Open Announce Photo/Marshall Saiz

Big Plays Propel Aztecs over New Mexico 34-10

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — San Diego State used a few big chunk plays to take control late in the first half on the way to a 34-10 win over New Mexico, handing the Lobos an eighth straight loss.  The Aztecs for the moment remained alive for a possible Mountain West title game berth.

The game was UNM’s senior night game as the team honored 12 seniors prior to the game.

The Lobos were without starting quarterback Justin Holaday due to injury and turned to freshman C.J. Montes, who played well in his first extensive action of the season.  Montes went 15-for-23 for 112 yards, all career-high numbers.  He entered the game with one pass attempt on the season.

San Diego State jumped ahead 7-0 when Jalen Mayden found Mekhi Shaw who was all alone behind the defense for a 53-yard touchdown.  The Lobos were able to answer, putting together a 74-yard touchdown drive.  The key play on the drive was a career-long 51-yard run by Nate Jones.  Montes ended the drive by pulling the ball on an option play and bolting in from five yards out for a game-tying score.

It stayed that way until the second quarter when another long pass play, this a 63-yard pass play that looked like it would be stopped for a short gain on third down, set up a 1-yard run by Jaylon Armstead to make it 14-7.  The Aztecs then took advantage of a special teams bobble when Isaiah Perez’s snap back to Aaron Rodriguez never made it back to him as one of the upbacks moved into the path of the snap.  The Aztecs took over in UNM territory and scored to make it 21-7 when Mayden hit Shaw for a 30-yard touchdown.

UNM scored to end the half when the Lobos drove in a two-minute drill into field goal range and Luke Drzewiecki hit from 39 yards out.

SDSU scored on its opening drive of the second half as Kenan Christon went around the right end on fourth-and-1 and scored from 49 yards out for a 28-10 lead.  Jack Browning’s two second half field goals of 30 and 39 yards made it 34-10. The Lobos could never answer in the second half, picking up just one first down, and that came on a face mask penalty in the fourth quarter.

UNM now heads to Colorado State to take on the Rams in the season finale on Friday at 1:32 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Postgame Notes


This was the 44th meeting between the two teams.


San Diego State now leads the series 29-15

San Diego State now leads the series 14-7 in Albuquerque

San Diego State leads the series 14-8 in San Diego

San Diego State leads the series 1-0 in Carson

San Diego State has won nine straight in the series and four straight in Albuquerque.


Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep

Offense: C.J. Montes started at QB for Justin Holaday, Tre Hall started at receiver for Duece Jones and Radson Jang started at tight end for Connor Witthoft

Defense: Kyler Drake started at end for Justin Harris; Jer’Marius Lewis started at left wolf for Ronald Wilson


*New Mexico’s captains were Reco Hannah, Isaak Gutierrez, Jerrick Reed II 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 28th time in Danny Gonzales’ 30 games that UNM received the opening kickoff.



*The temperature at kickoff was 30 degrees.  It was the second-coldest home game in school history, behind only the November 13, 1976 game against BYU, which was just 28 degrees at kickoff.

*C.J. Montes’ start at quarterback gave UNM 50 different starters for the season, and that is the most in the FBS this year.

*The Lobos picked up a fourth-down stop on fourth-and-1 for SDSU at the Lobo 30-yard line, ended a streak of 10 consecutive made fourth down conversions by Lobo opponents dating back to the third quarter against LSU on September 24.

*UNM honored 12 seniors prior to the game.

*New Mexico didn’t score a touchdown in the second half for the eighth straight game.  The Lobos over the course of the streak have been outscored 159-12 in the second half.

*The Lobos lost their 23rd consecutive November game.  The last November win came on November 26, 2016 when the Lobos defeated the Wyoming Cowboys and Josh Allen 56-35, a win that clinched a share of the Mountain Division title.

*New Mexico was 0-for-11 on third down.  It marked the first time that UNM was held to zero third-down conversions since going 0-for-7 against Wyoming in a 36-30 win on November 29, 2014.  That game UNM ran just 39 plays to Wyoming’s 94.

*UNM had just 26 yards of offense in the second half.



*C.J. Montes scored his first career touchdown on a 6-yard first quarter run.

*Nate Jones’ 51-yard first quarter run was the longest of his career.  It also was UNM’s longest run of the season and the longest run allowed by SDSU this year.

*Radson Jang started at tight end one week after starting at center.

*Trae Hall had a career-high four catches for a career-high 57 yards.

*C.J. Montes set career-highs for completions (15), attempts (23) and yards (112).

*Luke Drzewiecki made his ninth straight field goal from inside 50 yards, hitting from 39 yards out at the end of the first half.

*Jerrick Reed had a career-high 15 tackles on the night, including two for loss.

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