ABILENE, Texas – McMurry University Football scored on its opening drive, but were unable to keep up the momentum in a 24-11 loss to Sul Ross State for the Battle of I-20 trophy Saturday at Wilford Moore Stadium.
The War Hawks had an 11-7 lead at the half, but did not have any second half points. The Lobos took their first lead late in the third quarter, then extended it early in the fourth quarter with an interception on the ensuing possession turned into an offensive touchdown drive.
Both McMurry and Sul Ross State own 2-5 records overall and in American Southwest Conference play.
The opening score came just over three minutes into the game, as McMurry had a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a one yard run by Dee Robinson. McMurry had three first downs on the drive, including a bulk of yardage from a 31 yard completion to Zachary Wood.
The War Hawks elected to go for two and were successful, passing a swing route to Dee Robinson who found the right-side pylon to make it 8-0.
The Lobos answered with a 18 yard pass from TJ Deshields to Kendrick Jefferson late in the first quarter and made it 8-7 with an extra point. To open the second quarter, McMurry’s Jared Mendoza kicked a 22-yard field goal to intrigue scorigami followers with an 11-7 score.
Sul Ross later tried a field goal on its next drive, but missed wide right. From there, the teams put together long, but unsuccessful drives. McMurry’s defense stepped up in a big way near the end of the half, forcing a fumble to end a red zone chance for the Lobos. Jalen Gomez hit the arm of Deshields as he geared back to throw, allowing Micheas Garibaldi to fall on it for the recovery with under a minute to go in the half. McMurry would run out the clock.
In the third quarter, the Lobos got off to a rough start with an interception on the very first play. Scrambling away from pressure by Adonte Wilkerson, Deshields threw off his back foot into the waiting arms of Coryell Fillmore.
Unfortunately, McMurry was not able to capitalize on the good field position, as its drive ended right outside the goal line. A series of runs by Kameron Session put McMurry at the one yard line on second and goal. The War Hawks tried three runs, but were stuffed all three times for a turnover on downs.
The momentum shifted after that stop, as the Lobos moved near midfield. They were forced to punt on 4th-and-2, but the punt hit off McMurry’s return team and was recovered by the Lobos in the red zone. Clayton Maxwell finished the drive with a touchdown run, making it 14-11 for Sully’s first lead.
The Lobos tried an onside kick after that score and were successful, but gave it back up with Coryell Fillmore’s second interception. The ball was initially batted by Brenden Torrence, allowing Fillmore to dive for it and come up with the grab.
Sul Ross intercepted its own pass later on the next drive, ending a McMurry drive around midfield. It turned into a 23-yard touchdown pass and a 21-11 lead.
From there, McMurry never found its rhythm, ending its final two drives without a score.
Session led the offense with 17 carries for 83 yards, while Robinson had 14 carries for 67 yards and a score. Wood was the leading receiver with three catches for 64 yards. Dexter Wyble went 12-for-22 passing with 152 yards.
Senior Josh Smith once again led the defense with 13 tackles, inching himself closer to the all-time career tackles record at McMurry. He now has 365 tackles and trails Chris Joseph by 14 tackles for the record – set in 1986 at 379.
Timothy Leatherman had a career-high 11 tackles with a pass break-up, while fellow safety Ke’Shaun Jnofinn had 10 tackles and a break-up. Fillmore finished with two solo tackles and two interceptions.
McMurry will look to get back on track with its final road game of the season next weekend at Belhaven. Kickoff is set for Saturday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. in Jackson, Miss.