The Wildcats rebounded from two consecutive losses to defeat Texas A&M Kingsville 47-35. The win kept the Wildcats’ playoffs hopes alive going into the final week of the season.
Mitchell Gale came out strong and led the Wildcats offense, who struggled last week, to 47 points, its highest total since hanging 58 on Ft. Lewis in the second game of the season.
“The difference was our preparation,” Gale said. “We came back hungry Sunday after we watched film, we knew what we did wasn’t us and just had to get that fixed. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we came out focused and determined to right the ship.”
ACU started off the game with an 11-play 78-yard touchdown drive ending with Darryl Richardson barreling through the line from one yard out. Â ACU added a field goal on their next possession to take a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Kingsville quickly answered on the opening drive of the second quarter going 90 yards on six plays for a touchdown to take their only lead of the game, 14-10.
After a Reggie Brown touchdown, the Wildcats’ defense was back on the field when Craig Harris intercepted Kingsville quarterback Billy Garza. Five plays later, Richardson got his second touchdown of the game to give the Wildcats a 24-14 lead. That was the last score of the half and the Wildcats would take the 10-point lead into the locker room.
Kingsville started the second half with the ball, but ACU forced them to punt. On the fourth play of the next drive ACU threw a short pass to Gates who eluded a defender and then managed to stay in bounds before racing down the field for a 72-yard touchdown. This was the longest ACU pass play of the season.
Later in the quarter, Mark Sprague hit a booming punt that was fair caught on the Javelina six-yard line. The Wildcats dialed up a blitz and Fred Thompson sacked Billy Garza in the end zone for a safety, making the score 33-14.
“I thought he threw it,” Thompson said. “Coach called a good play, it opened up and my eyes got real big, I just threw my hands up and jumped on him.”
Justin Andrews added a score on the next drive catching a five yard pass from Mitchell Gale. Reggie Brown then put the game away late in the third quarter with his second touchdown of the day. The Wildcats went into the fourth quarter with a commanding 47-14 lead.
Kingsville played for their pride in the fourth scoring 21 points, but they still fell to the Wildcats by a 47-35 score.
The Wildcats will face one final road test against Midwestern State in Wichita Falls. The Mustangs were ranked 4th in the region and the Wildcats were 7th, but will be moving up with the win.
“It started out with the offensive line. They didn’t play well last week so they wanted to come out and prove that they were a better group than that,” Coach Thomsen said. “We want this to be a start of a long season.”