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Associated Press, Published September 07 2013

Minnesota tops New Mexico State in football

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Minnesota had a pair of return touchdowns for the second week in a row and Roddrick Williams Jr. rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries to lead a 44-21 victory Saturday night at New Mexico State.

The Gophers made sure the Aggies wound not repeat their 28-21 upset form two seasons ago in the second meeting between the schools.

The Gophers (2-0) opened with a 51-23 victory at home against UNLV last week. NMSU (0-2) took a 56-7 beating at Texas last week.

Despite the final score, the outcome wasn’t fully settled in the second-ever meeting between these two until midway through the fourth quarter.

Phillip Nelson was 8 of 15 for 127 through the air and carried 15 times for 122 yards as the Gophers rolled up 342 yards on the ground.

Andrew McDonald was 22 of 31 for 186 to lead the Aggies.

Despite the final score, the outcome wasn’t fully settled in the second-ever meeting between these two until midway through the fourth quarter.

Minnesota led 30-14 when NMSU defensive lineman Kevin Laudermill tried to knock down a third-down pass by Nelson, but ended up intercepting the ball.

That put the Aggies in business at the Minnesota 34-yard line, but they failed to capitalize on the opportunity after McDonald was stuffed for no gain on a sneak on a fourth-and-1 play from the Gophers’

11-yard line.

From there, Minnesota put the game away with a

1-yard touchdown from Nelson and a 50-yard fumble return for a score by Aaron Hill.

Both teams scored on their first possession of the second half. Minnesota got a Chris Hawthorne field goal to push the lead to 30-7, but NMSU wouldn’t go away.

The Aggies answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Germi Morrison to remain in the game at 30-14 with 3:44 left in the third. That run capped a 12-play, 72-yard drive.

Minnesota appeared to take command midway through the second quarter on a 14-yard touchdown run by David Cobb. That made it 13-0 against an Aggie team whose defense was beginning to tire. NMSU had just one first down in its first five possessions, including four three-and-outs.

Minnesota 3 24 3 14 – 44

New Mexico St. 0 7 7 7 – 21

First Quarter

Minn – FG Hawthorne 45, 7:29.

Second Quarter

Minn – FG Hawthorne 22, 14:50.

Minn – Cobb 14 run (Hawthorne kick), 8:43.

NMSU – Betancourt 1 run (M.Johnson kick), 6:17.

Minn – R.Williams 1 run (Hawthorne kick), 2:38.

Minn – M.Jones 65 punt return (Hawthorne kick), 1:22.

Third Quarter

Minn – FG Hawthorne 27, 11:51.

NMSU – Morrison 1 run (M.Johnson kick), 8:02.

Fourth Quarter

Minn – Nelson 1 run (Hawthorne kick), 8:33.

Minn – Hill 50 fumble return (Hawthorne kick), 5:49.

NMSU – Morrison 1 run (M.Johnson kick), :51.

A – 16,418.

Minn NMSU

First downs 21 21

Rushes-yards 43-342 41-103

Passing 127 253

Comp-Att-Int 8-15-1 29-40-0

Return Yards 67 3

Punts-Avg. 3-42.7 6-46.5

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 4-37 1-25

Time of Possession 28:11 31:49

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Minnesota, R.Williams 16-148, Nelson 15-122, Cobb 9-56, Mi.Leidner 2-11, D.Jones 1-5. New Mexico St., Morrison 19-32, McDonald 10-30, Davis III 4-29, Bergstrom 1-8, Betancourt 7-4.

PASSING: Minnesota, Nelson 8-15-1-127. New Mexico St., McDonald 22-31-0-186, Davis III 7-9-0-67.

RECEIVING: Minnesota, Engel 2-51, M.Williams 2-37, Hutton 2-26, D.Jones 1-7, Cobb 1-6. New Mexico St., Bergstrom 8-60, Bowen 6-38, Betancourt 4-22, Matthews 3-53, Morrison 3-21, Shapiro 2-26, Scoggins 2-12, J.Brown 1-21.