Utah State clinches berth in Mountain West title game with 35-10 thumping of New Mexico

Utah State wide receiver Derek Wright (8) celebrates with teammate Deven Thompkins (13) after scoring a touchdown against New Mexico during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West in the conference’s preseason media polls, Utah State proved its doubters wrong Friday in the Land of Enchantment.

Grad junior quarterback Logan Bonner passed for 306 yards and a career-high five touchdowns, senior wide receiver Deven Thompkins set the single-season school record for yards receiving and the Aggies clinched a berth in the Mountain West championship game with a 35-10 victory over New Mexico at University Stadium.

The Aggies (9-3, 6-2 Mountain West) have won six of their last seven games to secure their first appearance in the conference championship game since 2013, their inaugural season in the MW. They will face No. 22 San Diego State (11-1, 7-1), which clinched the West Division with a come-from-behind 27-16 win over visiting Boise State on Friday.

USU and SDSU will square off on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m. (MT), at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The Lobos (3-9, 1-7) ended their season with four-straight losses and were outscored 137-34 (update with today’s result) in that stretch.

Thompkins caught five passes for 35 yards to set the school record for most receiving yards in a single season. He now has 1,543 on the year, surpassing the previous mark of 1,531 set by Kevin Curtis in 2021.

In just three quarters of work, Bonner was 16-of-23, throwing touchdown passes of 27, 39, 36, 76 and 10 yards, respectively, to tie the school record of five set by both Chuckie Keeton and Jordan Love. Bonner now has 32 touchdown passes on the season, which is tied with Love for the single-season school record.

Bonner staked the Aggies to a 28-0 lead at the break as he was 12-of-16 passing for 242 yards and a career-high-tying four touchdowns in the first half alone. Senior wide receiver Derek Wright was on the receiving end of three of those passes for 135 yards and two TDs – from 27 and 76 yards out, respectively.

Utah State’s defense, which allowed 44 points and 604 yards a week ago against Wyoming, stymied New Mexico all game long as the Lobos were held to just 186 yards of offense, including 101 on the ground.

Grad senior inside linebacker Justin Rice and grad senior defensive end Nick Heninger led all tacklers in the game with 10-apiece. Heninger was also credited with 3.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Grad junior safety Hunter Reynolds also recovered a fumble for the Aggies.

Senior wide receiver Derek Wright caught four passes for a career-high 150 yards and a career-high-tying two touchdowns. His first TD of the game, a 27-yarder, gave Utah State a 7-0 lead with 8:42 to go in the first quarter.

Bonner and the Aggies poured it on in the second quarter as the signal caller threw touchdown passes of 39 yards to grad senior wide receiver Jordan Nathan, 36 yards to grad senior wide receiver Brandon Bowling and a 76-yard bomb to Wright.

Utah State, which racked up 281 yards in the first half and held New Mexico to 63, led 28-0 at the break. The Aggies made it 35-0 with 5:57 left in the third quarter when Bonner put the exclamation point on his day with a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Justin McGriff.

With the win, Utah State became just the eighth team in school history to win nine or more games.

The Aggies have won five straight against the Lobos and improved to 15-13 all-time in the overall series.

For more information on the Utah State football program, follow the Aggies on Twitter at @USUFootball, on Facebook at USUFootball and on Instagram at USUFootball.

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