LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico State football returned to the practice field on Wednesday after a week off to start preparing for the Quick Lane Bowl vs. Bowling Green in Detroit on Dec. 26.
The Aggies (6-6) won five of their final six games; a big reason why was the play of quarterback Diego Pavia, who was injured Dec. 3 in NMSU’s win over Valparaiso.
Pavia got hurt at the end of a long run that was called back due to a penalty, pulling up with a hamstring injury. He eventually got up and walked off the field under his own power but did not return to the game.
He said that day that he’d play in the bowl game and Wednesday, 12 days before the Quick Lane Bowl, both Pavia and head coach Jerry Kill reiterated he was healing well and would be ready to go vs. Bowling Green.
“He’s about 90 percent; he will be ready to play unless he has a setback,” Kill said. “We are going to be really careful with him and everything. We have to give (freshman Gavin Frakes) a few more reps.”
Pavia said he’d been rehabbing since the injury, both in Las Cruces and back home in Albuquerque. There was still no doubt in his mind that he’d play in the bowl game and Pavia took first team reps on Wednesday. If he’s fully healthy, his mobility could be a weapon for NMSU to use against a Falcons defense with 37 sacks.
“Today was just really getting back into things,” Pavia said. “It’s really just working on the neck up and all of the mental stuff that we are getting prepared for. We are working on ourselves and then we have our game plan for Bowling Green. We are going to develop a great game plan. It really just comes down to executing it.”
Pavia accounted for 11 total touchdowns and almost 700 combined yards (rushing and passing) in NMSU’s final two regular season games vs. Liberty and Valparaiso. He also didn’t turn the ball over in either game.
NMSU and Bowling Green (6-6) will square off in the Quick Lane Bowl at 12:30 p.m. MT on Dec. 26 in Detroit. The game will air on ESPN.