The Javelinas entered into the very hot Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium in San Antonio last Saturday, seeking revenge for a narrow loss to the University of the Incarnate Word last year. And vengeance was served, as the Hoggies bested the Division I FCS Cardinals in nearly every facet of the game in a 31-22 victory in the opening salvo of the 2016 season.
Kingsville struck first at the 5:42 mark in the first quarter on a 57-yard Myles Carr pass to Jordan Thomas for a touchdown.
The Cardinals would march their way down the field (with a little help from some Javelina penalties) and Trent Birttain would dart a two-yard pass to John Oglesby to even the score at seven.
The Javelinas wasted no time in the second quarter to take back the lead. Luis Lopez kicked up dust and brawled his way to the end zone on a three-yard rush to put Kingsville up, 14-7
That would be their sole rushing touchdown of the game as the Javelina rushing corps combined for 124 yards on 42 attempts. Greg Pitre spearheaded the rushing attack, going 86 yards on 20 attempts.
About midway through the 2nd quarter Kody Edwards broke through the Javelinas’ secondary, receiving a short pass from Brittain and taking it to the house for 83 yards.
The Javelinas managed to tag a 23-yard field goal off the foot of Julio De La Garza before the half ended, taking a 17-14 lead at halftime.
The Hoggies had a bit of a scare on the first drive of the second half. Carr tossed a pass to Anthony Autry in Cardinal, but Autry then coughed up the ball on the hit. UIW then picked it up and ran with it all the way to the end zone.
However, Kingsville caught a break when the referees called roughing the passer on UIW, and gave the ball back to the Javelinas who then failed to capitalize on the play.
In the waning minutes of the third quarter, Carr and Jordan Thomas made yet another touchdown connection to extend the Kingsville lead to 24-14.
The pair put together two touchdowns and 79 of Carr’s 313 yards. Again, the Cardinals were threatening, pushing into A&M Kingsville territory. Brittain connected with Kody Edwards for six yards, but Edwards was then lit up by Forrest Jones who forced a fumble that was then picked up by Devonte Williams.
A&M Kingsvile’s defense looked sharp and in mid-season form. The Javelinas stifled the Cardinals’ rushing attack, holding Incarnate Word to -26 yards on the ground. They also stepped up in clutch situations, limiting them to three third-down conversions in 13 attempts.
Myles Carr moved his team down the field with mechanical efficiency, capping the drive off with a 2-yard pass to Chris Cooper in the back of the endzone for his third touchdown throw of the game, extending the Kingsville lead 31-14
On the ensuing drive Brittain’s pass was intercepted by TAMU-Kingsville’s Justin Guillory, setting up the Hoggie offense on the UIW 27-yard line. However, the drive stalled out after a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty set them back.
UIW quickly struck back with a 77-yard Brittain-Jordan Hicks connection, that along with a successful two-point conversion put the Cardinals within nine, 31-22.
On the very next drive, Carr was strip sacked and Incarnate Word picked up the ball and took over at midfield,
But Javelina defense held firm in a clutch situation turning the ball over on downs back to Kingsville, who would end the game in victory formation.
Carr was money and never looked sharper on the field finishing the game completing 23 of his 28 passes after an 8-for-8 start.
His chief targets were Jordan Thomas (who averaged nearly 20 yards a reception, Anthony Autry (six receptions, 76 yards) and Torrey Thomas (four receptions for 57 yards.)
This is the first time the Javelinas beat a Division-I opponent since 2003.
“Offense made a couple of mistakes, but in the next series the defense was after the ball, and vice versa,” said QB Myles Carr about the game. “It just feels good when you make mistakes, [and] you got a team that’s going to pick you up[…] Last year we kind of dropped the ball a little bit, so it feels good to come [to Incarnate Word] and show them what we really [have].”
And even in all the spotlight with the win, Head Coach Darren Wilkinson saw some facets of the game that still needed improving.
“It’s one of those things where you get fired up that you got to win”, Wilkinson said after the game, “but now we have a lot to chew them out over next week so we can keep the edge on them[…] I’m [still] really happy, we got a good football team.”
The Javelina open their home season versus Simon Fraser. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Javelina Stadium.