Midwestern State junior Keidrick Jackson erupted for a career-high 193 yards with three second-half scores to lift the 18th-ranked Mustangs to a 42-27 come-from-behind win over No. 18 West Alabama Thursday night at Tiger Stadium in Livingston.
Senior quarterback Brandon Kelsey added 117 rushing yards and three touchdowns as MSU shredded the nation's No. 7 defense for 414 total yards including 348 on the ground.
"I can't tell you how excited I am about this football team," MSU coach Bill Maskill said. "This team is growing up and maturing. We practiced that way on Tuesday and I was encouraged by the way we played tonight. This was a really big win against a very good football team. This might have been the best win we've had since I've been at Midwestern."
West Alabama took advantage of a pair turnovers and a couple of critical penalties, then scored 10 points in the final minute of the first half to take a 24-14 halftime lead.
"We were just helping them have success," Maskill said. "I told them (at halftime) if we go out and do what we coach them to do and can do, we will be all right. We didn't give them any help in the second half."
It was all Mustangs in the second half outscoring the Tigers 28-3.
Jackson played a key role gaining 129 yards after the intermission, but it was the play of safety Taiyon Jackson that turned the tide for the Mustangs.
The junior from Bakersfield, Calif. smacked West Alabama quarterback Gary Johnston on a third-and-1 play forcing a fumble which was recovered by senior Pat Gardner.
"That was a huge play," Maskill said. "(Johnston) came outside and I thought he was going to have a chance get some positive yards. Then (Taiyon) got a chance and came up and waylayed him. That was big."
Seven plays later, Jackson culminated a 7-play, 48-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give MSU its first lead of the night at 28-24 with 3:27 to go in the third quarter.
Jackson was at it again on the Mustangs' next possession with perhaps the play of the year. He slipped a tackle in the backfield and squirted away for a 45-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-1 play to stake MSU to a 35-27 lead with 8 minutes to play.
"He ran extremely hard and kept his legs moving," Maskill said. "We grew up tonight on both sides of the ball."
Taiyon Jackson posted a season-high 11 tackles for an MSU defense that limited the West Alabama attack to 116 yards in the second half.
Midwestern State plays host to Angelo State next Saturday for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.