ALBUQUERQUE, NM – In the New Mexico Bowl, Fresno State surged to a 37-10 victory over New Mexico State, overturning expectations shaped by the teams’ recent trajectories.
New Mexico State, riding a wave of momentum, aimed to secure an 11th win – a rare feat in their program’s history. Conversely, Fresno State grappled with setbacks, including the departure of head coach Jeff Tedford due to health reasons, leaving Tim Skipper in charge for the bowl game.
Despite New Mexico State’s anticipation of exploiting Fresno State’s vulnerability against the rush, the Bulldogs showcased a dominant performance. New Mexico State, accustomed to establishing their run game, struggled early on, managing only 200 yards of total offense. Hindered by a deficit, they veered away from their preferred strategy, heavily relying on the passing game.
Quarterback Diego Pavia, not yet at full capacity, faced immense pressure, concluding the game with 58 yards and an interception on an 11-for-25 passing display. The Aggies’ sole substantial offensive drive spanned 75 yards over 14 plays for their lone touchdown in the third quarter.
With the Aggies forced into predictable passing situations, Fresno State’s defense capitalized, recording four sacks and seven tackles for loss. This defensive prowess compounded New Mexico State’s offensive struggles, contributing to their limited yardage gains.
In contrast, Fresno State’s quarterback Mikey Keene, rejuvenated from injuries, orchestrated an impressive offensive showcase. Keene completed 31 of 39 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns, displaying precision and distributing passes to ten different receivers, several resulting in substantial gains. His seamless performance, coupled with a reliable rushing attack, propelled the Bulldogs to a decisive victory.
This triumph for Fresno State salvaged a season that initially showed promise but faltered along the way. Conversely, while New Mexico State fell short of setting historic records, the team found positives to cherish from their 2023 campaign despite the New Mexico Bowl defeat.