The Wildcats stomped Southeast Oklahoma State University in a 33-14 victory Saturday. ACU improved to 4-0 with the win, while the Savage Storm fell to 2-2.
Head Coach Chris Thomsen said he was glad to get the victory, but the Cats’ performance did not escape critique.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Thomsen said. “I do not think we finished the game very well in the second half. We made some mistakes in the second half that I wish we didn’t make, but we are a team that is learning how to win, and I think we did a good job tonight.”
The Wildcat defense held the Savage Storm scoreless in the first half, and the offense moved the ball better than they did in the Cotton Bowl.
Reggie Mathis intercepted the ball on SE Oklahoma’s first possession, putting ACU in a good field position. The Cats drove down to the Savage 3-yard line before missing a short field goal opportunity.
After another stop by the Wildcat defense, the offense went 81 yards to score its first touchdown, a 14-yard pass reception by Edmund Gates. Kendrick Johnson returned another punt by the Savage 72 yards for the second Wildcat touchdown.
The Wildcats added two more touchdowns in the first half to bring the score to 28-0 at halftime.
ACU drove the ball down to SE Oklahoma’s 6-yard line before kicking a 23-yard field goal in the second half. The Wildcats had a controlling lead at 31-0 before the Savage was able to rally somewhat, scoring 14 points.
Another Wildcat drive took the ball to the Savage 1-yard line, where they were stopped on a fourth down. However, the defense forced a safety by sacking quarterback Justin Pitrucha in the end zone, bringing the score to 33-14.
The ensuing Wildcat possession allowed the offense to nearly run the clock out with its next drive. Although SE Oklahoma outscored ACU 14-5 in the second half, the Cats were able to hold on for a 33-14 victory.
The defense’s performance was on par with previous games; the Cats gave up only 14 points. Defensive end Ashton Whiteside, in particular, made a big contribution, with one sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss.
“Man we played fast, very aggressive,” Whiteside said. “We came out this week just wanting to play fast and aggressive. I was just trying to get to the quarterback to try and help the secondary out.”
ACU will take on Eastern New Mexico University at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shotwell Stadium.