New Mexico State topped an SEC team for the first time in program history on Saturday afternoon in a 31-10 throttling of Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Aggies, led by veteran coach Jerry Kill, had lost their previous 24 games against teams from the SEC and were 0-4 against Auburn coming into today’s action.
The devastating loss breaks a streak of 49 straight nonconference home wins for Auburn against unranked teams, a streak that dates back to a 2007 defeat against South Florida out of the now-defunct Big East. It is also Auburn’s first home loss to a non-power conference team since it fell to Southern Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1991.
New Mexico State, on the other hand, will enjoy a 21-point win after losing its last three games to SEC opponents by an average margin of 42.3 points per game.
Aggies quarterback Diego Pavia was the star of the day. The senior completed 19 of his 28 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns and added 35 yards on the ground. Pavia found Eli Stowers for a 2-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2 with 8:42 left in the game to give his team a 24-7 lead, capping a 16-play, 83-yard drive that gobbled up 9:58 of the game clock. The drive was extended by a 23-yard run by upback Ron Tiavaasue on a fake punt on fourth-and-2 from the New Mexico State 42-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Auburn’s loss is a sobering follow-up to a 48-10 road win over Arkansas a week ago to earn bowl eligibility in coach Hugh Freeze’s debut. A clash with arch-rival Alabama is up next for Auburn to close out the regular season.
“As good as last week felt and as complete as we played in all three phases, it was the exact opposite today,” Freeze said. “And it is very disappointing. Our university deserves a better effort than that, and that’s my job to make sure they give that, and we did not today.”
New Mexico State has now won seven straight games and is 9-3 on the season. That comes after a 7-6 season in 2023 that included a win over Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl and a 49-14 win over a Liberty team that was coached by Freeze.