WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Midwestern State University showed why it is the No. 25-ranked team in NCAA Division II, running over McMurry University, 66-20, at Memorial Stadium. The Mustangs (4-1) out-gained the War Hawks (1-5) in total offense – 668 to 407 – with 476 yards coming on the ground.
The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and immediately drove for a score. Beginning at their own 21, the hosts drove 74 yards in 10 plays. The capper was a two yard run by Peter Smith to make it 7-0, after the PAT.
With just under six minutes left in the opening period, Jacob Perez forced a fumble which was recovered by teammate Desmond Guy at the Mustangs’ 37 yard line.
Gabe Rodriguez and Jeret Smith hooked up for the first of their eventual three touchdown connections, this one a 30-yard strike. Ian McCarthy’s PAT kick made it 7-7 with 4:36 left in the first.
But the opportunistic MSU squad would add two scores in the waning moments of the first quarter. Mustang QB Shavodrick Beaver hit Mark Strange with a 10 yard aerial with 1:32 left in the period to make it 14-7.
Then, after McM was forced to punt, MSU got a 68 yard punt return for a score from Dominique Williams with 32 seconds left in the period.
As the second period began, MSU embarked on a third, unanswered scoring drive. Beginning matters from the McMurry 40, the Mustangs drove to the McM 18 in five plays. On the sixth play of the series, MSU decided to leave it to Beaver (8 carries/69 yards), who ran it in to make it 28-7 with 10:37 left in the half.
Rodriguez engineered another long drive after the ensuing kick, beginning from his own 25 after the touchback. The War Hawks’ signal-caller drove his team 75 yards in 15 plays, connecting with Smith for a seven-yard scoring throw, 28-13.
Two more MSU scores would make it 42-13 at the halftime intermission.
The second half was much the same, as three more Mustang tallies sandwiched a 52-yard Rodriguez-Smith TD pass for McM, and a 63-20 lead for MSU after three periods. Midwestern added a fourth quarter field goal for the 66-20 final score.
On the night, Rodriguez was 27-of-47 for 248 yards and the three TD throws. He was also intercepted twice.
Greg Livingston caught 12 passes for 80 yards. Smith had a total of eight catches for 120 yards and the three scores.
Defensively, Guy had a career-high 18 tackles to go along with his fumble recovery. Markell Rice and Jonathan Blair each added nine tackles. Blair had his team’s lone sack in the game, as well.