The ACU football team travelled to San Antonio to take on Incarnate Word for the second time in a month, but a last-minute touchdown wiped off the board and the ‘Cats lost 34-31.
With less than a minute left in the game, quarterback John David Baker connected with wide receiver Taylor Gabriel for a touchdown. The officials threw a flag for what they called defensive holding, giving ACU a narrow lead.
However, just before the Wildcats kicked the extra point, the officials huddled and changed their call to offensive holding, which put ACU behind 34-31, once again. Baker would be sacked and subsequently fumble to ice the game for the Cardinals.
Wide receivers Darian Hogg and Demarcus Thompson also had would-be touchdowns disallowed earlier in the game because of out-of-bounds rulings.
Baker finished the game with 272 yards passing, two touchdowns and two picks.
Gabriel finished with 83 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns receiving. Gabiel also threw for his first career touchdown on a trick play that ended up placing running back Charkandrick West in the end zone.
“It felt good to throw a touchdown,” Gabriel said. “We were practicing it all week and I didn’t feel like we were going to run the play. All week I was throwing strikes and clean spirals in practice, but in the game I threw a duck. It still made it there, though.”
West finished the game with 91 yards on the ground and 57 more receiving, resulting in him going over 100 total yards for the third straight game.
The Wildcats finished with 397 yards of total offense and moved the ball effectively the entire game.
“Our offensive concepts and our offensive coordinator, coach Young, put us in a position to make plays,” Gabriel said.
Defensively, ACU was unable to create a bevy of turnovers as they did in the ‘Cats first meeting with the Cardinals, but still put together several outstanding individual performances and forced one turnover when they fell on a fumbled snap.
Safety Angel Lopez led the Wildcats in tackles with 12. Justin Stephens also had double-digit tackles with 11. Each player had a pass break up, as well.
Cornerback Tyler Chapa also had a nice game and recorded five tackles, including a stop behind the line of scrimmage. Chapa, Lopez and safety Justin Stewart are all starters in the Wildcat secondary who grew up in San Antonio, giving them the unique experience of playing in front of friends and family.
“It is awesome coming back home and seeing all those faces in the stands that I know,” Chapa said. “My whole family was there and I had family come up from Austin, too, so it is always fun playing for them.”
The loss drops ACU to 5-5 on the season with one game left next Saturday. The Wildcats will travel to Prairie View A&M with a chance to finish their first Div. I season with a winning record.