The Rio Grande Rivalry: A Decades-Old Clash

By Jon Roberts Photo courtesy of NMSU

It was on a crisp Thanksgiving Day on November 29, 1917, that the 10th meeting between New Mexico Agriculture College and New Mexico Lobos kicked off at Miller Field. UNM was known in those days as the Varsity team and was small but fast while the College, as NMSU was referred to, had both bigger athletes and team speed.

This football game started off much like any other game. The Aggies kicked off promptly at 2 to the Lobos. The Varsity went 3 and out and punted to College. On their first offensive series, the Aggies’ Bob Foster scored on the fifth play from scrimmage. Foster kicked and made his first point after touchdown and the rout was on. In 1917 after a score, the team that gave up the score had the option of receiving or kicking off. Varsity received and ran the ball back to the 20-yard line. UNM went nowhere and elected to go for a first down instead of punting. Varsity was unsuccessful and the Aggies offense was in great position for another score. 

Five plays later Oliver Lohman scored and Foster's PAT was good as the College expanded the lead to 14-0. L.S. Ousterhout scored back to back touchdowns, Weaver Hedgecoxe threw a 20-yard pass to team captain Bob Foster, Ousterhout scored again and Lohman scored his second touchdown as College led 48-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Aggies continue their scoring bout. After both teams were stopped on downs, Ousterhout scored on a pass from Hedgecoxe and Foster's PAT improved their position to 55-0. The Aggies scored two more times before halftime when Leon Robbins recovered a Varsity fumble and ran for a touchdown and Weaver Hedgecoxe intercepted a Varsity pass for another College touchdown. At this point the Aggies led 69-0 at the half.

With the comfortable lead, Coach J.C Griffith rested Foster, Charles O'Hara, Elza White, and Noel Blazer in the third quarter. The Lobos scored on a 25-yard drop kick field goal but the Aggies responded with a Paul Harris interception touchdown. Another touchdown ended the 3rd quarter with the Aggies leading 89-3.

Griffith reinserted the four rested starters and Foster and company scored three more times to complete the 110-3 one sided game. In all, New Mexico Agriculture totaled 16 touchdowns. Seven of the touchdowns were by team captain Bob Foster, who also had 14 out of 16 Point-After-Touchdowns. L. S. Ousterhout scored four touchdowns, Oliver Lohman with two and Leon Robbins, Paul Harris, and Weaver Hedgecoxe each had one touchdown. Unfortunately, individual records were not kept in 1917. If they had been kept, Bob Foster would hold the record with the Aggies for most rushing yards in a game, most touchdowns in a game, and most PATs.

The results of this game and the 110-3 rout helped intensify the Rio Grande Rivalry. And although UNM has dominated the rivalry since the end of WWII, NMSU lays claim to the greatest one sided football game between the Aggies and Lobos.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Aggies’ largest margin of victory over the Lobos. The rivalry between NMSU and UNM dates back to January 1, 1894. Since then, every year the two teams, and their fans, clash in an effort to claim superiority over the other. 

This season, the Aggies are off to their best start since 2002 with a 2-2 record. Their second game they traveled to Albuquerque to, once again, battle it out with UNM. The Aggies controlled the game and led 30-5 before allowing the Lobos to get back into the game. The Aggies ultimately held off the Lobos to win 30-28. Not a big margin, but we’ll take it and till the next time these two meet…

“…we’ll drink it to the Aggies ‘till we wobble in our shoes!”

Fall 2017

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