The Aggie defense would force a Louisiana punt on their next series and the Aggie offense drove 52 yards on two plays down to the Louisiana 28 yard line only to fumble the ball away. The Aggie defense stood tall forcing a three and out by the Cajuns. The Aggies then drove 82 yards on 10 plays and with 2:23 left in the first quarter the Aggies broke their 8 quarter touchdown-less streak to tie the game at 7-7.
The Aggie defense then forced another three and out and the Aggies put together an 8 play 37 yard drive for their second touchdown of the evening. The extra point was missed and the Aggies led 13-7. The Cajuns would then answer with a touchdown of their own to back on top 14-13.
The Aggie offense then put together another impressive drive going 69 yards on 8 plays only to have HB Justine Buries fumble the ball on the 11 yard line of the Cajuns. The Cajuns would capitalize on the turnover putting together a 14 play 89 yard drive to take a 21-13 lead into the half.
The Aggies received the ball to start the 3rd quarter and promptly drove 60 yards to score a touchdown. The Aggies went for two but a false start followed by an incompletion left the Aggies down 21-19. The Aggie defense then forced the first of three 3rd quarter Cajun fumbles. The Aggies took the ball 24 yards and score their second touchdown of the quarter, were successful on their two point conversion to go ahead 27-21.
The Aggies would then force another fumble which the Aggies turned into another touchdown. The Aggies went for two and again were successful to go ahead 35-21. The Aggies would force their third fumble of the quarter but then gave the ball right back on a long interception thrown by Buck Pierce. The Aggies took a 35-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Aggie defense would bend but not break in the fourth. Giving up 11 fourth quarter points but holding on for the 35-32 victory.
There were several keys to the game on Saturday night but the biggest had to be the fact that the Aggies were able to run the ball effectively.
Rushing for 210 yards on the night they also scored four of their five touchdowns on the ground led by Muammar Ali who rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns Also key was the Aggie defense's ability to force turnovers. Coming into the game the Cajuns had only fumbled once in their first five games but lost three fumbles in the third quarter and if not for a poor call by officials would have lost a fourth.
Finally, Tony Samuel's decision to go for two on all three 3rd quarter touchdowns proved to be the deciding factor in the game. The Aggies were successful on their final two attempts and those four points proved to be the deciding points in the game. Even though the Aggies won 35-32 it could have easily been a blowout win by the Aggies.
The Aggies had three drives that ended inside the Cajun 30 yard line and none of those three drives produced any points. If the Aggies want to win the conference those are the kind of opportunities the Aggies must capitalize on.
The Aggies have bye this week and have to be feeling much better about themselves after getting blown out in their previous two games. The road for the Aggies does not get any easier.
After the bye week the Aggies travel to Denton to face North Texas. UNT is unbeaten in league play at 2-0 and for the third straight year the UNT/NMSU game will prove to be the key to determining the Sun Belt conference championship.
The Aggies are currently tied for second place in the conference with Troy but hold the head to head tiebreaker having beaten Troy in their first conference game. Two other teams, ULM and Arkansas St. have only one league loss but ULM still has games at North Texas and at Middle Tennessee and does not figure to be a factor in the conference race.
Arkansas St. is coming off a 45-17 beating at the hands of Middle Tennessee and still has games against Troy and North Texas. Middle Tennessee has two conference losses already and is most like out of the conference race as no team with two conference losses has ever won the Sun Belt title.
Troy and North Texas figure to have the easiest remaining conference schedules and they do not face each other this season. The Aggies face North Texas in two weeks, come back for homecoming against Florida Intl. followed by Middle Tennessee at Aggie Memorial then finish off the season with trips to Florida Atlantic and Utah State.