Oct. 17, 2010

Courtesy of Texas A&M-Kingsville Athletics

KINGSVILLE, TEXAS - The ninth-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville football team showed plenty of mettle in Saturday night's 28-24 win over seventh-ranked West Texas A&M at Javelina Stadium in front of a Homecoming crowd of 14,500. (box score)

A 13-yard touchdown pass from Nate Poppell (Spring/Spring HS) to Sherman Batiste (Fort Bend/Marshall HS) with 3:24 left in the game gave the Javelinas their first lead. A sack by Marcus Sanders (Houston/Westfield HS) on fourth down secured the win for the team.

The vaunted Buffalo (5-2, 5-1, 2-1) offense scored 24 first half points and rang up 273 yards of total offense as they built a 24-13 halftime lead that included a pair of touchdown passes to Stephen Burton and a 67-yard strike to Tyson Williams from Taylor Harris.

The second half was all Javelinas (6-1, 5-1, 3-1) as they kept the ball for 22:00 and outgained the Buffs 278-67 in the half. The Hoggie defense limited the No. 1 offense in the nation to only a pair of first downs in the half.

The game began ominously as the lights went out just before kickoff and the game was delayed 28 minutes. The Javelina offense came out slowly going three-and-out on their first two possessions.

The Buffaloes started their second possession at their own 46-yard line and quickly drove the 54 yards in just 1:18. Harris hit Burton with a short pass and then he broke at least three tackles en route to a 29-yard score with 6:37 left in the first quarter.

Later in the period, it appeared the Buffs would go up 14-0 after a 62-yard run by Kelvin Thompson gave them a first down at the Javelina 4-yard line. The Hoggie defense stood strong and forced a field goal that Sergio Castillo gladly accepted booting the ball safely through from 20 yards out with 2:16 left in the quarter.

The Javelinas got on the board at the start of the second quarter when Poppell found Robert Armstrong (Cuero/Cuero HS) wide open in the end zone from 25 yards away. That pass capped the first of many long scoring drives for the team as they went 79 yards in nine plays. Rashad Sanders burst through the line on the extra point try to block it for WT and keep the score, 10-6 with 13:50 left in the half.

The Buffs responded with another quick scoring drive. Harris found Williams for a 67-yard score on their second play from scrimmage to take a 17-6 lead with 12:56 remaining in the half.

West Texas forced a punt on the next Kingsville possession and drove 77 yards in six plays to make it 24-6 with 8:19 remaining in the half. Harris connected with Burton on a 20-yard scoring play, his third touchdown pass of the evening.

The Javelinas went to backup quarterback Daniel Ramirez (Sinton/Sinton HS) on the next drive after Poppell was dinged up on a run. Ramirez hit Ryan Lincoln (Bastrop/Bastrop HS) with a beautiful 31-yard pass down the sideline that gave the team a first down after facing third-and-11. A 12-yard rush by Jonathon Woodson (Fort Bend/Marshall HS) put the team in striking distance and then Ramirez found Armstrong from 27 yards out for his second score of the night to make it 24-13 with 5:41 to play in the half.

The Javelinas got one more chance to put some points on the board right before halftime, but a 47-yard field goal try by Christian Brom (McAllen/McAllen HS) was wide left.

The Buffs opened the second half with the ball and Thompson quickly gained 24 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Little did anyone know that WT would gain only 43 more yards and pick up one more first down the rest of the night.

After forcing a punt, the Javelinas started with the ball at their own 7-yard line. They would drive 69 yards in 12 plays and received a little help from the Buff defense as they committed a pair of penalties that resulted in automatic first downs. The drive finally stalled at the WT 24-yard line where Brom booted a 41-yard field goal with 8:25 left in the third quarter.

A 37-yard kick return by Burton gave the Buffaloes excellent field position, but they went three-and-out after Mardrick Johnson (Lafayette, LA/West Orange HS) sniffed out a sweep and tackled the ball carrier for a 4-yard loss on third down. The Kevin VanVoris punt pinned the Hogs inside the 10-yard line again at the nine.

This time the Javelinas drove 87 yards in 12 plays with Woodson picking up 37 yards on three carries. The Buffalo defense bent, but did not break and forced the Javelinas to kick a 21-yard field goal cutting the lead to 24-19 with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

As the fourth quarter began, Harris hit Burton with a 25-yard pass that put the ball at midfield for the Buffs, but they were forced to punt again. VanVoris pinned the Hogs back at the 7-yard line again.

The Javelinas drove 91 yards in 13 plays with Woodson gaining 41 more yards on the ground. For the third straight time, the Buffs stopped the Javelinas from hitting pay dirt and forced a 20-yard field goal by Brom. Brom's kick was good giving him a career high three field goals on the night. The kick made the score 24-22 with 6:19 left in the game.

Brom's third field goal set the stage for the Javelina defense to come up big once again. They held the Buffs to another three-and-out and a VanVoris punt.

The Javelinas took over possession with 4:37 remaining from their own 27-yard line. Poppell went to work hitting Armstrong with a 29-yard pass over the middle. Lincoln picked up 31 yards on a jet sweep that saw him break three tackles along the sideline to put the team in scoring position. On the very next play, Poppell hit Batiste with the game-winning touchdown pass with 3:24 left.

Lincoln finished the game with seven catches for 114 yards and rushed for a career high 50 yards on three carries. On his second catch of the night he set a school record with his 178th career reception breaking Glenn Starks' 33-year old record. It was the seventh time he has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in a game in his career and first time this season.

The Javelina offense gained a season high 503 yards and 30 first downs on 81 plays. Poppell went 21-for-34 for 264 yards and two touchdowns passing. Armstrong finished with six catches for 95 yards and two scores. Woodson gained a career high 115 yards on 23 carries and had a career high 243 all-purpose yards.

The Javelina defense limited the Buffs to just 13 first downs and 340 yards on 47 plays their lowest figures of the season. Safeties DeIra Glover (Hempstead/Hempstead HS) and Corey Robertson (Denison/Denison HS) led the team with six tackles each. They held the Buffs scoreless on their last seven drives of the game.

Buffalo quarterback Taylor Harris went 17-for-31 for 236 and three touchdowns which was 165 yards under his season average. Burton finished with seven catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns while Williams had five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. Thompson became the first running back to gain over 100 yards against the Hoggies this year with 107 on nine carries.

The Buff defense was on the field a long time as they lost the time of possession battle 39:59-20:01. Kyle Voss led the team with 10 tackles and one tackle for loss. The Buffs came in averaging 3.2 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss and were limited to four tackles for loss and zero sacks on the evening.

The Javelinas are back in action next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Lone Star Conference South Division rival Tarleton State.