Keene throws for 380 yards, leads Fresno State past New Mexico State in New Mexico Bowl
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Mikey Keene threw for a career-high 380 yards with three touchdown passes and a rushing TD, and Fresno State routed New Mexico State 37-10 in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, the Bulldogs' fifth straight victory in a bowl game.
Malik Sherrod rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries and had eight receptions for 81 yards for Fresno State (9-4), which had closed the regular season on a three-game skid. The Bulldogs played without coach Jeff Tedford, who stepped away after the regular season because of health concerns.
Keene, a transfer from UCF, completed his first 15 passes, finishing 31 of 39 with an interception. He connected with Josiah Freeman for a 26-yard touchdown and Jaelen Gill for a 23-yard score as the Bulldogs took a 17-3 halftime lead.
With Fresno State ahead 20-10 entering the fourth quarter, Keene ran for a 4-yard score that all but sealed the game. His final TD pass was a 9-yarder to Jalen Moss.
“Our guys did a phenomenal job executing and making some plays,” Keene said. “The offensive line kept me upright. It kept me clean. It’s easy to do your job when that happens. So they played their butts off and I appreciate them.”
Fresno State finished with 491 yards of offense and held New Mexico State to 200. Diego Pavia threw for just 58 yards while rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown for the Aggies (10-5), who reached double digits in wins for the first time since 1960 but lost to unbeaten Liberty in the Conference USA championship game two weeks ago.
The Bulldogs sacked Pavia four times and intercepted him once. New Mexico State didn't have a first down in the first quarter and didn't top 100 yards of offense until midway through the third.
“We didn’t execute. We didn’t play as well,” New Mexico State coach Jerry Kill said. “But that goes to Fresno State. They played an outstanding game.”
The game was played at University Stadium, the home of the Aggies' rival, New Mexico, and roughly 220 miles north of the New Mexico State campus in Las Cruces.
Assistant head coach and linebackers coach Tim Skipper handled Tedford's duties.
“This game ball right here is for coach Tedford,” Skipper said, holding up a football. “We talked about that in the first meeting. This is the actual ball from the last snap. This thing is going to Fresno and going to coach Tedford, we’re gonna bring it home to him.”
UNBEATEN STREAK ENDS
New Mexico State hasn't played in many bowl games, but it has fared well in them. The Aggies lost a bowl for the first time, falling to 4-1-1 overall.
Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 football throughout the season. Sign up here.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football