ACU football (2-5 overall, 2-4 conference) recovered from another early slow start, but failed to finish strong against the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals (4-3 overall, 3-2 conference), giving up a late score to drop its fourth straight game, 25-20.
The game, originally scheduled to be played on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in San Antonio, was pushed back a day due to the severe rain sweeping across the state. It was the first time in over 50 years that ACU football was forced to play a game on a Sunday.
The Wildcats came out to a sluggish start failing to score in the first quarter. The defense did its best ‘bend but don’t break’ impression by giving up just 10 points on 244 yards of Cardinal offense.
ACU’s offense would finally break free at the end of second quarter. Freshman kicker Zach Lehr knocked through his first career field goal attempt from 28-yards out to end the half trailing 10-3.
The ‘Cats opened up the second half with a 70-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back De’Andre Brown out of the Wildcat formation to even things up at 10.
ACU’s offense then made a change at quarterback, as starting junior quarterback Parker McKenzie produced just three points in the first half. Redshirt freshman Dallas Sealey would take over and lead the ‘Cats on a nine-play, 49 yard drive to take the lead with a 32-yard field goal by Lehr.
However, the ‘Cards would answer with a touchdown pass from Cardinal quarterback Trent Brittain to Jordan Hicks to take a three-point lead after the extra point was blocked.
Sealey needed just one play to retake the lead as he found junior wideout Carl Whitley down the sidelines for a 75-yard score, making it 20-16 ACU. Incarnate Word would drive down to the ACU five-yard line, but was stifled, resulting in a 22-yard field goal to cut ACU’s lead to one. ACU would get the ball back, after exchanging a couple of possessions, on a blocked field goal from junior defensive lineman Josh Bloom, his second of the season.
The ‘Cats would go on a long time killing drive, but failed to convert at the UIW 24-yard line, giving the ‘Cards a chance to win the game late in the fourth. UIW would do just that.
UIW running back Junior Sessions galloped in on his second touchdown run of the day from 12-yards out. The ‘Cards failed to convert the 2-point conversion giving them a 25-20 lead with 48 seconds to play.
ACU would get to the UIW 48-yard line on a Jonathan Epps’ punt return and nine-yard reception, but failed to go any further. Sealey’s hail marry attempt would come up short as it was intercepted to end the game.
ACU’s offense showed some life for the first time during the three-game losing streak. The second half featured some big plays from Brown and Whitley that kept the Wildcats in the game. Sealey went 11-of-16 for 174 yards with one touchdown and one interception, with most of his damage coming in the second half.
The Wildcat’s run game failed to get much going besides the big run by Brown. The sophomore carried 16 times for 39 yards outside of the 70-yard score.
ACU’s defense continues to struggle containing offenses as they allowed 593 yards to the Cardinals. The ‘Cats run defense gave up 225 yards, extending the streak of 200 plus yard games on ACU’s run defense to seven.
The Wildcats need to shore some things up before next week. They return home to face undefeated, Southland leader, no. 12 McNeese State at 2:30 p.m.