It was the worst defensive performance in ACU history. The Midwestern State Mustangs trampled the Wildcats 70-28 in a matchup that featured two unbeaten Lone Star Conference teams.
The 70 points and 740 total yards of offense are the most ever given up by ACU in a regular season game.
“It got to the point where they were scoring at a good clip,” head coach Chris Thomsen said. “Offensively, we just couldn’t keep the pace.”
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after their first drive resulted in a 17-yard Mitchell Gale pass to Taylor Gabriel. Every play on the drive was a pass, unusual for a conservative play-caller like Coach Thomsen.
Midwestern State answered quickly with a touchdown of their own. As quarterback Brandon Kelsey found Edgard Theliar for a 9-yard strike. The Mustangs kept scoring as Theliar found the end zone twice more in the first half as Midwestern State went into the locker room up 35-7.
“In the first half we just couldn’t stop the run game,” Thomsen said. “It just got away from us.”
It went from bad to worse in the second half as Midwestern continued their offensive tear. The Mustangs scored five touchdowns in final two quarters including four on the ground in the rout.
The final Midwestern offensive play summed up the entire game. Facing 2nd and 10 at their own one-yard line, back up quarterback Jake Glover hit Vernon Johnson on a slant route over the middle. Johnson evaded the entire ACU secondary on his way to a 99-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.
The only bright spot for the Wildcats was Gabriel as he scored three of the Wildcats four touchdowns on the night. The receiver finished with 138 yards on ten catches to lead the Wildcats. Gale threw for the most yards all season – 413 – albeit on 55 pass attempts.
“Everything I do is cause of my team,” Gabriel said. “It’s not me scoring, it’s my team scoring, but man I hate losing.”
Coach Thomsen was a little more upbeat on Gabriel performance.
“Taylor has been doing this for us week in and week out,” Thomsen said. “He has put himself in a position to make plays, and he will continue to be big for us down the stretch.
The Wildcats will be back at Shotwell Stadium next weekend when they take on the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions.
“Just like last week, win or lose, you have to go back to work,” Coach Thomsen said. “We will watch the film and make adjustments.”