New Mexico State holds off Bowling Green in Quick Lane Bowl
DETROIT — All Diego Pavia does is win.
New Mexico State head coach Jerry Kill put him in the starting lineup coming off a junior college national championship last year at New Mexico Military Institute.
Pavia led the Aggies to a Quick Lane Bowl championship with a 24-19 victory on Monday over Bowling Green in front of 22,987 fans at Ford Field in Detroit.
Pavia was 17-for-29 for 167 passing yards and two touchdowns, 65 rushing yards and an interception and the Aggies defense only allowed 10 points.
NM State outgained Bowling Green 199-174 with Pavia pasing for 137 yards and two scores for a 14-0 Aggies halftime lead.
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The Aggies tacked on a 35-yard Ethan Albertson field goal on their fist possession of the second half for a 17-0 lead. Jonathan Brady took a reverse 37 yards to the Bowling Green 35 to set the Aggies up.
But Bowling Green answered with a 75-yard kickoff return on a short kick for the Falcons first points of the game to make it 17-7.
The Aggies went up 24-7 on a 45-yard Ahmonte Watkins touchdown run up the middle as the Aggies finished with 240 rushing yards. Pavia hit Kordell David for a six-yard slant on a third and 5 to the Bowling Green 44.
But the Aggies had to hold on.
Pavia capped the game with a six yard run up the middle on a third and 2 to seal the Aggies fourth bowl win in school history.
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Clinging to a 24-19 lead with 6:27 on the clock, Pavia had third down runs of nine and 10 yards to barely extend the drive and make Bowling Green used two timeouts.
Bowling Green made it 24-10 with a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter and the Falcons had the ball in the red zone before Aggies senior linebacker gave the momentum back to the Aggies. Ojoh stripped Bowling Green receiver Odieu Hiliare at the NM State 5 and Syrus Dumas recovered with 10:48 to play.
It was the Aggies second forced turnover of the game and it protected a two-score lead for the time being, but Bowling Green still got points as the Falcons blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety to make it 24-12 with 7:10 to play.
The Falcons closed to 24-19 with 6:27 to play on the ensuing possession with a 19-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Camden Orth to Tyrone Broden for the first points scored by the Falcons offense.
Pavia proved to be fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered against Valpairaiso in the game’s early stages.
Pavia hit Justice Powers for a 42-yard strike down the sideline on third and 13 and scrambled into the red zone with his legs on third and 9. The Aggies went up 7-0 when Pavia hit Star Thomas on the run for a 15-yard touchdown on NM State’s first possession.
The Aggies went 80 yards in 10 plays on their third possession with Pavia rolling out to his right and hitting tight end Eric Marsh for a 2-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 11:47 to play in the first half.
Trevor Brohard ended Bowling Green’s opening possession with his first career interception and the Aggies turned it into points.
Brohard dropped into coverage on third down and intercepted a McDonald throw into coverage at the Aggies 30.
The game took a turn on Bowling Green’s next possession as McDonald was forced to leave the game after NM State safety Dylan Early hit him late out of bounds on a scramble along the Falcons sideline.
McDonald didn’t return and Camden Orth replaced him. Orth entered the game with 35 pass attempts on the season and he finished 14 for 22 for 191 yards and a touchdown against the Aggies.