The Hogs closed out the fourth week of the season falling to a 1-3 record in a 31-22 loss to the University of West Alabama at Javelina Stadium on Saturday.
Concerns on special teams proved to be the Achilles heel for the Hogs, along with the recurring problem yellow flags all over the field.
West Alabama took the lead early in the first, after a Garrett Mattix 39 yard field goal split the upright and gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead. The two teams traded blows consistently, but progress on offense could not be made by either team. With 5:28 left in the first quarter, Greg Pitre mishandled a punt that was recovered by the Tigers, but with nothing earned as the Hoggie defense forced a quick three-and-out. Then two possessions later, Lamont Hills of the Javelinas intercepted a pass on an errand throw by Trent Thompson, but an illegal block in the back call sent the Hogs back into tough, but reasonable field position on their 43 yard line.
The mental mistakes of the Hogs would begin to run a negative course on the field, and on the scoreboard.
The Javelinas would begin the second quarter in the middle of the first lengthy drive of the game, but would have it short lived after a 41 yard field goal attempt is blocked by the Tigers. On the previous play, it appeared Myles Carr’s pass to Roe Posada would have been a touchdown, but upon escaping pressure, Carr’s throw was flung past the line of scrimmage, which would result in a penalty that would call back the play and blow the chances of a potential shot back into the endzone.
Two possessions later, after a TAMUK punt, a face mask penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag were added on to already great field position for the Tigers. This allowed for a first and ten on the TAMUK eight-yard line, and lead to the first touchdown of the game. The Javelinas never saw the lead from that point on.
“This is going to sound bad, but it is the truth, we were the better football team.” Said Head Coach Daren Wilkinson of the loss. “The time they did score as an offense, was because our punter kicked the ball to (Hill) when he was supposed to kick it out of bounds all game long[…] but if our guy kicks it out of bounds, there’s no penalties, they get the ball on the 50 yard line, and they can’t move the ball.”
That proved to be the case and story for the remainder of the game. The Hoggies struggled on special teams, trying to keep former All-Big 12 Second Team Specialist Tyreek Hill, from single handedly creating a frenzy as Coach Wilkinson put it
“… bouncing around like a video game.”
Hill had a total of 206 All-purpose yards and two Touchdowns on back-to-back kickoff returns of more than 70+ yards. Coach Wilkinson was ashamed to admit that the game plan to contain Hill fell short of successful.
“I don’t have enough digits on my fingers or toes to count how many missed tackles we had[…] It comes down to (this). When you got a guy wrapped up, make the tackle. We had hands on him (and) we had opportunities to tackle him, (but) we did not take advantage of them.”
One positive takeaway from Saturday was the career night starting quarterback Myles Carr had through the air, accumulating 392 yards on 25 completions on 47 attempts, neatly padded with three touchdowns, but plagued with two late interceptions, including the final throw of the game which allowed the Tigers to take a knee and close it. The Javelinas will look to bounce back when they visit the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds this Saturday at Blackwater Stadium at 7:00 P.M.