ETBU Produces Two 100-Yard Rushers in Season Ending Loss to SRSUby Adam Ledyard
FOOTBALL: MARSHALL, Texas (11/10/12) – Running out of steam trying to keep up with the NCAA Division III’s top offense, the 2012 football season ended at Ornelas Stadium for East Texas Baptist University (3-7/2-5), 50-37, in an American Southwest Conference loss to Sul Ross State. Sul Ross State (5-5/4-3) has the top offense in NCAA Division III averaging over 500 yards per game and 48 points.
Sul Ross State finished with 568 yards of total offense as A.J. Spring finished with 400 yards – 142 yards rushing and 258 passing. ETBU matched on the ground with 241 yards rushing and two 100-yard rushers in Chris Lemons and John Gable. It is the second week in a row that ETBU has had a 100-yard rusher with Lemons gaining 109 yards and one touchdown and John Gable adding 100 yards and two touchdowns. Khadafi Davis also pounded in a touchdown for four rushing touchdowns on the day for ETBU.
ETBU’s total offense was 411 yards as Seth Hubbard finished his career with 170 yards passing. Hubbard leaves ETBU second all-time in passing yards, completions, and attempts, and holds five single game records and three single season records. Jordan Hayes led the defense with 15 tackles and two tackles for loss. He leaves ETBU with 245 career tackles which is fourth all-time.
Taking the ball right from the start after winning the toss, ETBU drove 79 yards on 11 plays on their first possession for a 7-0 lead. Buford hauled in a 12-yard pass from Hubbard to put the Tigers up by seven. Sul Ross State, who usually strikes quickly, took five minutes off the clock on their first possession scoring with 5:23 left in the first converting a two-point play, 8-7.
Answering with four minutes later for the two-point lead, Cory McNeil sailed a 27-yard field goal through the uprights moving ETBU ahead, 10-8. It only took Sul Ross State 44 seconds to score the second time they touched the ball as Dominque Carson rambled in from 50-yards out retaking the lead, 14-10.
Trading offensive punches, Gable guided ETBU to their third lead of the game, 17-14, with a three-yard run. ETBU only had to drive 17-yards on this series as Kwame’ Spikes, who finishes his career as the all-time receptions leader and is second all-time in kick returns and yards, returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards to the Sul Ross 22-yard line. A side line interference call then gave ETBU the ball at the 17-yard line.
Both teams struggled on their next possessions but Sul Ross State finished the first half scoring on two of their final three possessions taking an 11-point lead at the half, 28-17.
Holding Sul Ross State to a three-and-out to begin the third quarter, the Lobos botched a punt netting only four-yards putting the ball on the 33-yard line. Gable was the entire offense for the series with a 27-yard run, five-yard run, and then a one-yard run picking up his second touchdown of the day putting ETBU within five, 28-23. That is as close as ETBU would come the rest of the second half to Sul Ross State.
Sul Ross made it 36-23 with 9:56 left in the third quarter on Alex Lovan six-yard run. Khadafi Davis put ETBU within six, 36-30, with 28 seconds left in the third quarter as he pushed his way in from four-yards out.
The top offense in the nation gained more momentum in the fourth quarter as Springer put the Lobos up by 14, 44-30, with 11:36 left in the game. ETBU took their next possession and drove to the Lobos 16-yard line but turned the ball over on downs. After holding Sul Ross State on their next possession to their first punt of the day, ETBU pulled within seven, 44-37, with 4:55 left in the game. Lemons, who had his first 100-yard rushing game of his career, zig zagged 16-yards for the touchdown.
Running time off the clock, Sul Ross State went 66-yards in 3:25 seconds ending any hopes for an ETBU comeback scoring from nine-yards out on a pass. With only 1:20 left on the clock and trailing by 13, 50-37, ETBU’s offense didn’t have enough time to catch the Lobos.
ETBU finished with 411 yards of total offense and Buford was the top receiver with 68 yards and one touchdown. Sul Ross State finished with 568 yards of offense as 310 came on the ground.
The Tigers end the year at 3-7 and 2-5 in the American Southwest Conference as they now await the post-season awards for their players.