Aggies Fall Short to Utah State 32-30

Logan, Utah - Aggie redshirt freshman quarterback Paul Dombrowski led the New Mexico State defense to a touchdown in the waning seconds, but couldn't complete a possible game tying 2-point conversion as New Mexico State saw its 5-game winning streak come to an end with a 32-30 defeat.

New Mexico State falls to 6-4 overall and faces North Texas next week in Denton for the Sun Belt Conference title. Utah State improved to 3-6. New Mexico State rallied from down 23-10 at the half, but still trailed 32-24 with 5:06 left in the game.

Ty Gifford came up with a big play for the Aggies, returning Utah State's punt from his own 11-yard line to the Utah State 47 yard line. It was the first punt of the game for Utah State.

That's when Dombrowki went to work, driving the Aggies 47 yards in 10 plays, the final coming on a 1-yard run by Dombrowski with 19 seconds left on the clock.

Dombrowski then scrambled to his right threw, but couldn't make connections with backup tight end Chris Gocke in the end zone. Utah State recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

In a game played in alternating snow, rain and sometimes-dry conditions, the Aggie offense struggled at times, but had 421 yards in total offense.

The Aggie defense allowed a season high 481 yards. Utah State quarterback Jose Fuentes, playing in his final home game, completed 27 of 41 passes for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns. Utah State also ran the ball 31 times for 182 yards and two scores. Dombrowki ran for 89 yards and 2 scores and completed 5 of 8 passes for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He began the second half comeback by hitting junior wide receiver Chris Lumpkin on a 37-yard touchdown pass just over a minute into the second half to cut the lead to 23-17. Siddeeq Shabazz recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half to set up the scored.

Utah State scored on a 46-yard pass from Fuentes to Kevin Curtis to build the lead back to 29-17

But Dombrowski came back with another big play, connecting with senior H.B. Briscoe on a 50-yard touchdown pass with 7 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the lead back to 29-24.

The Aggie defense held inside their own 10-yard line on three goal-to-goal plays and forced Utah State into a 26-yard field goal by Dane Kidman to increase the lead to 32-24, setting up the final sequence.

The Utah State offense was unstoppable in the first half, converting all 8 of its third down attempts and scoring on all four first half drives.

Fuentes completed 16 of 24 passes for 192 yards and a score. Three different Utah State receivers caught at least 4 passes in the first half led by 6 by tight end Chris Cooley.

New Mexico State took a 3-0 in the first quarter, scoring on its first possession of the game. Dario Aguiniga kicked a 21-yard field goal. New Mexico State drove to the Utah State 6-yard line, but couldn't convert on a third and two. The big play came on a 44 yard run by Walter Taylor.

Utah State came right back and drove 49 yards in 4 plays as Richard Watson scored from 1 yard out for a 7-3 lead with 8:09 left in the first quarter. The drive was setup by a 48-yard kickoff return by Jerome Dennis.

New Mexico State again drove right down the field, going 80 yards on 11 plays with Dombrowski scoring his 8th rushing touchdown of the season on a 2-yard run on 3rd and goal. New Mexico State had a 10-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The second quarter was all Utah State as they out gained New Mexico State 149-62 and scored 17 unanswered points.

Utah State ended the half with a 31-yard field goal into a driving snowstorm by Dane Kidman on the final play of the half to give Utah State a 23-10 halftime lead.

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