Freshman running back Donnel Pumphrey rushed for a career-high 167 yards and three touchdowns, leading San Diego State (1-3) to a come-from-behind victory over New Mexico State (0-5) Saturday night in Las Cruces.
Pumphrey rushed 19 times for an average of 8.8 yards a carry and Quinn Kaelher threw 22 of 34 for 229 yards over the 60 minutes, with most of the production coming in the second half of the game.
Once again the Aztecs started with a disastrous game with the Aggies scoring on their first three possessions. The Aggies (0-5) scored 16 unanswered points in the first half including a 15-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Quarterback Andrew McDonald, son of former USC QB Paul McDonald controlled the first 25 minutes of the first half until the Aztecs blocked an extra point attempt and ran it back for two points.
That one play changed the game momentum, the Aztec defense stepped up and the offense was able to move the chains. Up until then the Aggies had 170 yards of offense and the Aztecs just 12. San Diego State blocked the extra point attempt for a safety to get on the scoreboard, followed by a Wes Feer field goal to trail 16-5 at halftime.
San Diego State continued the comeback in the second half with two Pumphrey rushing touchdowns. The two-point conversion on the first failed, but the attempt on the second was good, giving the Aztecs a 19-16 lead. A final Pumphrey touchdown late in the fourth sealed the Aztec's first 2013 win. Pumphery has already been compared to former San Diego State superstar Ronnie Hillman with his build, speed, quickness and ability to make plays in space.
Pumphrey rushed for a career-high 167 yards and three touchdowns, and was just the spark plug that a struggling San Diego State offense needed to take down winless New Mexico State 26-16 in Las Cruces on Saturday evening and give SDSU its first win of the season. His 167 yards were the most by an Aztec freshman since Hillman had 228 yards in the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl against Navy.
"He did a nice job of running the ball," head coach Rocky Long said. "Obviously there are some holes because the offensive line must have done a pretty good job of blocking, too. So he got out in the open field and he's fast enough that he can outrun some people but he also ran it really well up inside the tackles I thought."