New Mexico State holds off Bowling Green in Quick Lane Bowl

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT – Diego Pavia threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns, and New Mexico State held off a late rally by Bowling Green to win the Quick Lane Bowl 24-19 on Monday.

The Aggies (7-6) were up 24-7 late in the third quarter, but the Falcons closed the gap in the fourth quarter to make it 24-19 after a field goal, a safety off of a blocked punt and Camden Orth’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Broden with 6:27 left.

From there, New Mexico State kept control of the ball for the rest of the game.

New Mexico State coach Jerry Kill, who earned his first victory in six bowl appearances, gave much of the credit for the win to Pavia, who completed 17 of 19 passes, rushed for 65 yards and made three key third-down conversions on the last drive.

“Diego drives me crazy sometimes, but when it comes down to winning, he finds a way to win,” Kill said. “The last couple of runs he made toward the end were flat unbelievable. He just threw his body out there.”

Pavia said the team didn’t panic after Bowling Green scored its final touchdown.

“Really, it was just do your job,” he said. “Whenever anything broke down, it was make a play. So when it comes down to those things I want the ball in my hands. I feel we were successful tonight on it.”

Pavia added that the team was excited to be able to get Kill his first bowl win as a head coach.

“Coach Kill, he’s a winner,” Pavia said. “So for him to have his first one tonight is just crazy. Just because he’s born winning. He doesn’t like to lose.”

Bowling Green (6-7) lost starting quarterback Matt McDonald early in the first quarter when he was hit late by Aggies safety Dylan Early while going out of bounds on a third-down run. He was replaced by Orth, who twice led the Falcons into field-goal range in the first half but Mason Lawler missed both tries.

“I thought Cam went in there and that’s not easy,” Falcons coach Scott Loeffler said. “The whole game plan was built around Matt and I thought he did a great job and particularly in the second half adapting and adjusting.

“No one knows how hard it is to be the backup quarterback. And when you get thrown into the mix like that, we had to adapt and adjust, and we did to give him a chance in the second half.”

The Aggies scored first to make it 7-0 on Pavia’s 15-yard scoring pass to Star Thomas on their first possession of the game. The junior quarterback later added a 2-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to Eric Marsh.


New Mexico State: It’s only the second time in the last 20 seasons that New Mexico State has won at least seven games, the first being 2017 when the Aggies beat Utah State in the Arizona Bowl.

Bowling Green: The Falcons’ defense struggled throughout the season and it carried over into the game. Bowling Green was unable to slow the Aggies’ offense, especially Pavia’s ability to extend plays with his passing and running.


New Mexico State: After five seasons as an independent, the Aggies join Conference USA. New Mexico State will aim to go to a bowl in back-to-back years for the first time since 1959-60. Their first game next season is Aug. 26, hosting Massachusetts.

Bowling Green: Will be at Liberty on Sept. 2 to start the season. The Falcons will have to replace two key starters in McDonald and defensive end Karl Brooks. McDonald started 29 of Bowling Green’s 30 games since he transferred from Boston College in 2019. Brooks was one of the nation’s leading defensive linemen with 10 sacks and 18 tackles for losses.

Young, Williams, No. 3 Alabama romp over New Mexico St 59-3

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For 44 seconds, No. 3 Alabama actually was trailing New Mexico State.

It didn’t take long for Bryce Young, Jameson Williams and the Crimson Tide to change that situation dramatically.

Down 3-0 late in the first quarter, Young threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Williams and Alabama went on to romp 59-3.

“I really challenged the team this week,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I told them it was kind of Judgment Day for us. We’ve been a little inconsistent.

“We don’t look at the scoreboard. It shouldn’t affect how we play. An opponent is faceless. It’s all about how we play,” he said.

Young passed for 270 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Williams, and completed 21 of 23 passes in just over a half for the Tide (9-1, No. 2 CFP). Alabama rattled off seven touchdowns in 20 minutes for a 49-3 halftime lead over the Aggies (1-9).

Young became the first Alabama quarterback to complete his first 13 passes in a game, playing only one drive into the second half when he lost a fumble in New Mexico State territory.

The Aggies just couldn’t keep up with the speedy Williams, who caught six passes for 158 yards. He had touchdowns of 50, 32 and 7 yards and had a fourth called back because he stepped out of bounds.

Brian Robinson Jr. ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns – including a 63-yarder – all in the first half.

Jonah Johnson completed 19 of 30 passes for 129 yards for New Mexico State, which was outgained 587-138. Will Anderson Jr. had two of the Tide’s seven sacks.

“Offensively we really played hard,” New Mexico State coach Doug Martin said. “We were just really overmatched up front. But as far as the attitude and effort that our players had out there on both sides of the ball, it was really what you’re looking for.”

The Tide responded quickly and emphatically after that early Aggies field goal. The defense pitched a shutout on the final 10 drives.

“When we got back to the sideline everybody just honed in and calmed down,” Alabama safety Malachie Moore said.


New Mexico State: Actually took the lead almost 10 minutes in on Ethan Albertson’s career-long 50-yard field goal. There weren’t a bunch of highlights after that.

Alabama: Dominated when it got going and gave some backups, like quarterback Paul Tyson, significant playing time. Tyson, the great-grandson of former Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, saw probably the most action of his career and completed 6 of 8 passes for 43 yards..


Alabama had several players have to be helped off the field with injuries: punt returner/wide receiver JoJo Earle, backup tailback Roydell Williams and safety DeMarcco Hellams.

“We lost Roydell, probably for a good while,” Saban said. “And JoJo probably not quite as serious but probably going to be out for a while.”

Tailback Jace McClellan was already out for the season and five-star freshman signee Camarr Wheaton hasn’t played with a knee injury, leaving two scholarship tailbacks. Saban said Hellams came into the game with a thigh bruise and got hit in that spot again, but could have returned.


Saban pointed to other highly ranked teams losing, plus Florida’s scare against FCS Samford when asked about his team’s apparent slow start.

“You want me to be critical of my team because we had to punt once in the first quarter and they got a field goal?” Saban said. “I mean, I’m not going to do it.

“I’m not going to be critical of anything that our players did when we win 59-3.”


New Mexico State stays in SEC country with a visit to Kentucky.

Alabama hosts SEC West opponent Arkansas.

New Mexico State postpones season

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New Mexico State has announced the postponement of its football season because of COVID-19 concerns and state restrictions.

The Aggies are the third independent FBS program to decide not to play in the fall, joining Connecticut and Massachusetts. They are the 53rd major college football program overall to opt not to play.

In making the decision, New Mexico State noted it had four games left on its schedule, plus the state of New Mexico has a 14-day quarantine for those traveling into and out of the state.

New Mexico State says it will explore playing football in the spring.

“Rival New Mexico has postponed its season as part of the Mountain West’s decision to attempt to play in the spring.

New Mexico State competes in the Western Athletic Conference for other sports, and that conference also announced it would not have fall sports this year.