 97 pass attempts.
*Jerrick Reed II intercepted Josh Adkins’ first pass and took it for a 43-yard touchdown. It was his first career start and his first career interception.
*Ahmari Davis’ had two rushing touchdowns, giving four on the season and eight in his career.  Of those eight, six are against New Mexico State.  He also had a career-high 133 yards rushing.
*Jordan Kress’ 55-yard toe-tapping catch on the sidelines and subsequent touchdown was the first of his career.
*Andrew Shelley hit two field goals, from 48 and 49 yards. He is now 13-of-14 on field goals in his career, and his six field goals are one fewer than he has all last year.
*Tevaka Tuioti threw for 300 yards against an FBS opponent for the first time in his career.  His previous career-high total was 327 against Incarnate Word last year on September 1, 2018.  He finished with 355 yards, and over 400 yards in total offense with his 59 yards rushing.
*Kress had UNM’s first 100-yard receiving game since Jay Griffin IV had 110 yards receiving at San Diego State on November 24, 2017.
*Devin Sanders blocked Dylan Brown’s 44-yard field goal attempt, UNM’s first blocked field goal since Stanley Barnwell, Jr., blocked a Boise State field goal attempt on November 16, 2018.
*Tyson Dyer averaged 59.5 yards per punt on two punts.