(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - For the second time in less than a week, the NM State football team took the field. After boarding a plane and heading north to Minneapolis, the team looked to upset Minnesota, a team receiving votes in both major Top 25 polls. The Golden Gophers were up to the challenge, taking down NM State 38-0.
Throughout the week, news stations around the country flocked to the storyline of head coach Jerry Kill's return to Minnesota, where he coached from 2011-2015.
"You know, it was a surreal moment. I've never been the same since leaving Minnesota and I never will. So the people that don't like me or are disgusted with me or whatever it is, that didn't change the way way I feel about this place," stated an emotional Kill. "This place was great to me. The community was great to us."
Kill and company received the opening kickoff but didn't get the Midwestern welcome they were looking for.
Each of NM State's four drives in the first half ended with a Josh Carlson punt.
The redshirt junior from Gilbert, Arizona tallied 150 yards off of punts in the first half.
Through 30 minutes, the Aggies mustered just two first downs and 49 yards of total offense, led by 14 yards of rushing by Diego Pavia. Both Pavia and Gavin Frakes saw time at quarterback, combining to go 2-6 through the air for just ten yards.
Defensively, Dylan Early led the way with seven tackles in the opening half while Bryce Jackson, Donovan King, and Chris Ojoh all recorded at least five stops.
The NM State defense bolstered it's strong stand in second half as eight players – Jackson, King, Ojoh, Early, Devlin Kirklin, Andre Seldon, Nick Giacolone, and Trevor Brohard – each finished with five or more tackles. Taylor Milton and Josh Ferguson each received partial credit for a tackle-for-loss in the second half.
NM State's offense appeared to finally be clicking as the Aggies drove down the field, highlighted by a 34-yard completion from Frakes to Justice Powers. Coming into Thursday's action, Powers led all FBS players, averaging 37.0 yards per reception.
Nonetheless, Minnesota's stout defense proved to be too much for an Aggie team that continues to try and find its footing.
Last season, Minnesota finished with the third-ranked defense in America, trailing just Wisconsin and eventual national champion Georgia.
News and Notes
- The Aggies mustered just two first downs and 49 total yards of offense in the first half, including just ten through the air.
- Once again, both Diego Pavia and Gavin Frakes saw time at quarterback with Frakes playing the final three quarters. The duo combined for 53 yards on four completions.
- Frakes connected with Justice Powers for a 34-yard completion as NM State's longest play of the night.
- Eight different Aggies recorded at least five tackles in the game with Bryce Jackson leading the way with nine.
- Jackson has led NM State in tackles in both games this season, totaling 17 on the year.
- NM State recorded a single tackle-for-loss in the contest - Taylor Milton and Josh Ferguson both received credit for 0.5 TFL.
- It was NM State's first time being shutout in a game since November 26, 2011 against Louisiana Tech.
- Running back Mohammed Ibrahim finished with his 10th consecutive 100+ yard rushing effort. Ibrahim finished with 132 total yards on the ground.
- Each of Minnesota's five touchdowns came via the rush.
- Tanner Morgan completed 13 of 19 pass attempts for 174 yards
- 11 separate receivers caught a pass for Minnesota.
- The Aggies fall to 1-3 in the all-time series against Minnesota.
- Chris Ojoh and Lazarus Williams represented NM State at the coin toss.
- Minnesota won the toss and elected to defer. The opening kickoff resulted in a touchback.
- Crowd - 44,012
- Time of Game: 3:03
- The Aggies fall to 0-2 on the season. Next Contest: Saturday, September 10 at UTEP (0-1, at No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday)
After a few additional days of rest, the Aggies will make the short trip down Interstate 10 to take on UTEP in the Sun Bowl.
The game is slated for a 7:00 p.m. MT kickoff on Saturday, September 10.