ACU football: Wildcats re-Gale opening victory - Ken Corbitt, Abilene Reporter News
TOPEKA, Kan. — Washburn was attempting to establish itself as a proven contender on the NCAA Division II regional and national football scene. Abilene Christian was looking to reinforce its reputation as a power, building on four straight playoff appearances. The No. 9 Ichabods may have gained some measure of respect but the No. 6 Wildcats held firm for a 34-26 win Saturday at Yager Stadium in ACU’s season opener.
Wildcats sophomore Mitchell Gale completed 24-of-30 passes for three scorees without an interception as he led the Wildcats to their third-straight season-opening victory over a team from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Abilene Christian scored 17 straight points in the first half to take a 17-6 lead and never trailed.
“It’s an exciting win for us, mainly because we have such tremendous respect for Coach (Craig) Schurig and his program,” ACU coach Chris Thomsen said. “We feel fortunate to come up here and get a win. It means a lot for our team to start the season like that.”
Gale picked apart the Ichabod defense, missing on only six attempts.
“Since last season we thought he has matured and we were hopeful tonight he would put together that kind of performance, so we’re super proud of him,” Thomsen said. “The people around him really stepped up. The O-line did a good job and Daryl Richardson, and so did the receivers. It was a collective good effort.”
Last-minute victory - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Saturday night’s Lone Star Conference crossover game between Angelo State and Eastern New Mexico was the shootout many expected.
But it was ASU — led by returnees Josh Neiswander, V’Keon Lacey and Dakarai Pecikonis along with newcomer Tristan Carter — that fired the last shot.
Neiswander hit Carter on a screen pass and the junior transfer found his way into the end zone with 32 seconds remaining to give the Rams a 41-38 victory at San Angelo Stadium. The winning touchdown came just a couple of minutes after ENMU took its first lead of the game on a short run.
“It is something we work on every week,” Neiswander said of the game-winning drive in the final minutes. “As a quarterback, it is something you cherish. It is something you want. You want the ball in your hands.”
Neiswander finished with 300 yards and five touchdowns. But it was his passes in the final two minutes that were the biggest.
Running back shines in first game - Mike Whitson, San Angelo Standard Times
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Tristan Carter didn’t wait too long to make an impression on the 3,211 Angelo State University faithful who showed up for the football team’s home opener Saturday night.
With the outcome of the game hanging perilously in the balance as the Rams trailed 38-34 in the waning minutes, Carter took a short screen pass from Josh Nieswander and raced 10 yards for the game-winning score.
“I was amped up,” Carter said minutes after sealing the victory for ASU. “I was glad they called it, because I knew it was going to be wide open.”
In his very first game to don the blue and gold, Carter finished with 120 yards on just 18 carries, becoming the first Ram to surpass the century mark since Daniel Thomas went for 108 against Tarleton State on Oct.30, 2008.
“Tristan has been making impressions on (coaching staff) every day in practice,” ASU offensive coordinator Scott Clough said. “I thought he really gave us a lift tonight.
LSC Football: ACU tops Washburn, 34-26, in battle of top ten teams
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Abilene Christian sophomore quarterback Mitchell Gale threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night as the sixth-ranked Wildcats marched into Yager Stadium and knocked off No. 9 Washburn, 34-26, in their season-opener.
Gale completed 24 of 30 passes and didn't turn the ball over as he led the Wildcats to their third-straight season-opening victory over a team from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. The Wildcats (1-0) will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to Tahlequah, Okla., to take on Northeastern State in a Lone Star Conference crossover game.
Gale threw a pair of touchdown passes to Edmund Gates, the first from 51 yards away to make it a 17-6 lead with 1:18 to play in the first half, and the other from 41 yards out with 4:23 to play to give the Wildcats a 34-19 lead, effectively sealing the win. Gale also threw a 4-yard scoring pass to senior Emery Dudensing, the first touchdown of his career.
Washburn was able to cut ACU's lead to 24-19 at the end of the third quarter before he Wildcats responded with an eight-play, 28-yard drive that culminated in a 33-yard field goal from Morgan Lineberry to give ACU a 27-19 lead. The Wildcats then forced a punt and capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive with the 41-yard touchdown pass from Gale to Gates that sealed it.
Daryl Richardson led the Wildcats with 74 yards on 21 carries, while Gates had five catches for 138 yards and the two touchdowns.
Texas A&M-Commerce 33, Upper Iowa 10
Texas A&M-Commerce scored 33 unanswered second-half points, including an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by freshman Kenzee Jackson to start the final 20 minutes en route to a 33-10 win over Upper Iowa in the season opener on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
A&M-Commerce (1-0) found themselves behind by a 10-0 margin after the opening half before the rookie from Arlington streaked down the middle of the field for the touchdown to spark his Lions' teammates.
Upper Iowa (0-1) got on the board on their first drive of the game when Ben Curran connected on a 49-yard touchdown reception to John Baldwin to put the visiting Peacocks up by a 7-0 margin. A 42-yard field goal by Tyler Parmenter, late in the second quarter, put the Lions down by 10.
The Lions outgained the Peacocks by a 422 to 371 margin, including 289 passing yards from Adam Farkes on 27 of 46 passing. A&M-Commerce recorded 26 first down compared to 17 by Upper Iowa. Sophomore Danny Mason had a game-high 13 tackles, including three for minus yardage in his first collegiate start for A&M-Commerce. The win extends the Lions record to 25-13-2 in season openers played at home.
In the first half, two Lions drives were ended when Adam Farkes was intercepted; however, the A&M-Commerce offense and defense rallied behind the senior quarterback.
The kickoff return by Jackson energized the Lions to start the second half. Despite a failed point-after attempt, on their second possession of the final 20 minutes, A&M-Commerce went to junior running back Marcus Graham, who picked up 32 yards, including a four-yard jaunt into the end zone for the first lead of the night for the Lions. Also, during the drive, Farkes connected with Jackson on a 30-yard pass and catch on a 3rd and 6 for only the second third-down conversion of the game at that time for the Lions.
With a slight 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter, the Lions scored 20 points in the fourth quarter. After forcing the Peacocks to punt, the Lions marched down the field on a seven play, 71-yard drive that ended when Graham found the end zone for the second time from three yards out. A key play on the drive for A&M-Commerce was when Upper Iowa was called for pass interference on a 3rd and 6 when a pass by Farkes intended for Joe Paul Pryor.
The defense got into the scoring act, later in the quarter, when A.J. Billings picked off a Curran pass and alertly pitched the ball to teammate Chez Thomas, who found the end zone to put the Lions in front by a 26-10 margin. The final score came when redshirt freshman La'Ryon Witherspoon broke through the right side of the offensive line from 39 yards for his first collegiate touchdown.
Next on the schedule for the Lions is Angelo State in the 2010 Harvey Martin Classic at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday September 11th at 5 pm in Dallas.
Fort Hays State downs ECU, 45-23
HAYS, Kansas - The high-powered offense of Fort Hays State continued its usual form behind quarterback Mike Garrison Saturday night at Lewis Field Stadium.
Garrison threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another as FHSU knocked off visiting East Central University 45-23. ECU has now lost five straight season openers and has dropped 14 straight contests, dating back to the 2008 season.
Garrison was 16-of-25 passing with one interception, a pickoff by ECU's Austin Daniels. Garrison tossed scoring passes of 66, 16 and 80 yards to O.J. Murdock while hooking up with Cordarol Scales on scoring aerials of 13 and 34 yards.
Garrison scored off a 7-yard scoring run late in the game to cap off the FHSU scoring.
ECU quarterback Tyler Vanderzee had a solid game of his own in a losing cause, converting 20-of-31 passes for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns of 44 yards to Zack Patteson and 74 to John Gaines.
Charles Opeseyitan added a 1-yard scoring run for ECU and the visitors picked up two more points off a safety after a blocked punt by Ryan Madison. Patteson finished with eight catches for 132 yards and the one touchdown.
Murdock had just four receptions for FHSU. However, he led the game in receiving yards with 175 to go with his three scores. Opeseyitan finished with 53 yards on 14 carries with the touchdown, but as a team ECU averaged just 2.6 yards per carry.
ECU punter Ryan Massengale punted eight times for a 47.8 yard average and had one 70-yard boot.
Defensively, Kerel James topped ECU with eight tackles, including three solo, and Amos Cherry registered seven tackles (two unassisted) with two stops for lost yards. Madison ended up with four tackles (two solo) to go with his block, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss.
ECU entertains Texas A&M-Kingsville for its home opener next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Norris Field in Ada.
Carter, Rams Hold Off Eastern New Mexico, 41-38
SAN ANGELO, Texas – Tristan Carter wowed with his first touch and plowed with his last, punching across a nine-yard touchdown pass from Josh Neiswander with 32 seconds left in the game to give Angelo State a 41-38 season-opening win over Eastern New Mexico at San Angelo Stadium Saturday.
Carter, a junior running back playing in his first game as a Ram, logged 59 yards on his first career carry but it was his last touch that proved most important. Carter became the first Angelo State running back to rush for more than 100 yards since 2008, and helped ASU erase a 38-34 deficit with time waning.
Angelo State (1-0) led by as many as 14 points with 3:54 left in the first half (21-7), but the high-powered Greyhound (1-1) offense wouldn’t give up. Wesley Wood hit Chase Kyser from three yards out with 1:43 left in the half to cut the deficit to a single score, and the Greyhounds outscored the Rams 10-6 out of the break to pull within three at 27-24.
Angelo State stretched the lead back to 10 after a 41-yard strike from Neiswander to Pecikones, who made a pair of one-handed grabs in the contest, early in the fourth quarter. Wood answered for ENMU with his fourth touchdown pass of the game and the Greyhounds took their first lead after a three-yard run by Melvis Hawkins with 2:30 left on the game clock.
The Rams turned to their two-minute offense and under Neiswander’s direction, marched 54 yards downfield for the score. Neiswander avoided pressure on the Rams final play to find Carter for the first time, open on the right side.
Eastern New Mexico attempted four passes on its final possession, the last picked off by ASU cornerback Markeith Jones as time expired.
Neiswander finished the game 28-of-48 for 331 yards and hit five different receivers for scores. Carter led Angelo State’s rushing attack with 118 yards on 21 carries. Pecikones had 151 receiving yards on seven catches and senior wide out V’Keon Lacey caught seven balls for 74 yards.
Wood surpassed 300 yards for the second-consecutive contest and found his favorite target, Jesse Poku, eight times for 101 yards.
Angelo State continues Lone Star Conference crossover play next weekend against Texas A&M Commerce in the Cotton Bowl for the third annual Harvey Martin Classic. Eastern New Mexico will host Midwestern State in Portales, N.M., next Saturday.
Gridiron Greyhounds Drop Heartbreaker at Angelo State
SAN ANGELO, TEXAS— Melvis Hawkins (So., RB, Hale Center, Texas/Hale Center HS) covered 33 yards over two plays, scoring a three-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, to give the Eastern New Mexico University football team (1-1) a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s Lone Star Conference crossover game at Angelo State (1-0). The Rams immediately responded with a 54-yard scoring play, snatching a 41-38 victory from the Greyhounds at San Angelo Stadium.
After quarterback Josh Neiswander staked ASU to a 6-0 lead, with the Rams missing the extra point, Wesley Wood (So., QB, Muleshoe, Texas/Muleshoe HS) capped a five-play, 65-yard drive with a six-yard scoring pass to Carl Bouldin (Jr., WR, San Antonio, Texas/Converse Judson HS). The extra point gave Eastern their first lead of the game, 7-6.
Angelo State scored the next two touchdowns to build a 21-7 lead, but Wood found Chase Kyser (So., WR, Roswell, N.M./Goddard HS) from three yards out to trim the Hounds deficit to a single touchdown with 1:43 left in the opening half. When the second half started, the Hounds drove 57 yards for a 28-yard Taylor Cannon (Jr., K, Los Lunas, N.M./Los Lunas HS) field goal, to pull within 21-17.
The teams traded scores down the stretch, with Arvin Jackson’s (So., WR, Houston, Texas/Westside HS) 11-yard touchdown reception with 7:27 left in the game pulling the Greyhounds to within three points, 34-31. Facing a second down and 10-yards to go at the Angelo State 33-yard line, Hawkins broke a number of tackles on a 30-yard run to the Ram three-yard line, setting up his go-ahead touchdown plunge.
The Rams received the kickoff at their own 46-yard line and were aided by a roughing the passer penalty, which allowed the game-winning drive to start on the Eastern 39-yard line. Neiswander completed all four passes on the drive, including a nine-yard scoring toss to Tristan Carter. Ryan Smith lofted a high kick off, which was fair caught by Eli Finch (So., WR, Farmington, N.M./Piedra Vista HS) at the Greyhound 27-yard line. On fourth down, Wood was intercepted by Markeith Jones to end the game.
The Greyhounds found the endzone on four of their five trips to the redzone and unofficially (pending statistical changes), passed for 437 yards. Wood threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns, while Jesse Poku (Sr., WR, Murphy, Texas/Richardson HS) hauled in eight passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Darian Dale (Jr., WR, Bay City, Texas/Bay City HS) caught seven passes for 135 yards. Tony Valenzuela () rushed for 43 of the Hounds’ 120 yards on the ground. Perron Sellers (Jr., LB, La Marque, Texas/La Marque HS/Fullerton JC) led Eastern with nine tackles, while Ian Ogando (So., DT, La Porte, Texas/La Porte HS) forced a fumble.
The Eastern New Mexico University football team will return to Blackwater Draw, next Saturday, when they host 17th-ranked Midwestern State. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. MST.
Fowler convinced young team will improve after loss
By BRAD KEITH
With 27 freshmen and only 10 seniors on his roster, first-year Tarleton State head coach Cary Fowler knew there would be some growing pains.
He didn't, however, think his Texans would fall to Northeastern State in their opener Thursday.
But Northeastern, thanks largely to a 95-yard kickoff return by former Texan Nate Robinson, pulled off a 33-21 upset at Tarleton Memorial Stadium.
The most obvious youthful mistake was kicking it to Robinson to begin with. Tarleton had just scored a touchdown and a field goal to cut a 24-7 deficit to 24-16 with seven minutes still to play.
"We weren't going to kick it to him at all," Fowler said. "I said all week I think he's one of the best kick returners I've ever seen at this level."
Not that true freshman Blake Wiest had a poor game. The Henrietta native hit two of three field goals to help Tarleton have a shot in the fourth quarter.
Dropped passes - nine of them, including three on third downs and two in the end zone - haunted the Tarleton offense all night. The Texans' comeback hopes faded when Arthur Buckingham had a fourth-down pass go in and out of his hands with 1:39 remaining.
Quarterback Nick Stephens, a transfer from Tennessee, was 19-40 for 255 yards despite the drops. Aaron Doyle backed Stephens up in the fourth and was 3-7 with a drop.
The Texans, who look to bounce back at Central Oklahoma Saturday, out-gained Northeastern by a 463-287 margin.
"We did a lot of things well and there are a lot of positives to build on," Fowler said.
The biggest of the bright spots was UTEP transfer Jeken Frye, who hauled in 11 receptions for 215 yards, the fourth-highest single-game total in school history. Frye had touchdown receptions covering 48 and 60 yards, both in the fourth quarter.
Senior defensive end Jamaal Steamer was another positive. Steamer, who completed his business degree in August and was awarded a final season of eligibility by the NCAA, made 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.
Tarleton's run defense was solid, holding Northeastern to just 94 yards on 37 attempts.