McMurry LB Josh Smith moves up in the record book in 28-21 loss to Texas Lutheran

BCH Sports

SEGUIN, Texas – McMurry University Football went back-and-forth with Texas Lutheran on Saturday, but ran out of time in a 28-21 loss at Bulldog Stadium in Seguin, Texas. 

The War Hawks (2-4, 2-4 American Southwest Conference) had an up-and-down performance against a tough opponent, but had a stellar performance from senior linebacker Josh Smith with a game-high 18 tackles.  

Smith moved into second place on the all-time career tackles list at McMurry with 352, passing Colby Witt (2002-05) who has 344. Smith now needs 27 tackles to tie the all-time record held by Chris Joseph (1982-86) at 379. 

McMurry moved the ball well with 26 first downs and 440 yards of offense – including over 200 rushing yards for just the second time this season, but were ultimately doomed by 11 penalties for 91 penalty yards. The War Hawks also had two turnovers, snapping a three-game streak of games without an offensive turnover. 

The Bulldogs (2-5, 2-4 ASC) were able to control time of possession with 321 rushing yards, despite only throwing for 74 yards. The run game especially came through when it needed to most, burning McMurry’s three timeouts with enough first downs to kill the time. 

Quarterback Dexter Wyble completed 15-of-30 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The lone touchdown was caught right before the half by tight end Reagan Sullivan for a 12-yard score. 

Senior Kameron Session and junior Dee Robinson combined for 31 carries and 177 yards, with Session leading the charge with 91 yards. Robinson had 14 carries for 86 yards and the final touchdown, while Wyble also scored on a QB sneak and finished with 14 yards. 

Jermond Lovely had a six catches for 92 yards to lead all receivers. 

Behind Smith’s 18 tackles, the McMurry defense penetrated a number of times and had seven players record a tackle for loss. Junior defensive lineman Devin Nixon had 10 tackles with 2.0 for loss, while senior lineman Jalen Gomez had eight tackles and a team-high 2.5 for loss. 

First Quarter – McMurry 7, Texas Lutheran 7 

McMurry had the first score with 4:10 left in the first quarter, wrapping up a 9-play, 64-yard drive with a two-yard QB sneak by Wyble. A couple of long catches by Kristopher Martin to move the chains highlighted the drive, including a 20 yard catch to move near the red zone. 

Right before the quarter break, TLU answered with a long 33 yard rush for DaKory Williams. 

The War Hawks were driving with 1:18 to go in the quarter and had a stroke of bad luck in enemy territory, as a long catch by Jermond Lovely was coughed up and recovered by TLU. 

Second Quarter – McMurry 14, Texas Lutheran 14 

After trading punts to start the second quarter, TLU took its first lead of the game with an eight yard run by Jacob Forton. After that score, the team’s once again traded punts and McMurry took over with 2:05 to go. 

With timeouts at its disposal, McMurry went into two-minute drill mode and began driving. A long run by Robinson and four straight completions by Wyble had McMurry on the move, then Wyble escaped pressure and ran for 10 yards, moving the chains and stopping the clock. 

McMurry called a timeout with :58 remaining and ran a few more plays, using a TLU penalty to move to the 12 yard line. With eight seconds to go, Wyble found Sullivan over the middle and near the goal line, and Sullivan did the rest. Jared Mendoza made the kick to make it 14-14 at the break.  

Third Quarter – Texas Lutheran 21, McMurry 14  

McMurry seemed to have the momentum with the score to end the half and possession to start the second half, but had a deep pass to Lovely intercepted by TLU just three plays in. 

TLU’s drive was halted by the defense and the War Hawks were moving on its next drive, but were forced to punt near midfield.  

The turning point of the game came on the ensuing possession, as the Bulldogs drove within field goal range near the end of the third quarter. A third down stop by McMurry on a pass play set up 4th and 7, and senior Juan Ocampo split the uprights. Instead, the play was nullified by a defensive holding call against McMurry. TLU accepted the first down and completed a wide-open pass two plays later to go ahead 21-14. 

McMurry ended the third quarter with a 20-yard completion to Jermond Lovely and were on the door step heading into the final frame. 

Fourth Quarter – Texas Lutheran 28, McMurry 21 

Driving in the fourth quarter, McMurry moved into enemy territory and had a tough decision to make on 4th and 5 at the TLU 38 yard line. The War Hawks went for it and had its pass attempt fall incomplete. 

With 8:40 to go, TLU scored again to make it 28-14 – this time coming on a 26 yard run to the corner by DaKory Willis. McMurry had an answer, but used a lot of time with an 11-play, 78-yard drive. The score came on a short power run by Robinson with 5:24 showing on the clock. 

Down 28-21 with three timeouts, McMurry seemed in position to make a stop and get the ball back with a tackle for loss on third down. Instead, the play was negated by a McMurry face mask penalty. TLU broke off a pair of big runs from there and were able to kill the clock. 

Up Next 

The War Hawks return home to face Sul Ross State in the Battle of I-20 next Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. Saturday’s game is McMurry’s Military Appreciation Day, as all current and veteran military members receive free admission with a valid ID. 

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