The Wildcats gave the home fans a show in their home opener for 2010, dominating East Central University 47-7.
Despite being blown out in the end, the Tigers came out firing. Just one minute into the game quarterback Tyler Vanderzee found a wide-open Tyra Waits for the 70-yard touchdown. The score was the third touchdown allowed by the ACU defense of over 30 yards.
The Wildcats answered quickly in just three minutes on a nine-yard leaping touchdown catch by Edmund Gates to tie the game at seven apiece. With that touchdown Gates needs just one touchdown catch to move into ninth all-time in ACU history for touchdown receptions.
On the ensuing East Central drive the ACU defense made up for the earlier touchdown when David Lamour intercepted the pass from Vanderzee.
It took just two plays for the Wildcats to score. This time it was Gale to Darrell Cantu-Harkless, as Gale was falling down, for the 35-yard score. Cantu-Harkless, who started in place of Darryl Richardson, finished the game with 55-yards rushing and another 90-yards through the air to go along with two touchdowns.
“I just took advantage of my opportunity,” said Cantu-Harkless. “Coach told me this morning I had to step up.”
After a Morgan Lineberry field goal and an ECU punt Mitchell Gale led the ACU offense back out on the field for a five play 51-yard drive that ended in a connection from Gale to fullback Emery Dudensing. Dudensing caught his third and fourth touchdowns of the season and of his career in the game.
On the Tigers first possession of the second quarter Vanderzee completed another pass to the ACU defense this time it was Darien Williams grabbing his second interception of the season.
Gale found Dudensing again on a one yard score to put the Wildcats up big 30-7, Morgan Lineberry clanked the extra point of the left post.
Towards the end of the first half it was ACU up 37-7 on a 34-yard Cantu-Harkless touchdown. The Tigers were backed up deep in their own 12-yard line when Vanderzee missed the snap from center Chad Roark. It rolled into the end zone where defensive end Bryson Lewis pounced on it to put the Wildcats up 44-7 heading into the half. The touchdown by Lewis was the first touchdown of the season by the defense.
Late in the second half ACU corner Caleb Withrow was ejected for throwing a punch during a scuffle down the field with an ECU receiver. Withrow and the receiver were rolling around on the ground during the play when Withrow swung and struck the helmet of the Tigers receiver.
ACU added a field goal early in the third quarter before resorting to the run game for the remainder of the contest.
Mitchell Gale was impressive again completing 23 of 32 passes for 263 yards and a career high five touchdowns. The Wildcats amassed a season high 559 yards of offense on just 78 plays, an average of 7.2 yards per play.
“I though Mitchell did a good job of operating the offense,” said head coach Chris Thomsen.
Running back Charcandrick West saw his first action in front of the ACU crowd, West joined the team just five weeks ago, and showed off his blazing speed getting nine carries that went for 110 yards.
“It was good, we got to see all our running backs tonight with Darryl out,” Thomsen said. “That will help us out depth wise as the season goes on.”
The Wildcats will be back at home next Saturday when rival Tarleton State comes to town.