With sophomore quarterback Dallas Sealey sidelined with an injury, ACU turned to senior backup Parker McKenzie, but McKenzie completed just 15 passes for 119 yards, and the Wildcats allowed 309 rushing yards in 38-10 loss to Lamar.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” head coach Ken Collums said. “I liked the way we practiced all week. They were for the most part sharp all week, but I’m disappointed in our offensive production, I thought we would run the ball a little more consistently.”
ACU started well for the second game in row, taking the opening drive of the game into Lamar territory and down to the five-yard line on a 43-yard run from freshman Justin Miller. But the Wildcats would have to settle for a 22-yard field goal from junior Nik Grau, giving them the early 3-0 lead.
The field goal was Grau’s seventh make of the season and Miller finished the game with just the one run, but also added one reception for eight yards.
Senior Josh Bloom preserved the Wildcat lead late in the first quarter when he blocked Alex Ball’s field goal attempt, keeping the score in ACU’s advantage at 3-0.
However, Lamar found a spark in the second quarter, scoring on its first three drives to take a 17-3 lead into the half time break after a six-yard touchdown pass from Carson Earp to Zae Giles with 43 seconds left in the half.
The Cardinals carried the momentum into the second half, as they scored the first 14 points of the half to cap a 31 unanswered points since the first quarter.
McKenzie and the offense would answer with a 12-play, 61-yard drive ending in the hands of sophomore tight end Cody Ennis on a six-yard touchdown, which cut the lead to 31-10.
But Lamar scored the only fourth quarter points on a 19-yard run from Austin Krautz to bring the score to its eventual final at 38-10.
One of the biggest turning points of the game for ACU was when it had 59-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Fuller erased because of an offensive pass interference call. Had the play stood, the Wildcats would have taken a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. ACU totaled six penalties for 65 yards.
“Those were momentum killers and sooner or later you need something to bounce your way and it really hasn’t up to this point,” Collums said.
With the loss ACU falls to 0-6 this season, while Lamar improves to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in Southland play.
“It’s up to us to look in the mirror and not look over our shoulder and improve on what each individual can improve on,” Collums said.
The Wildcats will travel to Huntsville next weekend to take on Sam Houston State, who remained undefeated last Saturday and is ranked No. 2 in the latest FCS top-25 poll.