"I thought it was a fairly clean game and pretty aggressive on both sides", Wells said. "Wow. What a great job by our young men". The senior wraps his career in fantastic fashion despite Friday's rocky affair, posting career bests in terms of passing yardage (3,825), completion percentage (62.3) and yards per attempt (7.5) He also posted a 27/18 TD/INT ratio.
The game seemed like it might end up a shootout in the first quarter.
USU got it back with 23 seconds to go. "We got it; did you see the replay?"
Unfortunately for the Utah State fans, overtime had a familiar narrative for their Aggies. He missed on a 29-yard field goal. Utah State's LaJuan Hunt did the lion's share of the work a 24-yard touchdown drive.
With a total of 41 bowl games in play, it's hard to comprehend a lengthy bowl drought for any team.
Reggie Gallaspy added 79 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 carries for the Wolfpack, Ryan Finley completed 24 of 29 passes for 318 yards and 1 score, and Stephen Louis had 3 catches for 115 yards. Both teams came into the matchup with 6-6 records and it certainly showed in the way both teams played. While their Utah State Aggies counterparts lost two fumbles. The school announced a few hours before the game that he wouldn't play. Last year, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey skipped the game. Utah State sophomore kicker and Lou Groza finalist, Dominik Eberle, missed field goal attempts of 44 and 48 yards.
So when NMSU fans stormed the field after a 57-year bowl absence, it was hard not to give them this much: They made the most of their opportunity.
The fans celebrated the feat by rushing a field that isn't at their home stadium.
Rose, though, was electric to the tune of 16 carries for 132 yards, while Hunt buoyed Utah State's offense with 20 carries for 133 yards.
The third Arizona Bowl started with some early fireworks on special teams.
Entering this year, New Mexico State had the longest drought.
New Mexico State (7-6) tied it at 20-apiece on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Rogers to Jaleel Scott with 6:31 remaining.
New Mexico State, which snapped the nation's longest bowl drought thanks to a last-minute comeback win in the final regular-season game of the year, fell behind 20-13 in the fourth quarter before mounting a comeback. The play was reviewed for about two minutes before the decision was made that Scott had possession of the ball and was able to get a foot down inbounds.
New Mexico State had not been to a bowl game since the 1960 Sun Bowl.
The score was tied 13-13 at halftime, and Utah State had a chance to take the lead early in the second half.
The teams played multiple times since then while playing together in a variety of conferences.
Utah State went to eight bowls after that, including six of the last seven. It had 14 straight losing seasons, including a 0-12 mark in 2005, before winning its final two games this season to finally get back to bowling.
Not that USU coach Matt Wells was getting nostalgic. The former Kent State head coach didn't have a team with more than three wins in his first four years in Las Cruces. Ohio State - with that bad loss at Iowa after an early setback to playoff team Oklahoma - was the first team left out this season. While most of the attention has been directed at the long-ago bowl game, the two Aggie teams have now met 38 times, with USU winning 30. Turnovers plagued both teams as the game featured five turnovers. That led to J.T. Barrett's 1-yard keeper for a score that put the Buckeyes ahead to stay. It was USU's first kickoff return for a TD since 2015. It was the first pick-six this season for the Buckeyes, and the team-leading fifth interception for Webb.