(Courtesy: New Mexico State Athletics)
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - An 8:00 p.m. kickoff and the threat of inclement weather could not keep those longing for college football away from Aggie Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. 23,371 fans came flooding through the gates to see NM State (0-1) take on Nevada (1-0, 0-0 Mountain West) for the dawn of a new era in Las Cruces.
College football after dark returned with a vengeance when lightning struck within an eight-mile radius of Aggie Memorial Stadium, forcing fans to evacuate for a brief 35-minute delay. All throughout the lengthy first quarter, the NM State defense looked stellar, allowing just nine yards.
The Jerry Kill era-scoring began in the only way fitting for the former Big Ten Coach of the Year. With 13:38 remaining in the second quarter, an errant snap sailed over the head of the Nevada quarterback, resulting in a safety for the Aggie defense.
From there, the Wolf Pack controlled the remainder of the first half. After leading the FBS in turnover margin in 2021, Nevada picked up right where they left off, forcing four turnovers in the first half.
With eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, Kill turned to true freshman quarterback Gavin Frakes.
The decision immediately paid dividends as Frakes found Justice Powers for 67 yards on his first collegiate completion.
Frakes capped off his first drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kordell David, cutting the deficit to eight.
With fifteen minutes left to play, the Aggies were within one score. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Nevada split the uprights from 34-yards out. Later in the quarter, Ethan Albertson notched his first field goal of the season, connecting from 46-yards out.
With time winding down, Nevada connected on its second field goal of the quarter – This time from 38-yards away. The third Wolf Pack field goal of the night proved to be the final dagger, putting Nevada up by 11.
Looking for a miracle, Frakes and company began to work, marching down the field.
After connections to David, Jonathan Brady, and Jordin Parker, the late attack came to a screeching halt with an interception in the end zone and just 32 ticks left on the clock.
One final kneel from the Wolf Pack sealed the NM State fate as the Aggies fell to 0-1 to start the 2022 campaign.
The Aggies will head to Minneapolis on Thursday night to take on Minnesota (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) in another nationally televised contest. Kicking off at 7:05 p.m. MT, the game will air on the Big Ten Network. Like always, Jack Nixon and Cory Lucas will have the radio call for NM State.
For complete coverage of NM State football as the Aggies prepare for year one under head coach Jerry Kill and his staff, visit NMStateSports.com - the official home of NM State athletics - and follow the Aggies on Facebook (NM State Football), Twitter (@NMStateFootball) and Instagram (@NMStateFootball).