Open Announce Photo/Marshall Saiz

Utah State Gets past UNM 27-10

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a game where New Mexico was at least the equal to Utah State on offense and on defense, Utah State’s specials teams won them the game as the Aggies used a fake field goal for a touchdown to take a 14-10 lead on the way to a 27-10 win, handing UNM its sixth straight loss and dropping UNM to 2-7 overall and 0-5 in the Mountain West.  Utah State moved to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in the Mountain West.

The loss eliminated UNM from bowl possibility.

The Lobos lost despite moving the ball well on offense, particularly on the ground as UNM broke the 200-yard mark on the ground for the first time since the season opener when UNM had 267 against Maine.  However, UNM entered the fourth quarter down 17-10 and the strong wind, which should have been in UNM’s favor in the fourth quarter, switched.  Instead, UNM had to drive into a fierce wind, and a pouring rain to score, and it was not meant to be.

The Lobos held a 10-7 lead at the break, the third time this season in five Mountain West games that UNM led at halftime.  Utah State got the ball first but a UNM made a pair of costly mistakes that allowed Utah State to go 88 yards for an opening second-half touchdown.

The first was a late hit by Cody Moon after UNM had forced a three-and-out to open the half.  Instead of punting at the 10-yard line, it gave Utah State a first down.  Then after stopping the Aggies on third down at the 6-yard line, the Aggies faked the field goal attempt with kicker Connor Coles running in from six-yard out.

It was that fake, along with a host of other special teams miscues and errors that led to UNM’s downfall.  The game opened with a mistake as Luke Wysong caught the opening kickoff and instead of immediately taking a knee, he moved laterally and inadvertently stepped into the field of play, forcing UNM to start the game at its own 1-yard line.  UNM went three-and-out and a punt into a fierce wind went to just the Lobo 43-yard line.  The Aggies scored on their second play when Cooper Legas hit Terrell Vaughn from 38 yards out.  That was Utah State’s only offensive touchdown of the game.

Utah State also got a field goal in the third quarter after Jer’Marius Lewis fumbled a punt that was going over his head.  UNM also allowed a first down on a fake punt, although UNM held later in that drive.

New Mexico answered that opening score to take the lead into the half.  Luke Drzewiecki hit a 31-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3, and then UNM put together a 74-yard touchdown drive, with Nate Jones scoring on a rush around the left side, just squeezing inside the pylon for a 10-7 lead.  UNM had another long drive at the very end of the half, but Drzewiecki’s 52-yard field goal was just wide to the right at the end of the half.

Down 20-10 late in the game, Utah State put an exclaimation point on the game.  The Lobos had moved the ball into Utah State territory with just over three minutes to go, trying to set up an onside-kick.  However, Holaday was sacked by AJ Vongphachanh, and Hunter Reynolds scooped the ball up and went 55 yards for the final score of the game.

The Lobos stay on the road, facing the Air Force Falcons at 1:32 pm on Saturday in Colorado Springs.  The Falcons are coming off a 13-7 win over Army that clinched them their first Commander’s in Chief Trophy since 2016.

Postgame Notes


This was the 29th meeting between the two teams.


Utah State now leads the series 16-13

Utah State now leads the series 9-4 in Logan

New Mexico leads the series 9-7 in Albuquerque

Utah State has won six straight in the series and three straight in Logan


Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep

Offense: Connor Witthoft started as a second tight end for WR Geordan Porter

Defense: Bryce Santana started at NT for Jake Saltonstall, who moved over to start at end for Justin Harris. Donte Martin started at CB for Bryson Taylor. Jer’Marius Lewis started at WOLF for Ronald Wilson.


*New Mexico’s captains were Jerrick Reed, Isaak Gutierrez, Jake Saltonstall and Radson Jang.

*New Mexico’s Bryce Santana carried the state flag of New Mexico onto the field and George Steinkamp carried the United States flag.

*New Mexico won toss and elected to receive. It marked the 26th time in Danny Gonzales’ 28 games that UNM received the opening kickoff.



*New Mexico’s 24-yard touchdown run ended a string of 12 straight quarters without a touchdown and 36 straight drives without a touchdown.

*One game after Fresno State went 10-for-16 on third down, Utah State went just x-for-xx

*Utah State converted a fake punt in the second quarter and it was the first fake run by either UNM or its opponent.  They later converted a fake field goal for a touchdown.

*New Mexico was outscored in the third quarter 10-0, meaning UNM has now been outscored 77-3 in the third quarter of its eight FBS games.

*UNM recorded four sacks in the game and a season-best 8.0 TFLs.

*UNM did not record a takeaway in the game.  UNM hasn’t won a game when it gets zero takeaways since October 15, 2016 in a 45-40 win against Air Force in Dallas, Texas at The Cotton Bowl.



*Luke Drzewiecki ran his consecutive made field goals streak to seven in a row with a 31-yard make in the first quarter.  That streak ended when he missed a 52-yarder to end the first half.

*Nate Jones’ 24-yard second quarter touchdown run was his second TD of the season.

*Jones rushed for a career-high 146 yards.  It was the first time a Lobo hit the 100-yard mark in the game, and it was his first career 100-yard game.  His previous best was 96 yards against Hawai’i in his first career game as a true freshman on November 7, 2020.

*Jones had a 43-yard run in the third quarter, a career-long.

*Cody Moon and Dion Hunter tied for the team lead in tackles with nine each, and Moon now has the team lead for the season with 70.

*Tyler Kiehne, Xavier Hailey and Christian Ellis all recorded their first career tackles in the game.

*Chad Alexander made his first career start, giving UNM an FBS-high 48 starters used this season.