By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
ACU beat visiting Fort Lewis (Colo.) last weekend not because of one or two reasons, but 620 of them.
The Wildcats racked up 620 yards of total offense en route to a 46-7 pounding of the Skyhawks at Shotwell Stadium Saturday. The 620 yards ranked No. 6 in ACU’s record book for a single-game output and didn’t start multiplying until the slow-starting Wildcats added to their 3-0 second-quarter lead.
“It was slow getting started; we sputtered a little bit early in the game,” head coach Gary Gaines said. “We finally got on track and got settled in, and from the second quarter on I thought we played pretty good offense.”
Several playmakers contributed to that. Senior quarterback Colby Freeman was 18 of 32 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns-one of those going to junior wide receiver Dillon Cobb, who caught four passes for 89 yards.
The Wildcats’ performance of the day, however, was courtesy of senior tailback Richard Whitaker. The Texas A&M transfer-who ran for just 19 yards a week before-rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Having not played in two years due to knee injuries, Whitaker said he felt much more at ease in Game 2 than he did in Game 1.
“I felt pretty good,” Whitaker said. “I think I’m getting back into it. I’ve been out of the game for two years, and in the first game I was just trying not to embarrass myself. But [on Saturday] I just forgot about the first game and went out and ran hard. I felt more comfortable as the game went on with my offensive linemen and our play-calling.”
“He had a big game,” agreed Gaines. “He ran well, took good care of the football, and I thought our offensive line had some good holes for him to run through.”
ACU’s defense was once again at the top of its game, sacking all-America senior quarterback Andrew Webb seven times and holding him to 189 yards on 22-for-49 passing. ACU senior defensive end Brad Walton had two of the seven sacks.
Gaines-normally a man of few adjectives-didn’t back down from describing his team’s defensive effort.
“It was awesome,” he said. “They really played great. I think they really kept us in the game early when our offense was shooting ourselves in the foot. They had good control of that great quarterback. We’re excited about our defense, and hopefully they’ll continue to get better each week.
“It was a good win,” Gaines continued. “It was something we needed, and hopefully it will give us some momentum going into conference play this weekend.”
ACU will spend the rest of the week prepping for Saturday’s home contest against No. 25-ranked Tarleton State.
“I think everybody knows it’s gonna be a much tougher game than what we had last week,” Gaines said.