LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Taisun Phommachanh passed for 192 yards and added a rushing touchdown, Kay'Ron Lynch-Adams scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and UMass defeated New Mexico State 41-30 in a season opener on Saturday night.
Phommachanh ran 26 yards on a fourth-and-seven play midway through the fourth quarter to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Lynch-Adams that gave the Minutemen a 10-point lead. On New Mexico State's ensuing possession, Isaiah Rutherford intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards to give UMass a 34-17 lead with 6:40 remaining.
The back-to-back touchdowns came after New Mexico State drew within 20-17 on a 42-yard deep ball from Diego Pavia to Trent Hudson, who made a leaping grab in front of a teammate for the touchdown. New Mexico State connected on another deep route, Pavia throwing 40 yards to Jordin Parker to make it 34-24 with 4:35 remaining.
UMass added a 21-yard touchdown run by Lynch-Adams two plays after a fumble by Pavia that was recovered by Billy Wooden at the NMSU 24.
New Mexico State added a 1-yard scoring pass from Pavia to Hudson on the final play.
Phommachanh, a transfer who previously played at Georgia Tech and Clemson, completed 10 of 17 passes for 192 yards and added 92 yards on the ground.
Pavia went 16-for-27 passing for 248 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
New Mexico State's Monte Watkins, a sprinter on the MSU track team, scampered 80 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 7 in the second quarter. Watkins finished with 95 yards rushing on two carries.
Massachusetts has a revamped roster that includes 15 transfers after going 1-11 last season.
New Mexico State was coming off a promising 7-6 season in 2022 that included a 24-19 victory over Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl.