Cheaper by the dozen: New Mexico State finishes 0-12

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- The wind was tough, but not too tough for Justin Hamblin.

Utah State's kicker made a 32-yard field goal with 1:16 remaining on a blustery afternoon, lifting the Aggies to a 24-21 victory over winless New Mexico State on Saturday in the season finale for both schools.

Earlier, Hamblin had missed field-goal attempts from 22 and 37 yards.

"The wind played havoc, especially with the kicking game," Utah State coach Brent Guy said. "But he made the one that counted."

Utah State (3-8, 2-6 Western Athletic Conference) drove 51 yards in nine plays on the decisive possession to break a 10-game road losing streak. Utah State also snapped a six-game overall losing streak.

"I'm so happy for our seniors," said Guy, in his first season as coach. "I know they didn't have many wins under their belts, but they don't have a bigger win than this one. This was a WAC win on the road. It was one of our goals."

New Mexico State (0-12, 0-8) failed to win a game under first-year coach Hal Mumme. The loss was assured when Utah State's Terrance Washington intercepted a pass by Royal Gill near midfield.

It's the first winless season for New Mexico State since going 0-11 in 1989. NMSU was 1-10 in 1990 and 1996.

"We just didn't do the things we needed to do to win the game," Mumme said.

Utah State's Jerod Walker rushed for 102 yards on 25 carries and passed for 182 yards. He completed 14-of-20 attempts on a gusty afternoon, throwing two touchdown passes.

"We came into this game intending to run the ball," Guy said. "We have a freshman quarterback and we didn't want to put a lot on Jerod, but he played very well. It's the reason we recruited him. He's the type of quarterback we need for this offense."

New Mexico State tied it at 21 with 4:36 to play when Gill, who replaced starter Joey Vincent in the fourth quarter, tossed a 3-yard scoring pass to Brandon Allen. Gill completed all nine of his passes on the drive.

"We missed three post routes -- two of them to Tim Tolbert -- which could have gone for touchdowns," Mumme said. "We thought we needed to get Gill in there because he is more of a pocket passer and tends to be more accurate."

Utah State led 21-14 after Walker threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tony Pennyman on the first play of the fourth quarter. It was Pennyman's second touchdown, and he finished with five receptions for 69 yards.

Vincent completed 20-of-32 passes for 214 yards for New Mexico State before being replaced. Paul Dombrowski caught eight passes for 106 yards receiving and A.J. Harris had nine catches for 45 yards.

The teams, both nicknamed the Aggies, were tied at 14 at halftime.

Utah State scored on its first possession after a fumble by Harris was recovered by linebacker Jake Hutton at NMSU's 34-yard line. Five plays later, Utah State's Ryan Bohm scored on a 1-yard run.

New Mexico State scored with 7:07 remaining in the first quarter on a 2-yard run by Justine Buries. NMSU made it 14-7 midway through the second period when Vincent threw an 11-yard TD pass to Jeremiah Williams.

Utah State tied it at 14 with 6:41 left before halftime when Walker made a perfect pass through a crosswind and found Pennyman for a 40-yard touchdown on a deep post pattern. It was Utah State's longest passing play of the season.

Utah State blew a chance to lead at halftime when Hamblin missed a 22-yard field-goal attempt with 37 seconds on the clock. He also missed a 37-yard try midway through the fourth quarter when Utah State was trying to extend a 21-14 lead.