In a renewal of the Abilene Christian and Angelo State rivalry, the Wildcats took the victory 41-24 in front of their home crowd for the first time this season.
ACU started the game hot as it took a 14-0 lead only eight minutes in. The defense was also playing well, forcing four straight three-and-outs to start the game.
The Wildcats drove the ball to Rams territory before the first quarter ended, then redshirt sophomore kicker Oscar Hernandez hit a 37-yard field goal as the second quarter started to give ACU a 17-0 start to the game.
Angelo State picked up momentum, however, as junior wide receiver Larry Johnson returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown immediately after the Hernandez field goal.
For the rest of the second quarter, it was all ASU. The Rams scored two straight touchdowns in the quarter and closed out the half with a 41-yard field goal by redshirt junior kicker Connor Flanigan to make the 24-17 in favor of ASU.
Early in the third quarter, redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Anthony and junior wide receiver Josh Fink brought life back to the team as the two connected for a 14-yard touchdown off of a tipped pass to tie the score at 24.
The Rams second quarter points proved to be all they would score in the game, as ACU would put together another 17 straight points after the Fink-Anthony touchdown to eventually arrive at the final score of 41-24 and give the Wildcats their first victory of the season.
In the absence of redshirt senior wide receiver D.J. Fuller, Fink stepped up for the Wildcats with 161 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
Fink said he was ready to step up his production in the week leading up to the game.
“Coach Dorrel always instills in us the next man up,” Fink said. “I had that attitude throughout the week, D.J. was out this week obviously, I knew I had to step my play up and I think I did just that.”
Despite junior transfer running back Billy McCrary’s performance last week at Baylor, the Wildcats still ran Tracy James 21 times and saw him run for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively for ACU, junior linebacker Jeremiah Chambers had a big game with 10 tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss. The Wildcat defense put on a tough performance, allowing only three third down conversions out of 14 attempts.
Offensively, the Wildcats totalled 370 passing yards and 147 rushing. This combined for an impressive 517 all-purpose yards.
Head coach Adam Dorrel said he was proud of the team for not giving up in the second-half.
“I’m proud of our guys, we got regrouped in the third quarter, I’m not sure we could have done that last year from a maturity standpoint,” Dorrel said. “To see our guys at half not panicking and having some good self-talk with each other, it’s awesome.”
The Wildcats got their revenge from the 28-23 loss to the Rams in 2012. ACU, now 1-1, will go south to face Houston Baptist next Saturday, while ASU, 1-1, will host Texas A&M University-Kingsville.