Harlon Hill candidate Brandon Kelsey rushed for three touchdowns lead 5th-ranked Midwestern State to a 35-21 win over No. 20 West Texas A&M Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Mustangs clinched their first outright Lone Star Conference championship while improving to 9-0 on the season and completing a perfect 8-0 run through the league slate.
Kelsey paced the nation's top-ranked offense to 475 yards as MSU dominated time of possession by a 41:21-to-18:39 margin.
But it was all about defensive effort. MSU limited the Buffs to 200 yards under their season average at 267 total yards led by senior defensive end Kevin Birdow, who made five tackles including two sacks with three quarterback hurries.
The Mustangs' defense found ways with 12 pass breakups, seven quarterback hurries and two sacks to derail West Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Vaughn, who finished the game with 252 yards on 20-of-45 passing.
The Mustangs jumped out to a 21-7 halftime on the strength of three rushing scores with one each from Kelsey, Lester Bush and Keidrick Jackson.
Kelsey and Jackson paced the MSU ground attack with 110 and 104 yards respectively as the Mustangs churned out 298 yards on the ground.
West Texas A&M clawed back to within a touchdown on two occasions in the second half - with both scores coming on 1-yard runs by Tommy Hampton and Khiry Robinson.
But Kelsey put the game away with a 26-yard burst to pay dirt down the left sidelines with just 76 seconds to play.
West Texas A&M's Taylor McCuller paced the Buffs defensive effort with 18 tackles and two forced fumbles while Jordan Smith and Kevin McCluskey added 13 and 10 stops apiece.
WT, who slipped to 6-3 on the season and 5-2 in LSC play, close the regular season against Texas A&M-Commerce next Saturday in Canyon.
The Mustangs can complete the first perfect season in school history with a win at Northeastern State next Saturday in Tahlequah.
Midwestern State claimed its first NCAA Division II South Central championship edging Pittsburg State Saturday morning at the Hawk Ridge Golf Course.
"This was one of the goals we set out early in the year," MSU coach Koby Styles said. "The girls were ready to go and you can't say enough about this great group of girls."
Senior Brissia Montalvo claimed a third-place finish with a 6K time of 21:49.30 as the Mustangs placed four runners in the Top 25 including freshman Ashley Flores (20th/22:36.00), Janel Campbell (21st/22:38.00) and Kim Krezonoski (25th/22:41.90).
The Mustangs will join Pittsburg State as teams advancing out of the region to the NCAA Division II Championships on Nov. 19 at Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex in Spokane, Wash.
Midwestern State will be making its third appearance in the NCAA Division II Championships also advancing to the final race in 2008 and 2010.
MSU edged the Gorillas by a 102-118 count as PSU was led by Melissa Peden, who finished fifth with a time of 21:56.10.
Abilene Christian's Chloe Susset claimed the individual championship with a time of 21:37.90 and will join individuals Marlee Tegenkamp of Missouri Southern (21:45.60) and teammate Alyse Goldsmith, who finished fourth with a time of 21:50.70.
The top two finishing teams and top two individuals not associated with nationally qualifying teams or all top-five placing runners advance to the national meet.
The Top 25 individual earn United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association All-South Central Region honors.