Larry Rose III’s 21-yard touchdown run in overtime gave New Mexico State a 26-20 victory over Utah State in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Friday at Arizona Stadium.
NMSU — making its first postseason appearance since 1960 in front of a partisan crowd in Tucson — finished the season 7-6. Utah State finished 6-7.
USU got the ball first in overtime but had to settle for a 29-yard field-goal attempt. Dominik Eberle’s kick caromed off the right upright – his fourth miss in six tries.
On NMSU’s second play, Rose raced through the USU defense for the winning score. His teammates came screaming onto the field. Even some of the maroon-clad NMSU fans jumped the fence and joined the celebration.
Rose finished with 142 yards on 16 carries.
The 2017 Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl is headed to overtime.
New Mexico State and Utah State are tied at 20 at the end of regulation Friday at Arizona Stadium.
Utah State took the lead with 13:28 remaining on LaJuan Hunt’s 1-yard touchdown run – the first offensive TD of the game. The touchdown was set up by a shanked punt that gave USU the ball at the NMSU 24-yard line.
Utah State had a chance to go up by 10, but normally reliable placekicker Dominik Eberle missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt. It was his third miss of the game – one more than he had in 18 tries entering Friday.
New Mexico State took advantage. NMSU drove 69 yards in 11 plays, converting a third-and-9 and a fourth-and-6. One play after that clutch completion from Tyler Rogers to Johnathan Boone, Rogers connected with Jaleel Scott for the tying TD with 6:31 to play. The 11-yard fade route initially was ruled incomplete, but a replay review determined that Scott gained possession before tapping his foot down inbounds.
New Mexico State and Utah State remain tied at 13 through three quarters of the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium on Friday.
Neither team scored in the third quarter. But that doesn’t mean nothing happened.
New Mexico State executed a successful fake punt. However, on the next play, quarterback Tyler Rogers threw his second interception.
Two plays after that, Utah State QB Jordan Love hit Ron’quavion Tarver for 41 yards to the NMSU 1. Utah State then ran an option to the right, but Terrill Hanks practically intercepted the pitch. He knocked it down and recovered it, giving the ball back to New Mexico State.
Utah State had another scoring opportunity earlier in the quarter, but Domink Eberle missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt.
The teams are a combined 4 of 29 on third down. Each team has punted seven times.
New Mexico State and Utah State are tied 13-13 at halftime of the Nova Home Loans New Mexico Bowl at Arizona Stadium on Friday.
Larry Rose III has rushed for 101 yards for NMSU. Jordan Love has completed 17 of 27 passes for 149 yards for USU.
After a wild first quarter that featured back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns – a first in the Arizona Bowl – the game became a defensive struggle.
Utah State opened the second quarter with a 35-yard field goal, capping a 10-play, 63-yard drive. New Mexico State answered with a nine-play, 56-yard drive that also ended in a field goal. A 40-yard run by Rose put NMSU in scoring range.
Five of the next six possessions ended in punts. The other ended with a missed field goal.
Fittingly, a defensive play set up the tying field goal. Rose broke into the clear for a 22-yard gain. But Jontrell Rocquemore popped the ball free, and it caromed directly into the arms of USU teammate Chase Christiansen. Dominik Eberle’s field goal, a 30-yarder at the buzzer, knotted the score.
NMSU’s Leon McQuaker has a game-high eight tackles, including one for a loss.
The teams are a combined 4 of 21 on third down.
Special teams stole the show in the first quarter of the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
Back-to-back kickoff-return touchdowns highlighted an entertaining opening period at Arizona Stadium. New Mexico State leads Utah State 10-7 entering the second quarter.
After Dylan Brown’s 23-yard field goal gave NMSU a 3-0 lead, USU’s Savon Scarver returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Scarver raced up the right sideline and broke two tackles en route to the end zone.
Not to be outdone, NMSU’s Jason Huntley returned the next kickoff 100 yards for a score. Huntley also started on the right before cutting across the field and outracing the USU defense.
Later in the quarter, Utah State tried a fake punt. Shane Jackson stopped Jacoby Wildman for a 2-yard loss.
NMSU took over at the USU 35-yard line. But four plays later, Tyler Rogers threw an interception to David Woodward.
Utah State will attempt a 35-yard field goal to open the second quarter.