NMSU sputters in huge loss

Using a proficient running game and aggressive defense, the New Mexico Lobos dominated New Mexico State 38-3 Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies fall to 1-3 on the season, New Mexico 2-2.

D.D. Cox ran for three touchdowns and 110 yards, and New Mexico shut down New Mexico State's stagnant offense in a 38-3 win Saturday night.

The Lobos (2-2) had no trouble beating the Aggies (1-3) for the 29th time in the last 36 games, but this win could be costly for a team that takes on No. 14 Utah next week.

Lobo halfback DonTrell Moore, the leading rusher in the Mountain West Conference, left the game early in the third quarter with a strained ligament in his left knee.

Moore, who last year rushed for a single season school record of 1,450 yards, was hit while trying to field a punt and was carted off the field moments before Cox's third score gave the Lobos a 24-0 lead with 9:02 left in the third quarter.

Cox, who had rushed for just 50 yards in the Lobos' first three games, also scored in the first half on runs of 10 and 1 yard. Before Moore was injured, the duo took turns running through huge holes in the Aggies' defensive front. Moore had 92 yards on 17 carries.

New Mexico's defense was equally tough.

New Mexico State had 1 yard of offense in the first quarter and two first downs and 41 yards in the first half. The Aggies didn't get a first down until the 12:05 mark of the second quarter and finally crossed midfield on a run by Justine Buries on the final play of the third quarter.

That drive enabled the Aggies to avoid the shutout, with Ryan Guardia's 27-yard field goal with 12:41 left in the game.

The Lobos led 17-0 at halftime after Wes Zunker hit a 23-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half.

Zunker's field goal was set up by an 18-yard run by Moore to the NMSU 35 and a 23-yard run by quarterback Kole McKamey.

The Lobos' lead would have been larger if not for the Aggies' first interception of the season _ by Shukree Shabazz _ on a pass into the end zone by McKamey intended for Hank Baskett.

The 38 points was the most the Lobos put up in Aggie Memorial Stadium since a 56-31 UNM win in 1994 and the 35-point margin of victory was the biggest for the Lobos in Las Cruces in the 95-game history of the rivalry.

One week removed from one of the more impressive wins in school history — a 22-18 upset of the Troy Trojans — the Aggies appeared outplayed at best, under prepared at worst. The Lobos tallied 409 yards in offense, compared to 124 for the Aggies and the men in the cherry and silver played keep away much of the night, edging the time of possession war by a 37:28 to 22:32 margin.

The 321 rushing yards was the most rushing yards plastered on the Aggie defense all season. Cox had rushed for only 50 yards for the Lobos through three games this season, but carried the ball a game-high 25 times for a 4.4 yards-per-carry average Saturday.

The Aggies will have to find a way to rebound next week with another emotional rivalry game against the University of Texas-El Paso Miners in the Sun Bowl. Unfortunately for the Aggies, this game will mean even more as it has been designated a Sun Belt Conference game.

"This has got to be a quick turnaround," Ocampo said of preparing for the Miners.

If its not, the Aggies can likely kiss a successful 2004 campaign goodbye.

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