Buffs explode for 35 unanswered to sink William Jewell
Specialist Tobias Harris breaks loose for a 90-yard kickoff return against William Jewell College on Saturday. [Trevor Fleeman/ WT athletics]
If there’s any indication from the first two games of the year, West Texas A&M is definitely a second half football team.
The Buffs erased a 21-14 halftime deficit to William Jewell, scoring 35 unanswered points on the way to a 49-21 win at Greene Stadium in Liberty, Mo., on Saturday.
WT is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since the 2013 season while William Jewell College falls to 1-1.
Special teams was the saving grace for WT throughout Saturday’s road win, accounting for 21 of the 49 points. Explosive sophomore Tobias Harris kept WT in the contest with a 90-yard kickoff return, tying the game, 7-7.
Tied at 21 midway through the third quarter, the elusive Harris broke free on an 80-yard punt return down to the Cardinals 6-yard line. Three plays later, WT had its first lead of 28-21 when Jordan Johnson paved his way in from 2-yards out.
On the ensuing kickoff, WT pooched kicked the ball short to the WJC 30-yard line where it was recovered by JewMonte Lewis.
That led to another TD, this time by Duke Carter IV. WT was in complete control from that point forward.
“I think we finally realized we were here to play a football game,” WT coach Hunter Hughes said. “We came out loose, like we were going to walk all over this team. Credit William Jewell. They played hard and hit us in the mouth. It took us a half to get adjusted.”
Like the season opener last week, the Buffs offense didn’t have their best offensive showing in the first half. WT mustered 95 yards and one offensive score. Out of halftime, quarterback Nick Gerber led the offense on a 10-play, 75-yard drive resulting in a Logan Vallo 5-yard TD run, tying the game, 21-21.
WT finished the game with 368 yards, 273 of which were in the second half.
The Buffs are also showing great balance through its run and passing game. The Buffs rushed it 34 times for 184 yards while Gerber was 15 of 25 for 187 yards by air.
The WT defense was uncharacteristic, allowing 21 points and 282 first half yards to WJC.
All 21 points came on scoring drives of 10 plus plays, covering 70 plus yards.
The Buffs secondary also saw their struggles with 165 of those yards coming through the air.
The final two quarters was more to the liking of coach Hunter Hughes. WT not only blanked the Cardinals on the scorebaord but stifled WJC to 14 rushing yards.
With Saturday’s 49 point effort, the Buffs have now scored over 35 points in consecutive games in the Hunter Hughes era. The offense was also 5-for-5 in the red zone against WJC, making WT a perfect 10-for-10 on the season.
STARS OF THE GAME
Sophomore cornerback and specialist Tobias Harris provided the spark in Saturday’s win. Harris totaled 205 return yards that included his 90-yard kickoff return for a score and his 80-yard punt return that setup another TD.
Harris also made five tackles in the game.
Offensively, Duke Carter IV looked like himself from 2018. Carter carried the ball 17 times for 103 yards and a score.
For complete stats click on gobuffsgo.com