Roadrunners victorious in first-ever Western Athletic Conference contest, 35-14
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Eric Soza completed 19-of-32 passes for a program-record 269 yards, added another 55 on the ground and accounted for a total of four touchdowns, as UTSA won its first-ever Western Athletic Conference game, 35-14, at New Mexico State on Saturday night.
The Roadrunners (5-0), who scored 28 unanswered points after falling behind 7-0, extended their winning streak to six games dating back to last season's finale and they now have outscored their opponents, 238-85, during that stretch. UTSA now has won all three of its road outings this fall after failing to do so in four chances a year ago.
UTSA answered by taking advantage of a turnover when Austin Franklin muffed a punt that was recovered by Jeremiah Moeller at the New Mexico State 33. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball back to the 48, but Soza promptly found Evans Okotcha all alone on a wheel route down the left sideline for the Birds' first score of the night.
The Roadrunners then took a 14-7 lead after Soza scampered up the middle for a 33-yard touchdown. His first rushing score of the year capped a 13-play, 84-yard drive that chewed up 5:13 off the clock.
UTSA struck again on its first play on its next possession when Soza used a play-action fake to find Kenny Bias all alone behind the secondary for a school-record 82-yard TD pass.
The opportunistic Roadrunners turned a Nic Johnston third-quarter interception at the Aggies 16-yard line into more points.
On second-and-9 from the 15, Soza found Cole Hicks all alone in the right corner of the end zone for UTSA’s 11th score off its 15th forced turnover this season.
Trailing 28-7, the Aggies put together a long drive late in the third quarter, but on the third play of the fourth quarter, Erik Brown picked off Manley in the corner of the end zone to give the ball back to UTSA and keep the lead at 21.
However, New Mexico State forced a three-and-out and got the ball back on its own 45. Three plays later, Manley found Franklin on a seam route for a 41-yard score to make it 28-14 with 11:33 remaining.
UTSA responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that lasted 7:27, which was capped with a 9-yard TD rush up the middle by Okotcha.