Buffs suffer heartbreaking loss to Rams in key LSC showdown
West Texas A&M receiver Semaj Mitchell goes up for a catch over an Angelo State defender during a Lone Star Conference game Saturday night at J Ferg Field at Buffalo Stadium. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]
Any of these adjectives described West Texas A&M following a crucial 17-14 loss to Angelo State in a Lone Star Conference game on J Ferg Field at Buffalo Stadium on Saturday night.
The season-long kicking issues for the Buffs came full circle in the final five minutes, leaving coach Hunter Hughes, and the announced crowd 6,345 with their jaws wide open.
WT trailed 17-14 with 5:26 left to play. A Buff drive stalled at the Angelo State 14-yard line.
Hughes sent kicker Mauricio Gonzalez out for a 31-yard field goal, only to see Gonzalez push it wide right.
After the WT defense stopped the Rams, the Buffs offense worked their two minute offense to perfection, until the drive halted at the ASU 5-yard line.
With 19 seconds left, facing a 4th down and 5, Hughes elected to send kicker Aaron Coash out for the game-tying field goal.
Unfortunately for WT, it was the same result as Gonzalez, as Coash sent his 22-yard field goal wide right, sealing the victory for WT.
“I don’t know what we can do,” Hughes said. “Those kickers kick all week, that’s all they do. But I’ll say this, you have to score touchdowns. You leave it up to field goals, it comes back to bite you. I’m not blaming this on the kickers, but they should make those kicks.”
WT is now 1 for 7 on field goals this season.
Moments before the missed field goal to tie the game in the closing seconds, WT thought they’d taken the lead when quarterback Nick Gerber hit Jamaal Hamilton on a 5-yard slant route. That score would have put the Buffs up 20-17 pending the extra-point with 33 seconds remaining, however, the officials flagged the Buffs on a questionable lineman downfield call negating the call.
Hughes declined to comment on the play after the game.
The WT defense swarms Angelo State running back Daven Manning. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]
The Buffs defense stifled ASU despite being put in bad situations throughout.
Deldric Shields returned the opening kickoff 83 yards down to the WT 15-yard line. That led to the Rams lone first half touchdown.
ASU had stellar field position in the first half, yet scored 10 points with 183 yards of offense during the first two quarters.
The Buffs, who held ASU to under 300 yards of offense, lone mistake defensively came in the third quarter. WT took its only lead when Gerber found Semaj Jennings on a diving 21-yard catch, putting WT up, 14-10 at the 5:36 mark.
Not 38 seconds later, the Rams regained the lead , 17-14, on a 67-yard pass from Payne Sullins to Austin Landry.
“Our defense gave up one play all night,” Hughes said. “We gave up a big kickoff return that resulted in a 12-yard drive. That’s not on the defense. They played outstanding.”
The WT offense sputtered in the first half. Gerber didn’t complete a pass, WT mustered two first downs, and had 42 offensive yards at halftime.
But what’s become a theme to the season, the offense woke up in the second half.
Mitchell caught all six passes for his career-high 123 yards in the final two quarters. The WT offense drove up and down the field for over 300 yards. The Buffs just struggled when it came to punching it in.
“Hats off to WT,” ASU coach Jeff Girsch said. “They are a dang good football team. We got a call in our favor late, but it was a battle. We fought to the end, and I’m proud of my team.”
Angelo State 17, West Texas A&M 14 Angelo State 7 3 7 0 — 17 W. Texas A&M 0 0 14 0 — 14 First Quarter ASU— Willis Patrick 1 run (Connor Flanigan), 12:28 Second Quarter ASU—Flanigan FG 34, 0:23 Third Quarter WT—Semaj Mitchell 38 pass from Nick Gerber (Mauricio Gonzalez kick), 11:47 WT—Mitchell 21 pass from Gerber (Gonzalez kick), 0:46 ASU—Austin Landry 67 pass from Payne Sullins (Flanigan kick), 0:08
Angelo St. WT First downs 15 21 Rushing 132 137 Passing 159 242 Total yards 291 379 C-A-I 17-28-0 16-41-0 Punts-Avg. 6-36.0 7-37.3
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-36 7-73
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING—Angelo State: Daven Manning 21-60, Sullins 7-31, Kaleb King 3-25, Keke Chism 1-8, Lawson Ayo 1-3, Willis Patrick 2-3, Team 1-1, Lloyd Howard 2-1. West Texas A&M: Duke Carter IV 18-61, Gerred Johnson 1-22, Jordan Johnson 8-19, Gerber 7-18, Maxwell Perez 5-15, Jarrod Compton 1-2. PASSING—Angelo State: Sullins 17-28-0-159. West Texas A&M: Gerber 16-41-0-242. RECEIVING—Angelo State: Chism 4-38, Manning 4-15, Landry 3-81, Kellen Pachot 3-24, Ayo 3-1. West Texas A&M: Mitchell 6-123, Juwan McCall 5-61, Markel Stephens-Pepper 3-34, Chase Sojka 1-15, Jamaal Hamilton 1-9.