(Saturday, December 3rd)
Final Score: Utah State 24, New Mexico State 21
Las Cruces, NM (Sports Network) - Adam Kennedy tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Matt Austin with 35 seconds to play, as the Utah State Aggies rallied for a 24-21 win over the Aggies of New Mexico State in the Western Athletic Conference finale at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Kennedy threw for 123 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Austin. Michael Smith powered the ground game with 121 rushing yards as Utah State (7-5, 6-2 WAC) secured its fifth straight win to close out the regular season. The Aggies are headed to the postseason for the first time since 1997.
Matt Christian threw for 252 yards and accounted for two touchdowns for the host Aggies (4-9, 2-4), although he also had a pair of interceptions.
After a scoreless first quarter, Kennedy got Utah State on the board with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Robert Turbin at the 8:52 mark of the second quarter.
Two minutes later, New Mexico State answered when Christian scrambled 16 yards into the end zone to tie the score.
Utah State took a 14-7 lead into the half, as Kennedy found Austin for a six- yard scoring strike with 1:39 remaining in the first half. However, USU's offense then went cold until its final fourth-quarter drive.
New Mexico State tied the score on its first play from scrimmage in the second half, as Christian tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Kemonte Bateman.
Neither team would score again until the 9:46 mark of the fourth quarter, when USU kicker Josh Thompson made a 23-yard field goal to cap a 15-play drive and give the visitors a 17-14 lead.
New Mexico State answered with a couple of big plays and drew a pass interference penalty, which set up a three-yard touchdown run by Kenny Turner to give the Aggies a 21-17 lead with eight and a half minutes remaining.
However, Utah State would have the last laugh. Kennedy capped a 13-play, 83- yard drive with his game-winning touchdown pass to Austin in the final seconds.
Utah State was able to control the tempo, rushing for 392 yards (5.4 ypc) en route to a 16-minute edge in time of possession for the game.
12/03 19:52:11 ET