AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Diego Pavia passed for 201 yards and three touchdowns and New Mexico State upset Auburn 31-10 on Saturday for the Aggies’ first win over a Southeastern Conference team.
New Mexico State (9-3) outscored the Tigers (6-5) 21-3 in the second half after coming in as 23-1/2-point underdogs. The Aggies, who have already clinched a spot in the Conference USA championship game against No. 25 Liberty, had lost their first 27 meetings against SEC teams.
Jerry Kill’s team put this one away with two successful gambles in the fourth quarter. New Mexico State converted a fake punt from its own territory on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
Then Pavia hit Eli Stowers for a 2-yard touchdown on another fourth-down gamble to make it 24-7. That ended a 16-play, 83-yard drive that worked 9:58 off the clock and left Auburn’s struggling offense little chance to get back in it.
Pavia completed 19 of 28 passes and also ran eight times for 35 yards. Stowers lined up at both quarterback and tight end and ran for 19 yards while catching four passes for 48 yards.
Payton Thorne completed 15 of 19 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown for Auburn while gaining 38 yards on 17 runs.
The Aggies quieted the Jordan-Hare Stadium with an opening drive capped by Pavia’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Kordell David in a drive helped out by a pair of pass interference penalties. Auburn fans didn’t have a whole lot to cheer about the rest of the way.
New Mexico St.: Has won seven straight games and controlled this one much of the way. The Aggies outgained Auburn 414-213.
Auburn: Hugh Freeze’s first Auburn team had won three straight games, all against SEC teams while allowing only a combined 38 points during that stretch. New Mexico State nearly matched that.
New Mexico State hosts Jacksonville State.
Auburn hosts No. 8 Alabama in the Iron Bowl;
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football