It wasn't the way Pierce wanted to end his career and it was done without much fanfare. The Aggies blew a 12-0 halftime lead and lost 34-25.
Still, Pierce completed 21-of-35 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown pass. He also had a rushing touchdown. The 6-foot-1 Pierce finished third in total offense at NMSU, fourth in passing yards, tied for seventh in touchdowns passes and first at the school in yards per attempt.
And the Gasquet, Calif., native did so by missing several games due to injury during his time in Las Cruces. On Saturday he was hurt again, injuring his right shoulder early in the fourth quarter on a vicious hit.
But Pierce plugged on and attempted to lead NMSU to a come from behind win. But it wouldn't be. His interception late in the game sealed the win for Utah State and his shoulder wasn't in the best of shape. The ball had little zip it seemed.
"Buck wanted to help us win it, he's a competitor, we'll miss him," Aggie head coach Tony Samuel said. "He was hurt early in the fourth quarter and I didn't think he'd come back, but he did. That tell you something."
Pierce was clutching his right arm after Saturday's game in obvious pain. But the loss hurt worse for Pierce, whose determination throughout his career was an indication of what he represents on and off the field.
Pierce will graduate in May, but he holds out pro football aspirations.
"Playing at the next level is something I've thought about," said Pierce earlier in the week. "But if it doesn't happen, I have other options. I'll miss my time in Las Cruces. It's been fun. We've accomplished some good things. It was tough at times with the injuries, but I've been healthy for the most part this year and we ended well. I hope the program can build on what we did the last part of this season."
The Aggies won 3 of 4 down the stretch to finish 5-6, but Pierce and NMSU wanted more. For a guy like Pierce, too bad he doesn't have any more games remaining and didn't have a chance to have a little more success
NMSU 2004 Senior Class:
37 Glover, Richard LB
34 Muro, Robert IB
14 Williams, Preston WR
70 Vincent, Matthew C
13 Scaffidi, Carl TE
16 Smith, Steven P
39 Sylvestre, Beau LB
99 Leslie, Cole TE
3 Jacobs, Dominique DB
46 Dorisme, Aubrey RE
63 Subia, Steve OG
82 Scaffidi, Greg RE
50 Vincent, Clay C
19 Holland, Johnathan DB
30 Ocampo, Simon LB
11 Pierce, Buck QB
68 Propst, Glenn OC