By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
After losing its season opener to the University of Central Oklahoma, an ACU win against Texas State in week two was possible but unlikely.
Then ranked at No. 24, the Wildcats were coming off of a loss to an unranked UCO team in week one and were facing a nationally ranked Division I-AA team at Texas State’s home stadium. But after an ACU offensive onslaught that overpowered and outran the Texas State defense, the Wildcats proved that divisions were irrelevant on Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter what division you’re in,” said junior running back Bernard Scott. “We just wanted to go out there and make a statement.”
ACU made more than a statement by upsetting Texas State Bobcats 45-27 after scoring its most points since Oct. 19, 2006, when the Wildcats posted 49 points against West Texas A&M. The win was ACU’s first against a DI-AA team, now named the Football Championship Subdivision, since 1996 when the Wildcats beat Prairie View A&M 30-14.
“Every week we prepare to win,” said junior wide receiver Johnny Knox. “We just played together.”
ACU jumped up three spots to No. 21 in the American Football Coaches Association Poll but is the lowest ranked team behind No. 14 West Texas A&M, No. 16 Midwestern State and No. 17 Tarleton State.
ACU’s offense was able to do what they wanted when they wanted against the Bobcat defense tallying a total of 458 offensive yards and six touchdowns in the win.
Leading the way was Scott, who scored three rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown and ran for a total of 135 yards. Scott’s longest rush was a 33-yard breakaway in the
second quarter that was ACU’s second touchdown of the game. Scott received the Lone Star Conference South Division Offensive Player of the Week for his performance and is now tied for second in LSC’s individual scoring category.
“We just wanted to go out there and play hard,” Scott said. “We knew we were gonna make a run eventually.”
Scott wasn’t the only one who found the end zone against the Bobcats. Knox led the ACU receiving corps with eight catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Knox’s most impressive score was a 42-yard bomb from quarterback Billy Malone in the third quarter.
Knox said the main reason he was able to post high numbers against Texas State was the Bobcats ongoing double team of ACU’s No. 1 receiver Jerale Badon. Badon was quiet in the win catching only one ball for 14 yards. Meanwhile, Malone had his best game of the season, throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
“The bottom line is we had guys that did their job when they were supposed to,” said offensive coordinator Ken Collums.
ACU took the lead early on Saturday after capitalizing on an interception by outside linebacker Mike Kern on Texas State’s second offensive play of the game. Malone connected with Knox in the corner of the end zone to put the Wildcats up 7-0 after junior kicker Matt Adams put away the extra point.
ACU continued to score early, going on an 11-play, 71-yard drive to the end zone to take a two-touchdown lead. Scott capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run after senior wide receiver Badon made a 20-yard run to get within four yards of a touchdown.
ACU continued to score in the second quarter after Scott bolted through the Bobcats backfield for his second touchdown, this time a 33-yard run in the second quarter that put the Wildcats up 21-0.
Scott scored again in the closing minutes of the second quarter after catching a floating pass from Malone in the bottom left corner of the end zone to put ACU up 28-0.
“If our offense is playing well so is our defense,” said senior linebacker Cody Stutts, who led ACU’s defense with six tackles and one sack.
ACU’s offense held Texas State to only 142 yards in the first half.
Texas State finally scored on its first drive of the second half after running back Stan Zwinggi capitalized on a ACU 14-yard pass interference penalty by running into the end zone to pull within three scores of the Wildcats.
But ACU extended its lead to 31-7 after Adams nailed a field goal from 36 yards out.
The Bobcats dropped ACU’s lead to 31-14 after scoring on a 52-yard flea flicker from wide receiver Morris Crosby to wide receiver Cameron Luke in the third quarter.
But Texas State’s defense couldn’t stop the Wildcats.
ACU increased its lead to 38-14 after Malone found Knox in the end zone again, this time for a 42-yard score.
Texas State wouldn’t give up though, dropping the Wildcats score to 18 points, after George found Luke in the end zone on a fourth and ten play that made the
The Bobcats then had its biggest chance to come back after taking advantage of back-to-back pass interference calls on ACU junior defensive back Michael Diggs. Texas State quarterback Bradley George connected with Luke in the end zone, bringing the Bobcats within 11 points of ACU.
But Scott ended any chance of a comeback after running for his third rushing touchdown, this time a 17 yarder with less than 10 minutes remaining. Scott’s touchdown was the last of the game and put ACU up 45-27.
The Wildcats are now 1-1 and will play its first home game against Lone Star Conference North powerhouse Southeastern Oklahoma on Saturday.