Two bowl-eligible teams riding win streaks will meet when New Mexico State visits Auburn on Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies (8-3, 6-1 Conference USA) have won six straight and seven of eight behind dynamic dual-threat quarterback Diego Pavia and a scrappy defense.
Pavia has passed for 2,257 yards and 19 touchdowns with just six interceptions and has rushed for a team-high 703 yards and five scores through 11 games.
In last week’s 38-29 win over Western Kentucky, Pavia passed for two touchdowns and ran for 44 yards to pace a New Mexico State offense that rushed for 236 yards.
Safety Mehki Miller became the first Aggie to score a defensive touchdown this season when he picked off Austin Reed and raced 57 yards to pay dirt. The play sealed all hopes of a Hilltoppers comeback and helped New Mexico State clinch a berth in the C-USA title game in Jerry Kill’s second season as head coach.
“I’m just kind of in shock really, but it means the world to do it with these kids and in Las Cruces,” Kill said. “Having it happen so quickly, we’re still not where we need to be and here but we are playing for the conference championship.”
Auburn (6-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) became bowl-eligible after it turned in its most complete performance of the season in a 48-10 road win over Arkansas.
Payton Thorne threw three touchdown passes and ran for 88 yards and a score. Jarquez Hunter surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the third straight game (109), while Rivaldo Fairweather added two scoring receptions. Auburn’s defense recorded five sacks and forced two fumbles and Keionte Scott returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown.
Although it was the Tigers’ third straight win, Hugh Freeze doesn’t want his team overlooking New Mexico State before its meeting with rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25.
“We’ll talk about it today in our team meeting, and that’ll be my message,” Freeze said earlier this week. “We won’t talk about the other team that you mentioned (Alabama); we’ll talk about the one we have right in front of us that could sting us. And I’ve experienced that before.”
–Field Level Media
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