The ACU football team shut out its first opponent in two years Saturday afternoon in a rainy, humid Shotwell Stadium, 21-0, against rival Incarnate Word.
The win was the Wildcats’ first against a Southland Conference team since their return to the FCS.
The Wildcats improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in conference while the Cardinals dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in conference on the 2014 season.
ACU’s offense went for over 400 yards for the third game this season, including another multi-touchdown-pass game for sophomore quarterback Parker McKenzie. McKenzie went 21-for-33 for 329 yards and two touchdowns.
The receiving corps had three receivers with four or more catches. Junior Jace Hudson led the way with six catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Cedric Gilbert continued his great connection with McKenzie as they connected for their fourth touchdown this season. He had five catches for 92 yards and a touchdown on the day. Gilbert is the only ACU receiver to have a touchdown in every game.
“I thought he did really well,” head coach Ken Collums said. “But he missed throws today that he didn’t miss in other games.”
The running game struggled without starter Herschel Sims and running back De’Andre Brown. The Wildcats relied on sophomore Adrian Duncan, who carried 20 times for 54 yards. Redshirt freshman running back Randy Gober also added 11 carries for 26 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Wildcats even had to rely on tight end Jonathan Parker to carry the ball two times for 10 yards.
Special teams struggled on the rainy field with sophomore kicker Nik Grau missing three field goals on the day. Grau had not missed a field goal all year and had missed only one over his entire career entering play Saturday against the Cardinals. The kickoff team also allowed a 48-yard return in the game as well.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats allowed only 133 yards of offense and forced two turnovers from Incarnate Word. Freshman linebacker Sam Denmark was responsible for forcing both turnovers as he recorded the first two interceptions of his career.
“It’s incredible. I mean, you don’t get interceptions like that,” Denmark said. “And I only experienced that one time in high school.”
The team also had six tackles for losses including two sacks. Senior linebacker Lynn Grady led the team with nine tackles on the day. Incarnate Word was forced to punt eight times as the Wildcat defense gave up only 2.5 yards per play.