West Texas A&M cornerback Tobias Harris (3) goes up for an interception over Texas A&M-Kingsville receiver Darrian Hambrick on Saturday afternoon at Javelinas Stadium. [Trevor Fleeman/ WT athletics]
Close games coming down to the wire haven’t bode well for West Texas A&M over the past few weeks.
But finally, the Buffs were able to break that recent trend with a huge come-from-behind 35-31 win at Texas A&M-Kingsville in a Lone Star Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Javelinas Stadium.
The victory puts the Buffs at 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the LSC.
The seven wins are the most victories for WT since 2013, and the most wins in the Hunter Hughes era.
The Buffs had to fight and claw their way back for four quarters. In a trend Hughes wants to forget this season, WT got off to another slow start. Early turnovers put WT in a 17-0 hole in the second quarter. The Buffs chipped away, cutting the deficit to 31-21 in the opening stages of the fourth quarter.
That’s when sophomore standout cornerback Tobias Harris sparked a rally that led to 14 unanswered, lifting the Buffs to the thrilling win.
Harris, who had may have had his his worst game against TAMK as a true freshman last season, earned his redemtpion in a big way Saturday.
In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, Harris intercepted a Koy Detmer Je. pass at midfield, returning it to the Javelinas 6-yard line.
That pick set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Jordan Johnson, edging the Buffs with in three, 31-28.
On the Javelinas ensuing possession, WT forced a punt. Harris received it at his own 28. Harris used his blocks, turned on the jets and went 72 yards giving the Buffs their first and only lead of 35-31 with 12:32 to play.
TAMK had made one more threat to take the lead late in the game. With four minutes to play, the Javelinas had the ball, third and goal at the WT 7-yard line. Detmer went back to pass, threw it into the endzone, however, Buff senior safety Chazz Slatinzky was there to make the clutch interception, preserving the massive road victory.
Slatinsky and Harris’ play was part of a defensive story in the second half.
WT allowed 261 yards in the first half, but in the final two quarters, the Buffs shut the Javelinas down, holding them to 99 total yards.
WT chews up 300 plus yards
The Buffs ground game was superb on Saturday. WT ran for 313 of its 462 total yards.
Running back Logan Vallo led the way with 15 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Nick Gerber wasn’t big through the air but great with his feet, going for 110 yards and three TDs.
Harris makes history
Along with his two game changing plays, Harris totaled set a new WT school history, setting the Buffs single season and career totals for punt return yards.
Gaining 75 return yards against Kingsville, Harris now has 385 return yards this season and 1,194 in only a short two year career.
Harris passes former WT leader Curley Watters (1966).
For full game stats click the link. https://gobuffsgo.com/