By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
ACU’s backups came in it home opener with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
After posting 38 points by the fourth quarter and dominating Southeastern Oklahoma, head coach Chris Thomsen figured he give his starter’s a rest.
“That’s really a good thing,” Thomsen said of pulling his starters. “We got to get some guys in there and get them some work.”
ACU running back Bernard Scott ran all over Southeastern Oklahoma’s defense, and the Wildcats defense shut down the Southeastern offense as No. 21 ACU blew out the Savage Storm 41-3.
Scott ran for 165 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns in the rout. It was his second big week for the Wildcats after running for three touchdowns and 135 yards against Texas State on Sept. 8 to put his two week total at 300 yards and five touchdowns in the last two Wildcat wins.
“All I did was basically run the ball,” Scott said. “It started with that O-line.”
Backup running back Taber Minner ran in two touchdowns and 56 yards of his own and even backup to the backup sophomore Patrick Washington ran for 33 yards against a Southeastern defense that gave up a total of 460 yards to ACU.
Junior quarterback Billy Malone was 21-35 for 207 yards and one touchdown. Junior wide receiver caught the Wildcats only receiving touchdown of the game, a nine-yard pass at the beginning of the first quarter.
While ACU’s offense was scoring, it’s defense kept Southeastern out of the end zone the entire game.
ACU’s defense only allowed 190 offensive yards and limited the pass happy Southeastern Oklahoma team to 142 yards in the air and only nine first downs. The only score ACU’s defense conceded was a 37-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half.
Southeastern was four yards away from a touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but backup defensive back junior Nick Fellows intercepted the ball on the one yard line to prevent the touchdown.
“We’ve been talking all week about just staying hungry,” said senior linebacker Cody Stutts. “It feels good to come out the first home game and get a victory.”
Stutts led ACU’s defense with 11 tackles while sophomore safety Tony Harp recorded six and freshman linebacker Fred Thompson got six of his own.
“Our secondary really stepped up,” Thomsen said. “This week, we challenged our secondary and they played physical.”
After punting their first two drives, the Wildcats started the scoring after Knox made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone with 4:14 in the first quarter to give ACU a 7-0 lead.
ACU extended its lead to 14 at the beginning of the second quarter when Minner jumped through Southeastern’s offensive line and dragged the ball 11 yards through a handful of defenders for the Wildcats’ second touchdown.
The Wildcats had a chance to build a three-touchdown lead before the half ended after junior wide receiver Chris Morris ran back a Southeastern punt 58 yards to the 9-yard line. But ACU wasn’t able to find the end zone and settled for a 25-yard Matt Adams field goal to extend its lead to 17-0.
With time winding down, Southeastern drove down the field and dropped the Wildcats’ lead to two touchdowns when place kicker Cole Jones put away 37-yard field goal in the last seconds of the second quarter. The score would be the only one for Southeastern.
ACU’s defense calmed the Savage Storm the entire first half only allowing 22 rushing yards and 79 rushing yards, and allowed one first down in the first half. The Savage Storm punted the ball three times.
Bernard Scott ran through the Southeastern defense on the Wildcats’ first drive of the third quarter through to put ACU up 24-3. Scott’s 12-yard score capped off a 86-yard drive in which Scott was handed the ball five times and ran for 61 yards.
Scott ran for his second touchdown of the game with 14:34 left in the fourth quarter when he broke a tackle and ran 26 yards into the end zone to put ACU up 31-3.
Minner picked up his second score after rushing for a 12-yard touchdown with 10:27 left in the fourth quarter to put the game up. And Adams knocked his second field goal through the posts at 6:59 for the final score 41-3.
ACU’s next game will be in Weatherford, Okla. against Southwestern Oklahoma State on Sept. 22.