ABILENE, Texas – McMurry Football racked up a season-high 471 total yards on Saturday against Louisiana College, but the Wildcats had slightly more firepower in a 49-36 win at Wilford Moore Stadium.
Starting their fourth quarterback of the season, the banged-up War Hawks (0-9, 0-8 American Southwest Conference) saw a strong outing from freshman quarterback Carlos Garibay in his first collegiate start. Garibay went 22-for-37 through the air with 237 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
McMurry jumped out of the gates early with an inspired effort on the ground from freshman Dee Robinson. The rookie running back found a hole and broke multiple tackles en route to a 54-yard touchdown run. A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 6-0.
For the third straight time and fifth time this season, Robinson led McMurry in rushing with 11 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Kameron Session added 56 yards on 12 carries.
Two seniors put up solid days in the receiving corps, as Kevin Hurley Jr. had a career-best 112 receiving yards on six catches with two touchdowns. Fellow four-year veteran Eriel Dorsey added seven catches for 83 yards on senior day.
Louisiana College (3-6, 3-5 ASC) went on to score on the first of two one-yard touchdown plunges from James Powell, taking a 7-6 lead with the extra point. McMurry regained the lead near the end of the first quarter with a six-yard run from Session. The extra point from Pablo Simental made it 13-7.
The Wildcats went on to take a 28-16 lead at the half with three touchdowns in the second quarter. The turning point came as McMurry was on the verge of regaining the lead while trailing 14-13. Garibay had a pass intercepted at the one-yard line, ending the red zone threat.
Immediately following, Louisiana College made history with a 99-yard touchdown pass to Micah Dunn, breaking the all-time ASC record for longest reception. The previous record was held by three teams at 98 yards.
After falling behind 21-13 following the unfortunate turn of events, Simental nailed a 22-yard field goal through the uprights to pull McMurry within five.
McMurry put up a strong defensive effort on Louisiana College’s final drive, stopping multiple plays near the goal line. But with two seconds remaining on third and goal, LC finally broke through with a two-yard run to cap its 16-play, 83-yard drive.
Coming into the second half, McMurry immediately pulled within one possession a Garibay connected with Hurley Jr. for a wide-open score. The 28-yard TD brought the score to 28-23.
The Wildcats took a more comfortable following that touchdown, pulling to a 42-23 lead with two touchdown passes from Sal Palermo to Dunn. Dunn had three touchdown catches, one of which was the record-setting play.
Garibay dialed up Hurley for a second time in the fourth quarter, launching a 15-yard touchdown pass to the senior. The teams traded scores again late in the final frame, as Montrel Motton reeled in an 18-yard pass for the final touchdown.
Three McMurry players led the defense with nine tackles – junior Josh Smith, sophomore Dakota Russell-David and freshman Xavier Gayle. Junior Micheas Garibaldi added eight, while Zachary Wood had seven tackles in his first career start.
The War Hawks will conclude their season next week at Texas Lutheran (7-2, 7-1 ASC) with hopes of a win in Seguin, Texas.