PLAINVIEW, Texas – McMurry University rolled up 590 yards of total offense – and reached some program milestones – on its way to a 56-29 win over Wayland Baptist University. The War Hawks (2-8) led the Pioneers (0-9) at halftime, 42-9.
McM head coach Mason Miller was able to utilize all three of his roster quarterbacks in the game and permit some of the younger War Hawks ample playing time in the second half. The Pioneers scored 20 of their points in the fourth quarter with the game already in hand.
The victory not only snapped a five-game skid by the War Hawks, but saw two more team season records go by the wayside.
Freshman quarterback Gabe Rodriguez threw six touchdown passes in the first half, giving him 37 for the season. That eclipsed the McM season record for TD passes of 35 set by all-American Jake Mullin in 2010. The record-breaking throw was a 17-yard strike to Greg Livingston with 2:47 left until halftime.
Greg Livingston caught three of those TD aerials (12, 17 and 68 yards), upping his season total to 15 touchdown catches. That ties Livingston with R.J. Long (2010) for most touchdown receptions in a season.
Rodriguez and Livingston will have one more game to try to add to their totals next Saturday when McM plays host to Southern Nazarene University in the season finale.
Clinton McCoy had two of the scoring catches on grabs of 14 and 18 yards. Ryan Nelson had a 19-yard TD reception to help McM to the big halftime cushion.
McMurry’s first half totals were more than enough for most teams for an entire game. In the first 30 minutes alone, the War Hawks rolled up 451 yards of offense, had 23 first downs, went 8-for-11 on third down conversions and were five-for-five in the “red zone” and all before the intermission.
As the second half opened, McMurry’s defense accounted for one score and paved the way for another just a little over one minute apart. Senior Cory Pippen intercepted a pass by WBU quarterback Payson Bain and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
The Pioneers returned the ensuing kickoff past midfield, but Preston Thrailkill jarred the ball loose on the tackle and McM recovered at their own 42.
Rodriguez hit Nelson with a 42 yard pass that got the ball down to the WBU 16. From there, Paxton Grayer wove his way into the end zone to make the score 56-9 at the 12:42 juncture of the third.
McMurry would finish with 166 rushing yards, 110 from Grayer on 14 carries.
Rodriguez led the passing attack by completing 21-of-33 aerials for 372 yards. Livingston (121 receiving yards), Nelson (92 receiving yards), Micah Sherman (69 receiving yards) and McCoy (60 yards) had five catches, apiece.
Jonathan Blair led the defense with nine tackles, including one sack. Niko Alana, Fletcher Jones and Chase Franklin each had sacks for McM, as well.