Buffs bounce back dominating Rams on Homecoming
West Texas A&M running back Jarrod Compton (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Angelo State during a Lone Star Conference game Saturday night at Buffaloes Stadium. [Cliff Lawson/ For Press Pass Sports]
West Texas A&M played its most complete game for all four quarters resulting a clutch 31-15 victory over Lone Star Conference rival Angelo State in front an electric Homecoming crowd of an announced 9,326 fans at Buffalo Stadium on Saturday night.
The Buffs say goodbye to a nasty two-game losing streak bouncing back to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the LSC.
Before WT coach Hunter Hughes spoke on the win he had to mention his parents, Jack and Theresa who missed the game due to flight delays.
“I have to recognize my parents,” Hughes said. “They got stuck in the airport in Dallas and couldn’t make it. They were able to listen, and will meet me at my house. I hate they missed it because they’d loved this win. I’ll have to send them some game film.”
Hughes was also quick to mention what a victory this was for his team that played with energy and passion throughout the contest.
“We’ve had some adversity,” Hughes said. “There’s people out there that have doubted us, but we never doubted ourselves. We knew we had to get out of our own way. This is the type of game I knew we could play. All three phases were unreal and I’m so proud of our players. We know what we’re capable of.”
The tide turned late in the first quarter. ASU (4-2, 1-2) led 3-0 until defensive lineman got his hand on a Rams punt. The ball popped in the air straight into the hands of receiver Noah Bogardus who returned the block 38-yards for a touchdown giving WT a 7-3 lead.
“That changed the entire game,” Bogardus said. “The fans got crazy, the sideline got pumped. We knew we were in it after that.”
Hughes echoed Bogardus’ comment.
“We attacked their shield, and we got it,” Hughes said. “We schemed that all week. We knew special teams would play a part in this game. That block sparked us and got us going.”
WT tacked on a touchdown on a Bogardus 7-yard pass from Nick Gerber extending the Buffs lead, 14-3 with 11:16 left in the second quarter.
Bogardus, an Azusa Pacific transfer, had his best game as a member of the Buffs catching six passes for 64 yards with a score, and the punt block return for a TD.
ASU made one final gasp at climbing back punching in its opening drive of the third quarter cutting the advantage, 17-9.
However, unlike it had been going for WT of late, no way the Buffs were relinquishing the lead.
On the ensuing possession, the offense answered with a physical 7-play, 38-yard drive led by the ground attack that led to a Jarrod Compton 13-yard touchdown as WT was back in control up 24-9.
“We have a great backfield,” said Compton, whose father, and former Buff great J.R. was on-hand as a part of the 1986 team during Homecoming festivities. “We were all in sync and got it rolling.”
The WT defense played lights out getting two sacks from defensive lineman Michael Smith, and keeping ASU off balance. Freshman cornerback Ty Dillon also celebrated his birthday with a 60-yard pick six that capped off the victory putting WT up 31-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
“It was great seeing Ty get an interception and getting to score for his birthday,” Hughes said. “This was a complete team effort. I love how resilient this football team is.”
For complete game stats please visit, https://gobuffsgo.com/sports/football/stats/2021/angelo-state/boxscore/8185
Stats of the game
WT won the special teams battle from a blocked punt for a touchdown, to kicker Gage Urias going 4-for-4 on extra-points, and also knocking through a 32-yard field goal.
While the offense still is finding its way totaling 247 yards in the win, the offensive line and run game did their part being physical between the tackles. The Buffs rushed for 143 yards on the back of Khalil Harris (15 carries, 62 yards), Compton (four carries, 22 yards) and Jordan Johnson’s eight carries for 33 yards.
The Buff defense limited ASU to 5-of-17 on third downs. Linebacker JT Cavender made a game-high 13 tackles, and Chris Thomas returned from injury to make 11 tackles.
The Buffs are back on the road to face arch-rival Eastern New Mexico in the Wagon Wheel game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Greyhound Stadium.
LSC Week 6 scores
W. Texas A&M 31, Angelo State 15
Saginaw Valley State 20, A&M-Kingsville 17 (OT)
UT Permian Basin 75, Lincoln, Calif., 0
Midwestern State 30, A&M-Kingsville 13
E. New Mexico 50, W. New Mexico 47