Leathernecks Fall in Season Opener

LAS CRUCES, NM – The Western Illinois University football team opened the season on the road, making the long trip to New Mexico State. After playing NMSU close to even in the first half, the Aggies took control of the game in the second half, picking up a 58-21 win.

Western Illinois trailed 20-14 after a bruising 22-yard touchdown run by Ludovick Choquette with five seconds to go in the first half, but after the break, New Mexico State took control.

After falling behind 13-0, the Leathernecks went to work behind quarterback Matt Morrissey (16-30, 215 yards, two touchdowns), Choquette (11 carries, 37 yards, one touchdown), Donald McKinney (four catches, 52 yards, one touchdown; one catch, 20 yards) and Seth Glatz (three catches, 73 yards), as the offense began to fight their way back into the game.

Morrissey’s first touchdown pass to Jaylin Jackson cut the deficit to 13-7 early in the second quarter, answering a New Mexico State touchdown.

Defensively, Western Illinois controlled play in the second quarter after a slow start as safety Bradyn Smith recorded a career-high in tackles, finishing with 13 tackles, seven solo. Newcomer KJ Coleman added six tackles

After the half though, it was all Aggies as NMSU outscored Western Illinois 58-7.

New Mexico outgained the Leathernecks 650-251 for the game, including outrushing Western Illinois 270-36.

Western Illinois is next in action next Saturday, hosting Illinois State at 3 p.m. for Senior Day.

NOTES: The four receptions and 52 yards were Leatherneck highs for McKinney … Smith’s 13 tackles also were a career high … The touchdown for Choquette was his first since a reception in November of 2021. It was his first rushing touchdown since September of 2021

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