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LAS CRUCES — The New Mexico State University football team opened its season with a big 49-19 victory over Sacramento State at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley and sophomore wide receiver Austin Franklin led the Aggie offense with career-high performances. Manley finished with a career-high 367 passing yards and three touchdowns on a 14-of-22 showing through the air. Franklin recorded a career-high 236 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, junior linebacker Trashaun Nixon led the team with 15 tackles, his first career double-digit tackle performance. Junior linebacker Bryan Bonilla and senior safety Davis Cazares also finished with double-digit tackles. Bonilla finished with 11 tackles, his second career double-digit tackle performance, while Davis finished with 10, his first career double-figures performance.
Following a missed field goal attempt on Sacramento State's first drive, the Aggies took advantage, capping a five play, 79-yard drive with a 52-yard Manley pass to Franklin for a touchdown.
Manley again found Franklin for a 50-yard pass that put the ball on the Hornets' 19-yard line early in the second quarter.
Following a pass interference call on Sacramento State's Todd Davis in the end zone, running back Tiger Powell punched it in for his first career touchdown, giving the Aggies a 14-0 lead.
Manley threw his second long touchdown of the game when he found junior wide receiver Jerrel Brown on a 50-yard pass play on NMSU's next possession. The catch was Brown's longest reception of his career.
Sacramento State finally got on the board with 2:35 left in the half, when Castaneda hit a 32-yard field goal to cut into NM State's lead, 21-3.
It took only two plays, however, for the Aggies to strike right back. Manley connected with Franklin once again, this time for an 84-yard touchdown pass that gave NMSU a commanding 28-3 lead.