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New Mexico State Beats Utah State in Arizona Bowl for 1st Bowl Win Since 1960

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2017

New Mexico State running back Larry Rose III (3) leaps over Utah State safety Dallin Leavitt in the first half of the Arizona Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

New Mexico State secured a 26-20 overtime win over Utah State in the Arizona Bowl on Friday to capture the program's first bowl win since 1960. 

Running back Larry Rose III sealed the result with a 21-yard touchdown run after Utah State kicker Dominik Eberle missed his fourth field goal of the game on Utah State's opening possession of the extra session. 

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

.@NMStateFootball wins it in OT! They capture their first bowl win in 57 years at the @novaAZBOWL! https://t.co/XozLdadeC8

Above all else, the battle of the Aggies was a defensive slugfest that featured zero offensive touchdowns through the first three quarters. 

However, New Mexico State broke through and answered a one-yard touchdown run by Utah State's LaJuan Hunt when quarterback Tyler Rogers hit Jaleel Scott for a pretty jump-ball score to help knot the score at 20 with 6:31 remaining in regulation and force overtime. 

Before that, the sides' only other trips to the end zone were through special teams.

Utah State's first touchdown came in the form of a 96-yard kickoff return from Savon Scarver in the first quarter, and that score was immediately followed by a 100-yard return touchdown courtesy of New Mexico State's Jason Huntley: 

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

BACK-TO-BACK KICKOFF RETURN TOUCHDOWNS!! The @novaAZBOWL is off to a RIDICULOUS start... https://t.co/kwFrHYX4KK

According to CBS Sports Network, Friday's bowl game was the first since the 2011 Las Vegas Bowl to feature kickoff return scores by both teams. 

Beyond those brief fireworks, big plays were few and far between.  

New Mexico State's fourth-ranked passing attack was stymied by a stingy Utah State secondary, and Rogers finished the afternoon 29-of-54 for 191 yards, one score and two interceptions. All told, he averaged 3.5 yards per attempt. 

Rose, though, was electric to the tune of 16 carries for 132 yards, while Hunt buoyed Utah State's offense with 20 carries for 133 yards. 

Utah State quarterback Jordan Love tried to hit on downfield throws, but was largely limited and finished 25-of-44 for 254 yards. As a team, Utah State was 2-of-18 on third down. 

New Mexico State wasn't much better in that regard (4-of-22), but the Sun Belt team got hot at the right time and pulled off the plays necessary to nab the program's first winning season since 2002. 

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