The Wildcats and Mustangs provided the fireworks for ACU’s Homecoming this weekend. But, the ‘Cats came up just short, losing 35-31.
The Wildcat offensive line set the tone early, pushing Midwestern State all the way down the field, resulting in a touchdown catch by receiver Taylor Gabriel and an early 7-0 lead.
“I just wanted to fight for my team and my coach,” Gabriel said. “I know we needed a big win, we are such a good team, so it just hurts to see us go through this right now, I did not want to have any ifs, ands or I-should-haves.”
From there, ACU and MSU got into another classic shootout, with more than 900 yards and 66 points.
Gabriel finished the game with 116 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Mitchell Gale threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns. Gale was only sacked twice, and had a clean pocket for most of the game.
The Midwestern State offense ran well throughout the game, with running back Keidrick Jackson rushing for 197 yards and quarterback Brandon Kelsey passing for 141 yards to go along with his four touchdowns.
Despite the big rushing statistics, the ACU defense had several standouts with double-digit tackles. Safeties L.B. Suggs and Angel Lopez combined for 25 tackles and each player also accounted for a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
“The quarterback couldn’t really throw the ball as much, they just ran on us,” Lopez said. “We played phenomenal, it just seemed like we took a step back in the second half. There were a couple of third downs we should have stopped them from converting, but we just have to take another step next week.”
The Wildcats were coming off of their first shutout in a decade, but the offense hung 31 points on a talented defense that had been giving up twenty points per game this season.
“We are hungry and we are still fighters,” Gabriel said. “We changed it up a little bit on the line, so they helped us out. We were able to run, and that opened up the pass.”
Charcandrick West ran for 66 yards and a touchdown, but did not appear in the game the entire second half because of an unspecified injury.
The Wildcats will look to get back to their winning ways next week, when they hit the road to take on Texas A&M Commerce.