The NM State football team held a strong offense at bay for the first 15 minutes, jumping out to an early 7-0 lead only to see Nevada respond by taking the next 52 points of the game in a 55: 28 setback for the Aggies on Saturday night was scored at Mackay Stadium.
In return, NM State (1-6) QB Jonah Johnson completed 38 of 62 passes for 425 yards and three passes. Johnson also added a rushing score for the fourth quarter. Johnson was the first Aggie since Josh Adkins to throw over 400 yards in a contest. Adkins threw 402 yards against Liberty on October 6, 2018.
Offensively, five Aggies recorded at least five catches, including real freshman PJ Johnson III. Johnson had five catches for 49 yards and his first career to touchdown, and Senior Jared Wyatt took six Johnson passes for 64 yards and a score.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Jonah Johnson brought the Aggies 44 yards over the field on the game’s opening drive. Jared Wyatt was a popular target for the Aggies’ caller, who was able to catch two balls for 22 yards on the first two turns of the game. On the ground, it was Juwaun Price who got NM State off to a strong start by adding a 16 yard scamper on the visitors’ first drive. Though Ethan Albertson missed a 47-yard field goal to top NM State’s drive, the Aggies didn’t have to wait long to get the ball back.
In the second game of Scrimmage’s Wolfpack, Caleb Mils caught Nevada (4-1) quarterback Carson Strong. That pick gave the ball back to NM State, Nevada Territory. Aided by a 15-yard foul by the hosts, NM State drew first blood when Johnson scored Wyatt with 8:59 to go for a 19-yard touchdown.
Nevada managed to crack the Aggies’ lead when Brandon Talton scored a 41-yard field goal with 1:41 to go. The result was the only one the Aggies would allow in the first half, as NM State held the high-flying Nevada offensive to just eight yards overall for the first 15 minutes.
In a role reversal, it was NM State who fought on the offensive in the second quarter. After limited to less than 10 yards for the first 15 minutes of play, Nevada chewed 46 yards during the first two drives of the second to take the lead once and for all. Strong, a predicted top 10 pick in April’s NFL draft, topped off a 50-yard drive with three games and a 16-yard touchdown throw against Toa Taua. The result gave Nevada a 10-7 advantage with 12:34 in the first half of the game. In the end, Strong completed 25 of 32 passes for 377 yards and six scores. The interception of Aggie was only the third of the season for the QB.
Overall, the Wolfpack scored touchdowns on four of its five drives in the second quarter, while Nevada racked up 265 yards in the second quarter. All four of the hosts’ scoring drives were 50 yards longer as Nevada took the lead 31-7 at halftime. After the Aggies touchdown on their second drive of the game, NM State punted or flipped the ball on each of the next 12 drives.
The Wolfpack continues in the third quarter and starts with touchdown drives of 75 and 79 yards. Nevada increased their lead to 52-7 when Berdale took the ball away from Robins Wyatt, who had picked up a five-yard reception from Johnson at the Aggies 25-yard line. Robins ran the ball back for a 25-yard touchdown.
The Aggies continued to struggle in the fourth quarter when Johnson led three different touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. The first was a 91-yard, seven-game series that ended with an 18-yard touchdown catch from Terrell Warner at 13:57.
After the Aggies forced a punt in Nevada, Johnson crowned a quick 75-yard drive with four games with a 34-yarder to PJ Johnson. The score shortened Nevada’s lead to 52-21 with 9:33 to play.
Nevada added a final field goal (42 yards) at 3:17 to take a 55-21 lead before Johnson crowned a final touchdown drive with a one-yard score that put the Aggies at 55-28 .
COACH SPEECH (HC DOUG MARTIN):
“Our boys have no end, especially offensive. We finished the game well, but overall we didn’t play well enough on offense in the first half to give Jonah a chance. We really only have poor pass protection and run blocking played. ” . We were defensively inferior. But our boys are playing hard again. We certainly have to deal with various personnel problems. The right side of our offensive line was a constant problem. We’re a little young in this one guard place, but we’ll look at that in the open week. I thought some of our young boys have stepped up. Ron Vann played very well for us too, which was good to see. Jonah played really well for us. He threw over 400 yards and three touchdowns and then another on the floor. And he ran for his life sometimes. It’s hard to play quarterback when you’re hit like that. Everything looks like pressure when your offensive line is struggling. For the compulsion he was under, I thought he played pretty well. ”
In the upcoming open week:
“Our boys need some time and we will take a few days off so they can relax emotionally and physically. We give our boys some time to regroup.”
After their first of two weeks of goodbye, NM State takes the long trip to Hawaii to complete a rare home-and-home series with the Rainbow Warriors. The second showdown between NM State and Hawaii in 2021 is slated to begin two weeks from tonight (October 23) at 10:00 p.m. MT.