(Neb.)-West Texas A&M Runs Past CSC, 38-30
CHADRON – West Texas A&M's Khiry Robinson rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns and the Buffaloes' defense stopped a late fourth quarter rally from Chadron State to earn a 38-30 victory in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs Saturday at Elliott Field.
With the win, West Texas A&M (10-2) advances to play at Ashland Saturday, Nov. 24, while the Eagles end their season with a 9-3 record.
“When you look at it, it was a game of momentum,” first year head coach Jay Long said. “We had it at the beginning and then we let it slip away. Then, in the second half it was a dogfight. I'm proud of our guys. They fight to the end and today was another day where we did that.”
Robinson, who entered the game having just 150 carries on the season, toted the ball 30 times and averaged 7.8 yards a carry. He seemed to put things away for the Buffs when he ran along the far sideline for a 24-yard TD with just under five minutes to play but the Eagles didn't go away.
Quarterback Jonn McLain, who completed 32 of 49 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns and set the single season mark for most TD passes in a season with 30, directed a 12-play, 83-yard scoring drive that took just 1:35 off the clock. He completed seven consecutive passes to five different receivers and capped it off with a 4-yard toss to Nathan Ross to cut the Buffaloes' lead to 38-30 with 1:39 to play.
The Eagles then executed a flawless onside kick from Josh Borm that Kyle Vinich, a 6-foot-6 wide receiver, grabbed at its highest point 13 yards down the field to keep the ball in CSC's possession.
With new life, Glen Clinton gained 15 yards on two rushes to put the ball at the West Texas 38-yard line with over a minute to play.
However, the Buffaloes' defense tightened up and forced three straight incomplete passes to set up fourth and 10. On the Eagles' final play, McLain, who was being pulled to the turf, threw a desperation toss to senior wide receiver Allan Schmaltz that he caught at the 31 and stretched out to the first down marker but the spot was inches shy of a first down.
West Texas A&M took over on downs and took a knee to run the clock out.
“This is a senior class that's known for fighting through a lot of adversity,” Long said. “They are great leaders and they're going to succeed in life and I'm proud to say as an Eagle myself that they are now alumni. They fought for us, for our school and for our team. I can't say enough positive things about them.”
The game ended in a frenzy and it also started like one for the Eagles as they scored back-to-back touchdowns on their first two possessions. Linebacker Bryant Miller intercepted West Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Vaughan on the Buffs' first drive and the Eagles marched 72 yards in just seven plays before McLain ran in for a 4-yard score.
On CSC's second drive, Clinton rushed for 17 yards on two carries and backup quarterback Brandon Gorsuch caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage before completing a 52-yard gain to Travis Reeves. On the next play, McLain hit Dominic Morris for a 5-yard score and the Eagles seemed to be in firm control.
The Buffs didn't wilt, though, and outscored CSC 17-0 in the second quarter.
The Eagles struck first in the second half when Alex Ferdinand kicked field goals of 39 and 46 yards but Robinson gave West Texas A&M the lead for good when he rumbled in for a 4-yard score late in the third quarter.
Vaughan completed 19 of 31 passes for 269 yards but he also rushed for 69 yards. Torrence Allen led all receivers with seven receptions for 142 yards.
WT 0 17 7 14 – 38
CSC 14 0 6 10 – 30
CSC – Jonn McLain 4 run (Alex Ferdinand kick)
CSC – Dominic Morris 5 pass from Jonn McLain (Ferdinand kick)
WT – Khiry Robinson 10 run (Sergio Castillo kick)
WT – Jace Jackson 10 pass from Dustin Vaughan (Castillo kick)
WT – Castillo 25 field goal
CSC – Alex Ferdinand 39 field goal
CSC – Alex Ferdinand 46 field goal
WT – Khiry Robinson 4 run (Castillo kick)
CSC – Alex Ferdinand 42 field goal
WT – Jace Jackson 10 pass from Vaughan (Castillo kick)
WT – Khiry Robinson 24 run (Castillo kick)
CSC – Nathan Ross 4 pass from McLain (Ferdinand kick)
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