Louisiana Tech missed three field goals in the first half. The 24th-ranked Bulldogs had no big runs or passes, and carried a slim lead into the locker room.
Colby Cameron and Co. picked it up in time to earn a landmark win for the school.
Cameron passed for a touchdown and ran for a score in the third quarter, helping Louisiana Tech beat New Mexico State 28-14 on Saturday night for the Bulldogs' first victory as a ranked team.
"We did what we had to do to win," coach Sonny Dykes said. "It wasn't a real pretty game. Anytime you go on the road and come out with a win, it's a good game."
New Mexico State lost two fumbles and Andrew Manley threw an interception, damaging the Aggies' chances of springing the upset.
Cameron tossed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Myles White and had a 2-yard TD run after Louisiana Tech led 7-0 at halftime. Ray Holley extended the lead to 28-0 with a career-long 83-yard run in the fourth.
The slow start was quite the contrast to last week, when the Bulldogs rolled up a school-record 839 yards of offense in a 70-28 victory against Idaho.
"I guess we are human," said Cameron, who completed 29 of 44 passes for 292 yards. "It was kind of like a gut check to us that we need to get better."
Louisiana Tech (7-1, 2-0 WAC) has won consecutive games since its only loss of the season against Texas A&M. It's hoping to remain in the Top 25 for consecutive weeks for the first time in school history.
Safety Chad Boyd, whose interception in the fourth quarter led to a touchdown, said the defense was glad it stepped up on a night the offense was struggling early on.
"It's a confidence booster," he said.
Holley had 130 yards rushing for the Bulldogs, who failed to win a game as a ranked team in two previous tries.
Louisiana Tech was No. 25 when it lost to Southern California in 1999. The Bulldogs weren't ranked again until this season, when they were No. 23 when they lost 59-57 to Texas A&M.
Louisiana Tech continued its streak of breaking records Saturday when Ryan Allen recorded a school-record 85-yard punt in the first quarter.
But it was the lowest scoring total for the season for the Bulldogs, who host UTSA in their next game.
New Mexico State (1-7, 0-4 WAC) has dropped seven consecutive games. This will be the 52nd consecutive year that the Aggies failed to make it to a bowl game.
Aggies coach DeWayne Walker said despite the loss, he was pleased NMSU's defense was able to slow down Tech's high-powered offense. Walker said the team feared giving up 70 points and focused on stopping the running game.
"No question this was our best defensive game played this year," Walker said. "We definitely didn't want to be part of the 70 club."
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