The Wildcats opened its season against Baylor at McLane Stadium Saturday evening and fell 55-27 in a 606 yard effort by the Bears.
Baylor got behind its season opening crowd of 45,330 people in the first quarter when the team started on a 17-0 run, including a 25-yard touchdown pass from redshirt senior quarterback Jalan McClendon to another redshirt senior in wide receiver Jalen Hurd.
ACU, however, broke the offensive silence before the quarter ended with a loud 54-yard touchdown pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Anthony to redshirt senior wide receiver D.J. Fuller.
The Bears put together a strong second quarter with three touchdowns, highlighted by a 54-yard run from redshirt junior running back JaMycal Hasty. The Wildcats strung together 13 points of its own though, as sophomore kicker Oscar Hernandez hit two field goals and junior running back Billy McCrary scored an impressive 75-yard run.
McCrary said he was ecstatic to come through for his team in such big way.
“The adrenaline I had when I got back to the sideline was awesome, it had been my first to to get in the end zone since high school.” McCrary said. “My sophomore year at Cal I got maybe a total of five carries, so it’s been since high school that I got in and played a real game.”
In the second-half, scoring was much more sparse. Baylor scored 17 points while ACU scored only a single touchdown.
Anthony connected with junior wide receiver Chase Cokley for a seven-yard score in the third quarter to close out the team’s scoring for the evening. Baylor’s sophomore running back John Lovett ran for the only touchdown in the fourth quarter and eventually led to the final score of 55-27.
ACU’s offense showed a potential big three with the performance of Anthony, McCrary and Fuller.
McCrary had a breakout game running for 141 yards on only six carries with one touchdown. Anthony completed 24 passes out of 38 attempts with 224 yards and two touchdowns. His top target of the night was Fuller who had nine receptions and 102 yards receiving with one touchdown.
The Wildcats ran for 220 yards and passed for another 246 combining its total to 466. The team also showed strength in rushing by averaging 8.1 yards per attempt, which was nearly two more yards than the passing average, 6.2.
Defensively, redshirt junior Bolu Onifade picked up where he left off last season as led the team in tackles with nine. His partnering safety, senior Brandon Richmond, also helped in the game making six tackles.
Junior linebacker Jeremiah Chambers had a solid game making six tackles and two for a loss while senior safety Erik Huhn made seven tackles.
Anthony said he’s confident his team will move on from the loss and focus on what’s ahead.
“We just got to motivate ourselves weekly no matter who we’re playing,” Anthony said. “We have to be able to finish games and give ourselves chances to score. I think this year’s team is a lot different than last year’s and I don’t think we’ll let this loss keep us from chasing the goal we have this season.”
ACU will next play its home opener this Saturday and begin Wildcat Stadium’s second season of existence. The team will welcome the Angelo State Rams at 6 p.m.