Dreamstyle Stadium looked like a sea of red, as a crowd of 32,427 — mostly Lobos fans — showed up to see an in-state rivalry game that was one-sided early on but came down to the wire near the end.
Unlike the Lobos’ first game, UNM’s student section was at near capacity and full of loud, boisterous people who seemed to desperately want to see their team avenge a 32-31 loss the Lobos suffered to the Aggies last season.
However, the sea of red that the Lobos presented to the visiting Aggies in the 2017 Rio Grande Rivalry didn’t seem to faze New Mexico State.
But the Aggies wasted no time getting on the scoreboard against New Mexico. After their defense recovered a fumble by UNM running back Tyrone Owens, NMSU’s offense went to work and turned it into six points.
NMSU torched the Lobos for 500 yards of total offense. And the player who shredded UNM’s defense seemingly into bits while in enemy territory? That would be Aggie quarterback Tyler Rogers.
Rogers performed more like he was the one playing in front of his home crowd and heard a fair share of cheers from the Aggie faithful who made the trip up I-25.
Rogers, who hails from Peoria, Arizona, lit up the Lobos’ secondary, passing for 401 yards, four touchdowns and one interception on a 34-for-57 passing night.
He was also the quarterback who engineered last season’s come-from-behind victory over the Lobos, helping his team score the final 10 points of the game to wrestling away a win from New Mexico.
Safe to say that some might consider the redshirt senior to be the Lobos’ kryptonite — at least over the past two seasons.
UNM head coach Bob Davie said Rogers has a good supporting cast and the time they have spent together showed what kind of performance the quarterback is capable of.
“I think he’s really good,” Davie said of the NMSU quarterback. “When he doesn’t turn it over, he’s difficult.”
Sure, Rogers threw an interception in the middle of the fourth quarter, which helped aid a Lobo comeback as UNM pulled within eight points after kicking a field goal.
But that pass appeared to be on the money, too — going right through the hands of his intended receiver.
Despite that setback, Rogers was a big part of building the big 30-5 Aggie lead — a lead they would never relinquish.
The quarterback started by connecting with wide receiver OJ Clark on a 30-yard touchdown pass to take a 6-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, Rogers, after completing a couple of short passes, hit wide receiver Izaiah Lottie for an 81-yard touchdown to put the Aggies up 13-2.
He made things look easy at times, putting up a stat line and highlights that some people only see when playing a game of Madden on rookie mode.
But the redshirt senior quarterback did so in real-life, though he seemed to defer most of the credit to his teammates for making plays en route to the 30-28 win.
“We were just taking what the defense gave us,” Rogers said in the postgame conference. “We watched it on film and saw that we thought we could attack it, and we did pretty well. The receivers did a great job doing something after the catch. They’re really athletic, and they showed that today.”
The Lobos are probably thankful that they have seen the last of Rogers, but that performance will likely be etched in their minds for years to come.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter. He primarily covers baseball and men’s and women’s basketball, but also contributes content for football. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.