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New Mexico State loses to No. 24 Louisiana Tech
By RUSSELL CONTRERAS
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) New Mexico State held Louisiana Tech's high-powered offense in check for a half. When the Bulldogs finally got going, the Aggies just couldn't keep up.
Andrew Manley threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, but New Mexico State lost 28-14 to No. 24 Louisiana Tech on Saturday night.
Colby Cameron passed for a touchdown and ran for a score in the third quarter, helping Louisiana Tech earn its first victory as a ranked team. It was the lowest point total of the season for the Bulldogs, who were coming off a 70-28 victory against Idaho.
"No question this was our best defensive game played this year," New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker said. "We definitely didn't want to be part of the 70 club."
New Mexico State lost two fumbles and Manley threw an interception, damaging the Aggies' chances of springing the upset. Had it not been for those turnovers, Walker said: "This game could have been more interesting."
Cameron tossed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Myles White and had a 2-yard TD run after Louisiana Tech led 7-0 at halftime. Ray Holley extended the lead to 28-0 with a career-long 83-yard run in the fourth.
The slow start was quite the contrast to last week, when the Bulldogs rolled up a school-record 839 yards of offense in the victory against Idaho.
"I guess we are human," said Cameron, who completed 29 of 44 passes for 292 yards against NMSU. "It was kind of like a gut check to us that we need to get better."
Safety Davis Cazares, who led the Aggies with 15 tackles, said the defense was focused on slowing Louisiana Tech's tempo. It worked until late in the third when the Bulldogs were finally able to find holes, he said.
Louisiana Tech (7-1, 2-0 WAC) has won consecutive games since its only loss of the season against Texas A&M. It's hoping to remain in the Top 25 for consecutive weeks for the first time in school history.
Safety Chad Boyd, whose interception in the fourth quarter led to a touchdown, said the defense was glad it stepped up on a night the offense was struggling early on.
"It's a confidence booster," he said.
Holley had 130 yards rushing for the Bulldogs, who failed to win a game as a ranked team in two previous tries.
Louisiana Tech was No. 25 when it lost to Southern California in 1999. The Bulldogs weren't ranked again until this season, when they were No. 23 when they lost 59-57 to Texas A&M.
Louisiana Tech continued its streak of breaking records Saturday when Ryan Allen recorded a school-record 85-yard punt in the first quarter.
New Mexico State (1-7, 0-4) has dropped seven consecutive games. This will be the 52nd consecutive year that the Aggies failed to make it to a bowl game.
Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras
Updated October 28, 2012