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Hamblin's kick seals victory for Utah St.

Utah State wide receiver Tony Pennyman runs in a touchdown Saturday in USU's 24-21 season-ending victory at New Mexico State.
Utah State wide receiver Tony Pennyman runs in a touchdown Saturday in USU's 24-21 season-ending victory at New Mexico State.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — When Utah State kicker Justin Hamblin stepped into the huddle just before attempting a field goal with 1:16 left against New Mexico State, he didn't sound like a player who had missed two field goals earlier in the game.

"Tony Pennyman asked me if I had ever made a game-winning field goal and I said, "No, but I'm about to,' " Hamblin told KVNU radio.

Hamblin, who missed from 22 yards and 37 yards earlier in the contest, drilled a 32-yarder to lift the Aggies to a 24-21 victory Saturday over New Mexico State in Las Cruces. The win also snapped a six-game losing streak and a 10-game road losing streak.

"I was trying to leave those two that I had missed and focused on the kick I was about to make," he said.

The Aggies end the season 3-8 overall and 2-6 in their first year in the Western Athletic Conference, while New Mexico State went winless at 0-12, 0-8. It was NMSU's 13th consecutive defeat, dating back to its season-ending loss to Utah State in the 2004 season finale in Logan.

Hamblin's first miss (22 yards) came right before the half and could have broken a 14-14 tie. He also had a chance to break a 21-21 tie eight minutes earlier but couldn't connect on a 37-yarder.

For the year, Hamblin went 6-14. He was 1 of 3 from 20-29 yards; 3 of 5 from 30-39 yards; 0 of 4 from 40-49 yards, and 1-1 from 50-plus.

Hamblin also had a splendid game punting with a season-long 55-yarder. He had three punts for an average of 44.3 yards.

Freshman Jerod Walker, in his second career start, completed 14 of 20 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

He also rushed for 102 yards. Running back Ryan Bohm rushed for 79 yards on 19 carries. In all, the Aggies tallied 395 yards total offense.

Pennyman recorded five catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns, and Kevin Robinson tallied three catches for 48 yards.

Utah State led 7-0 on a 1-yard run by Bohm following a New Mexico

State turnover. New Mexico scored 14 unanswered points before Pennyman's 40-yard reception for a touchdown tied the score at 14 with 6:41 left in the half.

The score stayed tied until Pennyman hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Ten minutes later, NMSU tied the score on a 3-yard pass from Royal Foley to Brandon Allen.

Following the equalizer, Utah State marched 80 yards on 11 plays to set up Hamblin's game-winning score. Walker rushed for 16 yards and completed two passes for 21 yards in the drive. The Aggies were also aided by a pass-interference call.

Utah State's Terrance Washington recorded his second interception of the year to thwart New Mexico State's final drive.

Jake Hutton and Matt Wiser had 12 tackles each, while John Chick had seven tackles and three sacks, bringing his season total to 12 1/2.