ETBU survives McMurry Football’s upset bid, 21-19

Sports

MARSHALL, Texas – The McMurry University football team had East Texas Baptist on the ropes late in the contest on Saturday in Marshall, Texas, but the Tigers were able to survive the scare with a 21-19 win.

The War Hawks (0-6, 0-5 American Southwest Conference) had an answer for nearly every score in the contest, including a pair of field goals following an ETBU touchdown on the opening drive. Trailing 14-6 near the half, McMurry found the end zone, but failed to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

Trailing 21-12 in the fourth quarter, freshman quarterback Hagen Garvin engineered an 8-play, 60-yard scoring drive that brought McMurry within two points. The Tigers (3-3, 3-2 ASC) were forced to punt, but McMurry punted it back with 6:39 to go.

ETBU converted four first downs on the final drive, eating up the clock to keep McMurry on defense. McMurry head coach Jordan Neal used his final timeout on 3rd and 10 with 1:23 to go, needing a stop to force a possible 45-yard field goal and get the ball back in a one possession game. ETBU broke contain with an outside run and gained 12 yards to get the first down, ending hopes of an upset bid for McM.

In a valiant effort, McMurry posted one of its best statistical games of the season. Despite three interceptions, Garvin impressed in his second collegiate start with a 13-for-26 passing day for 141 yards and one touchdown.

Sophomore running back Kameron Session had a breakout game for McMurry, rushing 18 times for 96 yards. Freshman Dee Robinson added 17 carries for 64 yards, while senior Leo Brownfield IV, a transfer from ETBU, added 23 yards on three attempts against his former team.

Seniors Eriel Dorsey and Kevin Hurley Jr. anchored the receiving corps, as Dorsey finished with a pair of touchdown catches on five receptions and 56 yards. Hurley led the team in receiving yardage with four catches for 81 yards.

The defense also turned in one of its better games this season, keeping McMurry within one possession the entire way. Freshman linebacker Xavier Gayle racked up 10 tackles and a tackle for loss to lead the team. Junior linebacker Josh Smith added eight tackles and a sack.

With new faces seeing time in a banged-up secondary, freshman Westen Halcom made the most of his conversion from running back to safety with a 44-yard interception return in the second quarter. McMurry scored on its second drive after that turnover to make it 14-12.

Falling behind 7-0 in the first minute of the game following a 58-yard touchdown pass, McMurry responded with a pair of first quarter field goals by freshman kicker Pablo Simental to make it 7-6. Earning his first collegiate start, Simental capped off two drives that took a combined 9:36 minutes off the clock.

ETBU quarterback Brian Baca connected with Jalen Blanton for his second touchdown pass of the day to make it 14-6 early in the second quarter, but McMurry had another solid drive going late before the half.

Coming in for his only play of the contest, backup quarterback Matt Heifner tossed a 13-yard fade pass to Dorsey toward the left pylon and Dorsey came down with the ball for a score. The two-point conversion pass failed to keep McM down 14-12.

McMurry’s final score turned out to be Garvin’s first career touchdown pass, as he hooked up with Dorsey for a 7-yard touchdown pass.

Looking to build on a more positive game, the War Hawks will look to get in the win column on homecoming weekend as they host Southwestern next Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m.

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