Hamblin Kicks USU To 24-21 At New Mexico State
Nov. 26, 2005
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Justin Hamblin kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1:16 remaining to lift Utah State to a 24-21 win at New Mexico State here Saturday in the final game of the 2005 season for both teams. Utah State improved to 3-8 overall and 2-6 in the Western Athletic Conference, while New Mexico State fell to 0-12 and 0-8.
The back and forth game - no team led by more than a touchdown during the contest - was tied up 21-21 at the 4:36 mark of the fourth quarter when New Mexico State's Royal Gill threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Allen.
Utah State started its ensuing drive on its own 34-yard line after an 18-yard kickoff return by Kevin Robinson. Quarterback Jerod Walker rushed for 16 yards on the drive, while connecting on passing attempts to tight end Jimmy Bohm and Dionte Holloway for three and 18 yards respectively.
USU reached NMSU's 13-yard line before Tony Pennyman lost two yards rushing on a sweep on third down. Hamblin, who had missed attempts of 22 and 37 yards earlier in the game, calmly hit a 32-yarder in the swirling winds to give the Aggies the win.
NMSU gained 21 yards on its final possession before Gill was intercepted by USU safety Terrance Washington with :51 left in the game.
Walker, who started at quarterback for the injured Leon Jackson III for the second straight game, connected on 14 of 20 attempts for 182 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 102 yards becoming the first Aggie quarterback since Tony Adams in 1972 to rush for 100 yards in a game.
Ryan Bohm added 79 rushing yards as the Aggies produced a season best 213 rushing yards. Pennyman had his first two-touchdown receiving game of his career as he pulled in five balls for 69 yards.
USU linebackers Jake Hutton and Matt Wiser each recorded 12 tackles, while Antonio Taylor and Devon Hall each had eight stops. Defensive end John Chick finished his USU career with three sacks for 19 yards, improving his season total to 12.5 sacks.
Utah State scored on its first possession of the game marking the first time the Aggies led in a game since holding a 14-10 advantage against Boise State in the sixth game of the year. Bohm's one-yard run capped the six-play 34-yard drive to put USU up 7-0.
After NMSU took a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter, USU responded with a tying score as Walker connected with Pennyman on a 40-yard scoring toss at the 6:41 mark of the period.
The play was the longest passing touchdown for the Aggies this year as well as the Pennyman's longest reception on the season.
USU had a chance to take a three-point lead into the break, but Justin Hamblin missed a 22-yard attempt with less than one minute remaining.
UTAH POSTGAME NOTES At New Mexico State Nov. 26, 2005
O - USU snapped a 10-game road losing streak dating back to a win at UNLV in September of 2004... USU stopped a six-game losing streak from this season (last win was against San Jose State on Oct. 8)... USU's win gives USU three wins in a season for the third straight year... USU is 7-0 against New Mexico State when the teams meet in the final game of the year... For the sixth time in seven years, the USU-NMSU game was decided by one score.
O - PK Justin Hamblin's 32-yard field goal was his first of the day (was 0 of 2 today). He improved to 6 of 14 on the year with the make at the 1:16 mark.
O - Last year against New Mexico State USU hit a field goal with 2:02 left to go ahead 27-25. An interception return for a score was the final score in that game as USU won 34-25.
O - QB Jerod Walker became the first USU quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Tony Adams ran for 121 vs. Colorado State in 1972.
O - Walker's 100-yard rushing day is just the second by an Aggie in the last 24 games. Both 100-yard games have come against New Mexico State as TB Chris Forbes ran for 131 in last year's finale against NMSU.
O - WR Tony Pennyman extended his streak of catching at least four passes to 10 consecutive games.
O - Pennyman recorded two touchdown receptions in a game for the first time in his Aggie career.
O - WR Kevin Robinson extended his streak of catching at least two passes to 17 consecutive games.
O - USU established a new season rushing best as a team (163 vs. Utah in the season opener).
O - DE Bevan Howard became the 12th different freshman to start a game for USU this year.
O - DT Ben Childs made his first career start.
O - When USU scored on its opening possession it marked USU's first lead in a game since the Aggies were ahead 14-10 against Boise State in the second quarter of the sixth game of the year. USU's first quarter touchdown was also its first in a first quarter since the Boise State game (USU had a combined one field goal in the first quarter in the four games in between the BSU game and today).
O - USU's second quarter touchdown was its first in a second quarter in the last five games (scored a TD against Boise State).
O - The 40-yard touchdown pass from Jerod Walker to Tony Pennyman in the second quarter was the longest passing touchdown of the season for the Aggies. Pennyman's last three touchdown receptions were for 35, 34 and 40 yards. The 40-yard reception was also a season long for Pennyman.
O - DE John Chick entered today with 9.5 sacks and became just the second Aggie to record double-digit sack totals for a season since 1986 when Mark Mraz had 13 (current USU assistant Danilo Robinson had 10.5 in 1995).
O - P Justin Hamblin had a career long 55-yard punt in the second quarter (had three 50-yarders this year).
O - This is the first time USU has been tied at halftime since the 11th game of 2000 when the Aggies were tied with Idaho State at 7-7. Idaho State won that game 27-24.