ABILENE, Texas – In a close rivalry game that was never out of reach, the Sul Ross State Lobos scored a pair of late touchdowns to knock off the McMurry War Hawks’ football team, 21-7, on Saturday afternoon at Wilford Moore Stadium.
With the game deadlocked at 7-7 in the fourth quarter, a blocked punt at the goal line by Sul Ross State’s Javeon Moses allowed the Lobos to score from two yards out and take the lead. Momentum stayed with the Lobos en route to their first win of the year.
The contest remained even most of the way with only a three-yard difference in total offense. McMurry finished with 290 total yards and held a 142-140 edge in rushing, while Sul Ross finished with 293 yards and took a 153-148 advantage in passing yardage.
The difference maker was turnovers, as McMurry had two takeaways but surrendered three interceptions and a pair of fumbles.
After McMurry forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, the War Hawk offense began moving down the field. Just when momentum seemed to be in favor of McMurry in the midst of a six-play, 35-yard drive, Sul Ross State flipped the script with a 76-yard pick-six by Cory McMahan.
Taking a 7-0 deficit into the second quarter, McMurry found the end zone with 12:01 remaining in the half. Freshman running back Dee Robinson cut through a hole up the middle from eight yards out for a touchdown. Freshman Jared Mendoza nailed the extra point to tie it.
From that point on, it was the defenses that took over the contest.
With both offenses stalling in the third quarter, the War Hawks looked to be the favorite to break up the tie when sophomore linebacker Dakota Russell-David picked off a pass and returned it 43 yards into enemy territory.
On the same play, Sul Ross quarterback Jorge Barrera made up for his mistake by forcing a fumble and giving the ball back to the Lobos’ offense. McMurry forced a three-and-out to regain possession, thanks in part to an eight-yard sack by Jahari Williams and Marc Jackson.
With field position flipped and McMurry forced to punt from their own 13 yard line, Moses blocked the Kevin Hurley Jr. punt and Dominic Gaines returned it to the two yard line. Clayton Maxwell punched in the go-ahead TD one play later.
A seven-play, 64-yard drive capped the scoring for the Lobos with a one-yard sneak from backup QB Trey Johns.
McMurry quarterback Xavier Alexander finished 15-for-27 passing with 148 yards. His longest pass of the day was a 44-yard connection with Hurley Jr. The senior led all receivers with 91 yards on four catches.
Freshman running back Dee Robinson once again emerged from the stable of backs, racking up 73 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown run. Robinson also had a team-high six receptions for 38 yards.
Defensively, McMurry was led by freshman safety Christopher Baker with eight tackles, making his first collegiate start on Saturday. Fellow freshmen Ke’Shaun Jnofinn and Xavier Gayle added six tackles, along with junior linebacker Micheas Garibaldi.
Sophomore Marc Jackson also came through for the young McMurry defense, assisting on a sack and collecting 2.5 tackles for loss.
The Maroon and White will look for its first win next week as the team travels East to face Belhaven (Miss.). Kickoff from Jackson, Miss. is scheduled for 1 p.m.