The ACU football team’s seniors took the field at Shotwell Stadium for the last time Saturday and won their Homecoming game against Incarnate Word 40-6.
“I don’t think it has hit me yet that that it was my last home game,” wide receiver Taylor Gabriel said. “I don’t feel like I am a senior. I feel like I have some more time left.”
The Wildcat defense continued their trend of stingy play, giving up one first quarter touchdown before pitching a shutout the rest of the game.
“I think this win gives them some intimidation for when we play them again,” safety Angel Lopez said. “If we just keep playing like we did then they’ll have to make some changes for next time.”
Lopez made several impact plays for the Wildcat secondary, intercepting two passes in the first half and leading the team in tackles with 10, putting his total at 69 tackles in eight games.
“The coaching staff had a great game plan,” Lopez said. “It felt good, I just wish I could have taken it to the house. I wish my dad had been here to see it, but he was watching it from his house. It always feels good to get the ball back and give the offense a chance to score.”
The rest of the ACU defense also forced Cardinal turnovers. Linebacker Jesse Harper, defensive end Nick Richardson and cornerback Keith Barnett recovered fumbles Saturday to help ACU win the turnover battle and run away with the victory.
Offensively, the Wildcats did not turn the ball over and scored plenty of points.
Quarterback John David Baker threw for three touchdowns and ran for another during his last home game. Baker finished with 263 yards in the air and 35 yards rushing.
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way for ACU in receiving yards, catching six passes for 87 yards and an impressive touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
“I have no idea how I got my feet down,” Gabriel said.
Senior wide out Darian Hogg caught five passes for 72 yards as well. Darrell Cantu-Harkless and Jamie Walker caught touchdowns for ACU.
On the ground, Harkless and Charkandrick West shared the load, combining for 159 yards. West also ran for a touchdown in the game.
The Wildcats improved to 5-3 on the season. ACU will take on Football Bowl Subdivision team New Mexico State next Saturday on the road in their first game against an FBS school in program history. Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Las Cruces, N.M.