(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
DALLAS, Texas - One day removed from Conference USA announcing all-league awards, the Aggies are collecting honors of the highest order within the conference as CUSA released its player of the year awards on Wednesday morning.
The league office has named quarterback Diego Pavia the CUSA Offensive Player of the Year.
The award was based on a vote of the league's nine head coaches.
Following an incredible back half of his debut season with the Aggies, Pavia, has taken his game to an entirely different level during his junior campaign.
Entering the Isleta New Mexico Bowl, the Albuquerque, N.M., native is one of just eight players in all of college football to lead his team in passing and rushing this season.
On the year, Pavia is among the best in the conference in nearly every statistical category related to passing while his rushing stats also rank among the best running backs in the league.
Thus far, here is how the Aggie leader's stats stack up against CUSA:
2nd in passing efficiency – 153.9 (25th nationally)
2nd in passing yards per completion – 13.9
2nd in yards per pass attempt – 8.55 (21st nationally)
3rd in passing yards – 2,915
3rd in passing TDs – 26 (14th nationally)
3rd in completion percentage – 61.6%
3rd in rushing yards – 851
3rd in in rush yards per carry – 5.4
3rd in points responsible for – 192 (18th nationally)
4th rushing TDs – 6
4th in rushing yards per game – 60.8
4th in total offense – 269.0 ypg
5th in completions per game – 15.0
With 14 games under his belt, Pavia has thrown for over 200 yards in eight games this season while rushing for over 75 yards in four games.
In total, Pavia has led the Aggies in passing in all 14 games while also leading the team in rushing yards in six tilts this year.
The former New Mexico Military Institute walk-on has developed into one of the nation's most prolific playmakers and that was on full display several times this season. In the Aggies' first win of the season, Pavia connected with eight different receivers for a total of 317 yards and two touchdowns. Later in the season, Pavia returned to his hometown of Albuquerque and put on a show for his friends and family – throwing for 203 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 96 yards to lead the Aggies to their second straight win over New Mexico.
After rushing for nearly 100 yards once again at Hawai'i, Pavia returned to Aggie Memorial Stadium where he completed a then career-high 20 passes in a win over FIU. Pavia followed this performance with a stellar showing against Sam Houston in which he accounted for 401 yards of total offense (286 passing, 115 rushing) in a win over the Bearkats.
Pavia then guided the Aggies to a win over their rival from El Paso, Texas, as he threw a pair of touchdowns while rushing in another two against UTEP.
Amid the Aggies' nine-game win streak, Pavia also commanded the Aggie offense in a dismantling of SEC power Auburn. Against the Tigers, Pavia finished 19-28 for 201 yards and three touchdowns to lead NM State to the program's first win over an SEC institution.
The following week, Pavia completed a career-high 23 passes for 269 yards and one touchdown to push the Aggies past the Gamecocks of Jax State in the final home game of the season.
Additionally, with 147 rushing yards and 85 passing yards in the New Mexico Bowl, Pavia would become just the ninth player in FBS college football history to rush for 1,000 yards and throw for 3,000 yards in a single season – joining dual threat quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Jalen Hurts, Jayden Daniels, Johnny Manziel, Vince Young, Colin Kaepernick, Dan LeFevour, Jordan Lynch and Lamar Jackson who accomplished this feat twice during his career at Louisville.
In his tremendous career with the Crimson and White, Pavia currently ranks ninth all-time in program history in passing yards with 4,365 to his name.
Pavia is also one of just two quarterbacks in the Aggies' history to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in his career – joining K.C. Enzminger who captained the Aggies from 1998-2001 and compiled 5,416 passing yards and 1,360 rushing yards during his career.
In total, Pavia ranks third in rushing yards by an Aggie quarterback with 1,359 across 26 games.
This number is also good for 22nd all time in program history among all players. Pavia is also just 43 rushing yards from moving into the top 20.
With the all-conference distinction, Pavia becomes just the ninth player in Aggie history to earn an individual all-league award and just the third player to win an conference's offensive player of the year award – joining Denvis Mans who was named Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 1998 and Larry Rose who earned Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2015.
Pavia will look to cap off his tremendous season on Saturday, Dec. 16, when he leads the Aggies against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Isleta New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M.
This will be Pavia's second appearance in a bowl game as he threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 65 yards to lead the Aggies to a win over Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, Mich.