Las Cruces, N.M.-----It was the big play on both sides of the ball in the first half for San Jose State in a 47-7 win over New Mexico State in a Western Athletic Conference game.
Three touchdown plays of 50 or more yards and a 37-yard fumble return by defensive back Bene Benwikere propelled the Spartans to a 37-0 halftime lead.
The Spartans (8-2, 4-1 WAC) picked up their fourth win in a row and matched their win total of the last three seasons combined.
The defense did its part in the win coming up with the Benwikere score, three other Aggie turnovers and stopping New Mexico State on the San Jose State 1-yard line on fourth down at the end of the second quarter. The Aggies were limited to 220 yards offensively compared to San Jose State's 505 yards.
Like the UTSA game when the Spartans scored early and often, San Jose State needed only 12 snaps for five touchdowns. Four touchdown drives took two plays or less.
For the second time in 2012, quarterback David Fales threw four touchdown passes in a game. Fales' day was over early in the quarter after completing 12-of-18 passes with an interception for 276 yards.
Running back De'Leon Eskridge initiated the touchdown parade with a 63-yard run through the middle of the New Mexico State (1-9, 0-5 WAC) defense with 6:13 to go in the first quarter. Eskridge gained 96 yards on just six carries as the Spartans rushed for 204 yards.
Two of Fales' touchdown throws came on first-down passes in the flat that quickly inflated the Spartans' scoring total on the day.
First, it was Chandler Jones in the left flat for what turned out to be a 70-yard catch-and-run with 1:00 left in the first quarter. Following Jones' second touchdown of the game on a 14-yard pass from Fales, Ina Liaina hauled in his first catch of the afternoon in the right flat, turned up field and raced past only one Aggie defender for a 58-yard scoring play.
Fales' last touchdown pass was a 36-yard pass to a wide-open Ryan Otten on a post pattern on San Jose State's first third-quarter possession. Harrison Waid kicked a 38-yard field goal at the end of the quarter to close out the scoring.
New Mexico State scored its touchdown in the final minute to avert a shutout.
San Jose State now turns its attention to a pair of home games to close out the season. Brigham Young on November 17 and Louisiana Tech on November 24 are on their way to Spartan Stadium.
UTSA 31, McNeese State 24
SAN ANTONIO — UTSA piled up 238 yards in the second half and the Roadrunners held off a late McNeese State rally in a 31-24 victory on Saturday in front of 25,784 fans at the Alamodome.
UTSA (6-4), which snapped a four-game losing streak, overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit by scoring 24 unanswered points to eventually build a 31-10 advantage with just under 10 minutes to play.
The Cowboys (6-4) scored two late touchdowns and got the ball back at their own 39 with six seconds left, but quarterback Cody Stroud’s pass on the final play fell incomplete near the UTSA 20-yard line.
Trailing 10-7 coming out of intermission, Eric Soza guided a 12-play, 69-yard drive on the Birds' first possession of the second half that he capped with a diving 4-yard touchdown scramble to the right side.
The Roadrunners defense forced a McNeese State punt and the offense went to work again.
Soza kept a third-and-2 play alive and found Marcellus Mack on the sideline for six yards and a first down at the Cowboys 33. Four plays later, Evans Okotcha notched his school-record eighth rushing touchdown of the season with a 9-yard jaunt to the left side, extending the ball into the pylon to help put UTSA up by two scores.
The defense came up big on the next McNeese State drive, as Cody Berry forced a Marcus Wiltz fumble that was recovered by Triston Wade at the UTSA 30.
The offense responded by marching 70 yards on eight plays, which ended with a screen pass from Soza to Brandon Armstrong, who took it down the right sideline 31 yards for his first career TD and a 28-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Crosby Adams fielded his second interception of the season at the UTSA 19 on a deep pass from Stroud that was intended for Wes Briscoe. The Roadrunners converted that into three points on a 31-yard field goal by Kristian Stern, which made it 31-10 with 9:55 left to play.
However, the Cowboys did not quit, as Stroud found Dylan Long for a 6-yard TD pass with 6:18 on the clock.
McNeese State forced a three-and-out and then drove 86 yards on seven plays that culminated with a 3-yard scoring plunge by Wiltz at the 3:05 mark to make it a one-score game.
UTSA killed 2:59 off the clock before Stern was forced to punt on fourth down from the 17. Facing heavy pressure, the Alamo Heights product got off a 49-yarder to put McNeese at its own 39 with six ticks left.
Stroud scrambled and heaved a long pass that was knocked away by Brian King as time expired.
Soza finished the day 24-for-37 for 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Okotcha was the team's leading receiver (3-37) and rusher (10-50), while Josiah Monroe and Kam Jones hauled in three passes each for 33 and 31 yards, respectively.
Stroud completed 34-of-46 passes for 346 yards and two TDs, while Briscoe led all receivers with six catches for 99 yards and Wiltz registered 63 yards and a TD on 12 carries.
UTSA will play its final road game of the 2012 season next Saturday, Nov. 17, at Idaho (1-9, 1-3 WAC). Kickoff from the Kibbie Dome is scheduled for 4 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised in San Antonio on KCWX-2.
Louisiana Tech 62, Texas State 55
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Freshman Kenneth Dixon and senior Colby Cameron both set Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) records to lead No. 18/19 Louisiana Tech to a 62-55 win over Texas State at Bobcat Stadium.
Dixon rushed for four more touchdowns, giving him 24 on the year as the Strong, Arkansas native broke Marshall Faulk and Ryan Williams' FBS freshman mark of 21 in a season. Dixon scored on runs of 4, 1, 13 and 16 yards and also registered a 14-yard TD reception - the first of his young career. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season in the game.
Cameron entered the game just six passing attempts shy of breaking Russell Wilson's FBS record of 379 attempts without an interception. The signal caller beat it on Tech's first drive of the game as the record 380th attempt was a 4-yard scoring strike to R.P. Stuartwith 8:21 to play in the first quarter. Cameron, whose last interception came against TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl last year, ended the night completing 31-of-45 passes for 337 yards and three scores and zero interceptions as his streak sits at 419.
With the victory, LA Tech improves to 9-1 on the season and 4-0 in Western Athletic Conference play setting up next week's showdown against Utah State in Ruston. The Aggies, who were on a bye this week, enter the game 7-2 on the year and 4-0 in WAC play. Kickofff is set for 3 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Saturday's win by LA Tech didn't come easily as the victory wasn't sealed until the Bulldogs recovered an onside kick with just over one minute to play in the game.
The Bulldog offense amassed 627 yards of total offense on the night. Dixon rushed for 144 yards and four scores on 21 carries while backfield teammate Ray Holleyadded a career-high 145 yards on 27 carries and a 6-yard TD run with 12:51 to play in the fourth quarter that broke a 48-48 tie.
Tech registered 38 first downs on 100 offensive plays as the Bulldog offense scored 50-plus points for the eighth time in 10 games.
Texas State (3-6) led the Bulldogs early in the second quarter before Dixon scored on two straight possessions to give LA Tech its first lead of the game at 28-21 with 7:19 to play in the second stanza.
The Bobcats tied the game up late in the second quarter on a Marcus Curry 5-yard run with 48 seconds to play. However, Tech marched 75-yards on four plays in only 25 seconds and grabbed a 41-34 lead right before the half on Cameron's 49-yard strike to DJ Banks.
Dixon then gave the Bulldogs a 14-point lead on his 16-yard TD run on the first possession of the third quarter before Texas State tied it up at 48-48 early in the fourth on the strength of a 22-yard run by Terrance Franks and 12-yard pass from Shaun Rutherford to Bradley Miller.
Holley's 6-yard run and a 2-yard scoring run by Cameron with 3:23 to play in the game proved to be the difference as Tech won its 10 straight WAC regular season game.
Brigham Young 52, Idaho 13
PROVO, Utah – Brigham Young University proved too much for the Idaho Vandals to handle on a chilly Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium and the result was a 52-13 victory by the Cougars.
Interim coach Jason Gesser applauded the Vandals’ effort and heart but said there is much to do to turn the corner.
“At the end of the day,” he said after serving as head coach of his second collegiate game, “if we’re in position to make a play, make the play. If we’re in position to make the tackle, make the tackle.
“We have to clean up some stuff. It’s pure fundamentals.”
Idaho’s first drive ended when Trey Farquhar missed wide left on a 54-yard field goal attempt.
The Cougars made the most of a fourth-and-one near midfield on their first drive when Jamaal Williams broke through for a 49-yard pickup to set up a six-yard scoring pass from Riley Nelson to Cody Hoffman with 9:25 left in the first.
A 53-yard pass play set up BYU’s next score – a two-play, 62-yard drive capped by Williams nine-yard run with 7:50 to go in the opening quarter for the 14-0 lead.
Williams’ third TD came less than three minutes later when he ran in from the 10 with 4:08 to go in the first and a 21-0 Cougar lead.
Mike Scott lit the scoreboard for the Vandals when he pulled in a Bushnell pass and turned it into a 33-yard TD with 1:47 left in the first. Farquhar’s successful PAT made it 21-7.
The Vandals held BYU on its next possession and forced the Cougars to punt. It didn’t take long, however, for the Cougars to respond – and less time to score, when Spencer Hadley recovered the errant snap from Mike Marboe to Bushnell and trotted two yards in to score with :04 left in the first to make it 28-7.
“That was a little bit of a back-breaker,” Gesser said. “That one hurt.”
The Cougars benefited from the short field after the Vandals failed to convert on a fake punt and BYU started a drive on the Idaho 33. Nelson found Ross Apo on a nine-yard pass with 11:04 left in the first half for the 35-7 BYU lead.
Cody Hoffman pulled in a four-yard pass from Nelson to push the Cougars out to a 42-7 lead with 6:49 to go in the second quarter.
The half ended at 42-7 after a botched BYU field goal was followed by an Idaho fumble to give the Cougars the ball at the Idaho 23. The Cougars advanced to the Idaho 12 when Nelson scrambled for 11 yards after three unsuccessful pass attempts. His final throw of the half also was off-target to end the half.
Idaho scored for the second time when Farquhar’s 39-yard field goal was good with 8:28 to go in the third. Bushnell connected with Najee Lovett for a 33-yard pickup to start the drive and went to him again for another 11 on the next play. Mike LaGrone covered four yards with Bushnell’s next pass before back-to-back incompletions (one an attempt from Scott to Todd Handley) to set up Farquhar’s field goal that made it 42-10.
BYU made it 49-10 as the fourth quarter unfolded when James Lark connected with Cody Raymond on a two-yard TD pass with 12:00 left in the game.
Farquhar was good on a 35-yarder as time expired for the final 52-13 score.