The football team will begin its second season in Wildcat Stadium Saturday with a game against the Angelo State Rams.
ACU defeated Houston Baptist 24-3 for its first ever game in the stadium last season and will look to duplicate the result in its opener this weekend.
A game against the Rams this weekend also means a revival of the Div. II rivalry between the two teams.
Head coach Adam Dorrel said he realizes the history between the two teams, but wants to focus on advancing as a team.
“It’s an old rivalry game, I’ve known that before I got to ACU that Angelo-ACU was a big rival game,” Dorrel said. “We’re just trying to take the next step as a football program. Right now, everybody we play is a rival.
The Wildcats were defeated 55-27 last week by Baylor. There were several positives that came out of the game, however.
ACU rushed for 220 yards and junior transfer running back Billy McCrary accounted for most of the total with 141 yards. His highlight of the night was a 75-yard touchdown run that came with 3:50 left in the second quarter.
McCrary said he was happy to have a big impact in his team’s first game.
“It was amazing, I had been sitting at Cal for a while, so it’s been a long time since I got on the field and really played my position,” McCrary said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity, especially on that stage.”
With redshirt junior running back Tracy James having been expected to be the main back headed into the season, the Wildcats now have the possibility of rotating in fresh legs between James and McCrary.
The Wildcats also saw redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Anthony sling a 54-yard touchdown pass to redshirt senior wide receiver D.J. Fuller.
Anthony finished with 25 completions out of 38 attempts on 224 yards passing and two touchdowns while Fuller caught nine passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
After this performance, the Wildcats seem to have many options they can lean on offensively this season with two worthy tailbacks and a stable quarterback. Besides Fuller, Anthony completed passes to four different receivers at least twice. Junior wide receiver Chase Cokley was included in that group hauling in six passes for 40 yards and a touchdown.
For Angelo State, the Rams won their first game 24-17 against Western Oregon University despite having to travel all the way to Monmouth.
Junior quarterback Charlie Rotherham led the way for ASU offensively with 199 yards and two touchdowns. The team’s lead running back was prevalent as sophomore Tyrese Nathan had 23 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, two talented returners in senior linebacker Grant Aschenbeck and senior defensive end Markus Jones had impressive games. Jones was monstrous on the defensive line coming up with three sacks and five tackles for a loss. Aschenbeck led his team with 13 tackles while his fellow linebacker, redshirt sophomore Hunter Kyle, had 10 tackles and two interceptions.
The two teams will now meet for the first time since 2012 when ASU defeated the Wildcats 28-23.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Coverage of the game can be heard on 98.1 FM.