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NMSU puts 58 on Western Illinois to grab first win of the season

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- NM State Aggies defeated Western Illinois 58-21 on Saturday in front of 17,943 at Aggie Memorial Stadium to secure their first win of the season.

It was a win that was expected considering the Leathernecks went 0-11 last season in FCS, but it didn't always look comfortable for NMSU.

On the opening drive of the game the Aggies worked it downfield, leaning heavily on the run game before Star Thomas ran it right up the middle for a touchdown. That gave NMSU a 6-0 lead.

On Western Illinois’ opening drive of the game the Aggie defense forced them to go three-and-out and it looked like this game would be a one sided contest.

But Diego Pavia on the next drive would get sacked on third down, stalling any form of momentum for NMSU.

Late in the first quarter, NMSU put in Eli Stowers on second and goal. Stowers would punch it in for a 4-yard touchdown to give NMSU a 13-0 lead.

Western Illinois would find pay dirt off a 5-yard TD pass from Matt Morrissey Jaylin Jackson.

The Aggies would move the chains off the back of Pavia but once again brought in Stowers in the red zone. This time the A&M transfer pitched to Ahmonte Watkins on third down for a 5-yard TD.

With 5 seconds left in the half the Leathernecks would rush it in for another TD off Ludovick Choquette.

The Aggies led 20-14 at the half but completely dominated the second half out-gaining Western Illinois 435 to 85 yards in the second half and scoring five touchdowns.

Diego Pavia found Bryce Childress for a 75-yard touchdown pass. Pavia also found Jonathon Brady for an 80-yard touchdown pass. While Eli Stowers threw a 63-yard pass to Jordin Parker. Thomas found his way into the end zone again in the second half, while Makhilyn Young also punched it in from three-yards out.

Diego Pavia threw 16 of 20 and had 317 yards and two TDs with the one sack and no interceptions while Eli Stowers completed one of his two passes for 63 yards and ran the ball four times for 15 yards and one touchdown.

In total NMSU had 650 yards and seven different players scored a touchdown. 380 yards came in the air and 270 on the ground. Unlike last week they also didn't have any turnovers and quarterback Diego Pavia got sacked once. While the defense this week had three sacks, they are still yet to force a turnover through two games of play.

NMSU will take a lot of confidence out of this game as they get ready to play at Liberty for their first game in Conference USA on Saturday, Sept. 9th. The Aggies will be without defensive back Dylan Early for a half after he was ejected from Saturday's game for targeting.

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Sam Harasimowicz

Sam Harasimowicz is a reporter, producer and one of the anchors of ABC-7’s weekend evening news programs


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