For the first time in eight years the 24th– ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelina (2-0) football team knocked off the 9th-ranked Abilene Christian Wildcats(1-1) in what was the final meeting between these two teams as Lone Star Conference rivals with a slim 16-13 victory at Shotwell Stadium on Saturday Sept. 8th.
After going down by six thanks in part to a quick Wildcat touchdown and a missed PAT, the Javelina defense spurred the comeback from that 6-0 deficit with a stifling defensive effort allowing just 224 total yards in the game. They allowed just three yards of offense and no first downs to the Wildcats in the second and third quarters.
“Our defense played sound and furious, they were real good and fast and showed up big when we needed to,” said Linebacker Jeremy Aguilar.
The Javelina offense overcame another slow start and penalties to put 16 unanswered points on the board for a 16-6 lead early in the fourth quarter on Matt Stoll’s third field goal of the game with 14:57 remaining.
The Javelinas ensuing kickoff rolled out of bounds setting the way for Darrell Cantu-Harkless who scored on a 65-yard end around just 12 seconds later, and with extra point made the score 16-13.
Stoll went for his fourth FG of the game moments later but missed wide right on a 39-yard attempt with 11:42. The Wildcats marched down the field on the next drive but Morgan Lineberry, who missed a PAT on the game’s first TD, missed short from 51 yards with seven minutes to go.
The Javelina defense regrouped with the help of pair of Angel Millan punts that were downed inside the 10. TAMUK allowed just one more first down the rest of the way the Wildcats getting no further than their own 21. Fittingly, ACU’s last possession ended with a sack by Marcus Singleton. It was his second and the team’s fourth of the game.
Abilene took advantage of a short 10-yard punt by Millan after he bobbled the snap. Five plays later Taylor Gabriel scored on a 7-yard run with no time remaining in the opening quarter. Lineberry missed the extra point for a 6-0 lead.
The Javelinas took the lead with a 75-yard drive that was capped by a 22-yard strike from Nate Poppell to Robert Armstrong. Poppell was 19-of-28 in the first half for 207 yards and finished with 372 yards passing.
Stoll then took over with his three field goals proving to be the difference on the scoreboard.
“It feels great to get this win, I’m proud of my guys this game was a battle between to very good teams and we fought hard until the end to get the victory,” said Head Coach Bo Atterbury on his teams performance
The Javelinas ended the game with 420 yards of offense. Sherman Batiste had 10 catches for 128 yards to go along with Armstrong’s 94 yards on 10 catches. Joseph Vela had his best night with a career-best 84 yards on five receptions. The Hogs had the ball five times in the red zone with three scores. ACU was in the red zone just once after scoring 51 points with 461 yards of offense against McMurry in week one.
Jeremy Aguilar had a team-best nine tackles to go along with a fumble recovery.
The Javelinas look to stay with their winning ways as they go on the road again to Arlington next Saturday to face West Texas A&M in the headline game of Lone Star Conference Football Festival at Cowboy Stadium at 8p.m.