The ACU football faced off against Tarleton State trying to get back in the win column, but the Wildcats fell short in double overtime 41-34.
“The bottom line is, we did not play clean enough to win this game,” head coach Ken Collums said. “I don’t know how many turnovers they gave us, and when you don’t capitalize on it, you are not going to win. That is a good team over there with good players and coach Fowler does a good job.”
Tarleton State came out firing on all cylinders, scoring the first 14 points of the game. However, in the second quarter the Wildcats responded by scoring 10 unanswered points of their own to narrow the gap.
“Our team responds well to being down because we are poised and we play hard,” Collums said. “We didn’t come to the sideline freaking out. We trusted our coaches and trusted the calls. As far as coming back, that didn’t surprise me.”
ACU entered halftime down 21-10, but put together a great fourth quarter, erasing a double-digit lead and forcing overtime.
The ACU defense held the Texans to a field goal as time expired, forcing overtime at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.
After exchanging field goals in the first OT, the Texans scored a touchdown to start the second overtime period, and the Wildcats were unable to respond with a score of their own.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats did have several players on both sides of the ball that made impact plays.
Quarterback John David Baker ran the ball for 77 yards on a lot of designed runs and threw for another 230 yards to eclipse 300 yards of total offense. Baker also scored two total touchdowns and threw his first interception of the year.
“We have to use him in the run game,” Collums said. “When you do that, you can outnumber the defenders so it is a positive thing that we have not done in the past. That is something we will continue to mix in because it was effective.”
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the Wildcats in catches with eight for 78 yards. Tight end Jonathan Parker scored his first career touchdown on a three-yard pass from Baker in the second quarter.
Kicker Nick Grau was perfect Saturday, making both of his field goal tries.
Defensively, the Wildcats recovered three fumbles and took the ball away in clutch moments to give the ACU offense a chance to get back into the game.
“Taking the ball away for us was absolutely critical,” Collums said. “Several times that was at the end of a very good play for them. They go from having a chunk run to our guys being in a position to strip the ball.”
Nick Richardson, Keith Barnett and Blake Rudd all recovered fumbles in the contest. Richardson and Barnett each forced a fumble as well in the sloppy conditions.
Cornerback Caleb Withrow recorded 10 tackles in the game to tie Richardson for the most on the team. Richardson also had a sack in the game.
ACU will be back in action when they travel to Pittsburg State Saturday to take on the Gorillas at 2 p.m.