They have had plenty of second half comeback’s this year, but the 24 point lead midway through the third quarter was too much for the ACU Wildcats to overcome as their season ended with a 52-49 loss at Washburn University.
The Ichabods rode 38 first half points, scoring on all six first half offensive possessions, to victory.
The Wildcats, down 45-21 at one point in third quarter, rallied to close the gap at 45-42, but couldn’t take the lead behind Gale’s 506 passing yards.
It was Gale’s best game ever as a ‘Cat from a yardage standpoint. He completed 29 of his 48 passes to eight different receivers. Gale threw for four touchdowns and also ran for one, but was haunted by three critical second half interceptions.
Those three turnovers were the difference in the game as ACU out-gained Washburn by 140 yards and had three more first downs.
The Wildcats had all the momentum after running back Daryl Richardson scored to bring the ‘Cats within three points at 45-42. The defense then held the ‘Bods to a three and out setting up the Wildcats with a chance to tie or take the lead.
After a combination of Gale and Richardson took the Wildcats inside Washburn territory, the Ichabods got back-to-back sacks of Gale stopping the drive and the ‘Cats momentum.
On the ensuing Ichabod drive the ‘Cats defense seemed to have stymied Washburn again as the home team had a 3rd and 23, but quarterback Dane Simoneau delivered a perfect pass just outside the reach of defensive back Darien Williams. Receiver Ronnell Garner caught the pass and took it 61 yards for the score.
That touchdown gave the Ichabods a ten point lead with four minutes left. Gale’s third interception gave the ball back to Washburn on the next Wildcat drive.
The Wildcats did get one more chance to try and pull off a miracle as they got the ball with one minute left, and no timeouts, down ten points. Gale quickly led the ‘Cats down the field and Charcandrick West found the end zone with 37 seconds left on the clock.
Down three, kicker Morgan Lineberry booted an onside kick that was recovered by Washburn, sealing the Ichabods win.
The loss puts ACU’s final record for 2011 at 8-3. Washburn will play Pittsburg State next Saturday.