The New Mexico State football team erased a 12-game road losing streak and notched their first victory over a BCS team since a 35-7 upset of Arizona State in 1999.
The much-maligned Aggie defense came up big in several critical situations on Saturday stopping the Golden Gophers three times on fourth down, twice in the fourth quarter and forced a pair of turnovers including an interception deep inside the red zone in the second quarter. The Aggies' fourth down stands began in the first half as they held the Gophers on a 4th and 1 at the Aggie 40-yard line. The Aggies then stopped the Gophers on a 4th and 1 at the Aggies' 1-yard line and the final fourth down stop coming with eight seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory.
The Aggies won the coin toss and elected to receive and took immediate advantage as they started from their own 40-yard line and marched down the field on six plays as Robert Clay rushed three times for 18 yards and Andrew Manley went 3-for-3 for 42 yards including the 26-yard touchdown strike to put the Aggies up 7-0 after the extra point.
The two teams traded punts on their next possessions but the Gophers would put together a 10-play, 88 yard drive to tie the game at 7-7. Lamonte Edwards punched in a four-yard run for the score.
The Aggies would be forced to punt on the ensuing possession and Minnesota would take over on their own 43 and drive down to the Aggie 12-yard line but linebacker Alexander Lavoy would leap in the air and deflect a pass attempt from Gopher quarterback MarQueis Gray. Fellow linebacker Boyblue Aeolua would catch the deflection in the end zone for a touchback.
The Aggies would capitalize on the turnover as they marched 80 yards on three passes by Andrew Manley, the first a 22-yard completion to Todd Lee followed by a 17-yard completion to Robert Clay and the third a 41-yard touchdown strike to Taveon Rogers.
The momentum would continue to reside on the Aggie side as the defense would return the ball to the offense after stopping Minnesota on 4th and 1 at the Aggie 40 yard line. The offense would capitalize on the stop as they drove 58 yards on eight plays capped by a four-yard bullet pass to David Quiroga to put the Aggies up 21-7 over the stunned Gopher squad.
The Aggie defense would force a 3-and-out by the Gophers but on the ensuing drive Manley would be picked off by defensive back Troy Stoudermire, however, the Aggie defense would rise up again as Ben Bradley picked off MarQueis Gray on the Gophers' very next play from scrimmage.
The Aggies would take over and drive down to the Gopher 31 but on 4th and 1 the Aggies would elect to attempt the field goal which was unsuccessful. The Gophers would take over on their own 48-yard line with 51 seconds left in the first half and would put together a six play 69-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Gray to Collin McGarry to cut the Aggies' lead to seven at 21-14.
Coming out of halftime the Aggies would hold on to their touchdown advantage as Max Shortell would take over at quarterback for the Gophers on the first series. Shortell would lead the Gophers down to the Aggie 21-yard line but they would miss a field goal attempt.
The two teams would trade punts on each teams' next two possessions and the Aggies would get the ball back with 5:00 left in the third quarter at their own six yard line. Robert Clay would burst through the middle for a 14-yard gain to get the Aggies out of the shadow of their own goal posts. The Aggies would convert a critical 3rd and 1 as Kenny Turner would rush for two yards but fumbled the ball, however, tight end Trevor Walls would recover the ball keeping possession with the Aggies. The Aggies would drive down to the Minnesota 13-yard line and on second down it would appear that the Aggies' drive would be halted by an interception, however, pass interference was called on the play giving the Aggies' second life. Robert Clay would sprint to the wide side of the field on second and two to put the Aggies up by two touchdowns at 28-14.
Minnesota would take over with 31 second remaining in the third quarter and would drive 10 plays and 68 yards down as Gray would complete a four-yard touchdown pass to DaJon McKnight to cut the Aggies' lead to just a touchdown at 28-21 with 11:47 left to play.
On the Aggies' ensuing drive, Manley would be intercepted on 3rd and 7 at their own 23 and Minnesota would take over on the Aggies' 33 yard line. The Gophers would immediately advance the ball driving down to the Aggie eight yard line. On 3rd and goal from the five, Gray would scramble to his left and scamper into the end zone for the apparent game-tying touchdown, however, the play was reviewed and Gray was found to have stepped out at the one-yard line. With their backs to the wall on 4th and 1, the Aggie defense would stuff Lamonte Edwards at the goal line and the offense would take over with 7:27 left to play.
The Aggie offense would put together a 12-play, 53 yard drive to flip the field position but would be forced to punt after the drive stalled at the Minnesota 46 yard line. The Gophers would take over on their own 11 with just 2:02 left on the game clock. Minnesota would drive all the way down to the Aggie 25-yard line and with 20 second left, Gopher head coach Jerry Kill would suffer a seizure on the sidelines. After a lengthy delay, Kill would be carted off the field and placed in an ambulance and sent to the hospital. With the Aggie defense once again needing a stop, MarQueis Gray's pass would be batted around and fall incomplete on 4th and 10 sealing the victory for the Aggies.
The offense would take over with eight seconds remaining to play and quarterback Andrew Manley would kneel down as the Aggies lined up in the victory formation.
With the win the Aggies improve to 1-1 on the season.
Manley finished the game 20-for-31 for 288 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes to nine different receivers with Taveon Rogers leading the way with four catches for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Just one week after rushing for only six yards as a team, the Aggies racked up 133 yards on the ground as Robert Clay ran 20 times for 97 yards and one touchdown. Victor Johnson rushed eight times for 27 yards. The Aggies out gained the Gophers 421-419 and had 25 first downs to the Gophers' 22.