A 24-yard Matthew Shipley field goal as time expired gave the University of Hawaii football team a 20-17 win over New Mexico State on Saturday night at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex.
Hawaii improves to 2-3 overall, while the Aggies drop to 2-3.
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New Mexico State struck first on a 39-yard screen reception from Monte Watkins with 7:17 left in the first quarter in which he broke a handful of Hawaii tackles. The Aggies extended their lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on a 35-yard field goal from Ethan Albertson.
Hawaii got on the board with a 35-yard Shipley field goal with 5:27 left in the first half, trimming the New Mexico State lead to 10-3. But New Mexico State responded with a wide open 21-yard screen pass to Star Thomas with 1:38 left in the first half to take a 17-3 lead at the break. It turned out to be NMSU’s final score of the game.
Hawaii cut the lead to 17-10 to begin the third quarter on Brayden Schager’s 4-yard rushing score, good for his first career rushing touchdown, with 10:22 left in the third. UH then recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff but couldn’t take advantage, going three-and-out. But the Rainbow Warriors defense held strong in time to allow UH to tie the game at 17 on Koali Nishigaya’s 3-yard touchdown reception with 7:19 remaining left in the game.
After getting one last stop, Hawaii milked the clock and centered the ball for Shipley’s game-winner. It was the second game-winner of his career, back when he hit a go-ahead field goal against Fresno State on Oct. 2, 2021. Saturday was the first time Hawaii won on a field goal as time expired since Justin Ayat hit a 24-yarder against Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 17, 2001.
New Mexico State quarterback Diego Pavia completed 9 of his 15 passes for 155 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 97 rushing yards on 12 carries.
For Hawaii, Schager completed 26 of his 38 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, NMSU’s J.J. Dervil had a game-high seven tackles. For Hawaii, Peter Manuma and Isaiah Tufaga shared the team lead with six tackles.
Hawaii begins Mountain West Conference play next week when it travels to UNLV on Sept. 30. Kickoff between the Rainbow Warriors and Rebels at Allegiant Stadium is set for 10 a.m. HST.