The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelinas (2-1) went blow-for-blow with the nationally-ranked #12 Mid- western State Mustangs (2-0) Saturday night. A field goal in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter sealed the Hoggies’ 20th straight regular season Lone Star Conference loss, 32-30.
The Javelinas established a “three yards and a cloud of dust” game plan early on.
On their opening drive 10 of their 13 plays were rushing attempts, capped off with a 30-yard Myles Carr scramble for the touchdown.
The Mustangs moved down the field on the ensuing drive with the same ease as the Hoggies.
A clutch tackle for a loss by Joe Crowe, however, halted Midwestern’s advance, resulting in a field goal.
The Mustangs did not muster much else in the first half as the Javelina de- fense shut them down.
Defensive back Emond Hobbs was the standout player on defense, netting five tackles and two interceptions on the night.
Marching deep into MSU territory, but ultimately failing to score a touch- down became a common theme for the Javelina offense.
One such instance came early in the second quarter when a perfect pass went in and out of the hands of tight end Stehly Reden, forcing a chip shot field goal to extend the Hoggie lead to 10-3.
Midwestern played a sloppy first half–a safety off a botched snap mid- way through the second quarter, for example.
Now with a 15-3 lead and field position at midfield, TAMUK once again made a slow and methodological march down field.
Carr got his team right up to the Midwestern four-yard line and lobbed a pass to his receiver in the back of the end zone, but defensive back Cullen Craft was on him and snatched the ball from his grasp, giving Carr his first in- terception since Oct. 31 last year against none other than Midwestern State. The defense stifled the Mustangdrive, however, and sent the Javelinas into the second half with a two-score lead.
The wheels started to fall off for the Javelina defense almost immediately in the second half.
The Mustangs stormed 65 yards down the field on five plays, capped off by a Vincent Johnson 36-yard tear for the touchdown.
Greg Pitre coughed up the ball on the first play of the ensuing drive at the Javelina 23.
The Mustangs took over and Quade Coward scrambled into the end zone for 22 yards and Midwestern’s second touchdown in under two minutes.
After a Julio De la Garza field goal put the score at 18-15 Mustangs, Mid- western pushed down the field and scored off a Vincent Johnson rush.
After the failed two-point conver- sion, the Javelinas had the ball at their own 33, down by four.
A screen pass to Anthony Autry, however, was muffed and picked up by the Mustangs who scored their fourth touchdown of the quarter.
Down 29-18, the Javelinas started to show signs of life in the final quarter.
Reden got his redemption off a sev- en-yard touchdown pass from Carr.
The two-point conversion failed and the Mustangs looked to strike a mortal blow on the ensuing drive.
With the ball on the Kingsville five-yard line, Coward lofted it to the left side of the end zone right into the hands of Hobbs for his second intercep- tion.
The Javelinas finally took back the lead when Nick Pelrean pumped his feet and brawled his way three yards for a touchdown on a fourth down with under two minutes remaining.
But the defense was not able to hold back the Mustang offensive attack, as a deep 49-yard pass was completed to Xavier Land to put Midwestern in field goal range for the win.
Coach Daren Wilkinson and compa- ny stuck to their guns the entire game, rushing 52 times for 219 yards and 4.2-yards-a-carry between five different rushers.
Likewise, the Javelinas dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for 41 minutes.
Myles Carr did not look as sharp as he did against UIW and Simon Fraser, throwing 19-31 for 200 yards, a touch- down and an interception against a stiff defense.
The Hoggie defense limited Coward to 222 yards through the air, but was gashed for 215 net rushing yards and four touchdowns.
The Javelinas have continued to clean up their game, committing only three penalties for 30 yards compared to five penalties the previous week and nine versus UIW
This is A&M Kingsville’s 20th con- secutive regular season LSC loss, their last win stemming from Eastern New Mexico on November 10, 2012.
The Javelinas look to close that dubious streak once and for all versus Texas A&M University-Commerce this Saturday in Commerce, Texas.