Midwestern State has made it habit of pulling the rabbit out of the hat this season.
The 10th-ranked Mustangs made its most miraculous comeback scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes including an 18-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Marqui Christian to claim a 52-48 win over No. 12 West Texas A&M.
"You have to give credit to our football team," MSU coach Bill Maskill said. "Our backs were against the wall and I just told the guys we weren't going to give up. We fought until the end. What a big win for the team for the program."
MSU clinched a share of its fourth Lone Star Conference title and third in the last four years while winning its eighth consecutive game to move to 8-1.
And it just didn't seem probable when West Texas A&M's Khiri Robinson advanced a swing pass 5 yards to give the Buffs a 48-38 lead with 2:55 to play.
MSU senior quarterback Brandon Kelsey hit Keivin Swanson on a 16-yard slant then connected for 56 yards on a go route to set the Mustangs up at the WTAMU 2-yard line. Kelsey then scampered in from 1-yard out to pull MSU to within 48-45.
West Texas A&M recovered the ensuing on-side kick and running back Khiri Robinson was stuffed on first down before MSU called its last timeout with just 2 seconds to play.
Then the series of inexplicable events continued to happen.
Instead of draining the clock, West Texas A&M elected to throw the ball deep resulting in an incompletion to stop the clock. The Mustangs rocked Robinson for a 5-yard loss to force the Buffs into a 4th-and-long situation.
The snap on the resulting punt sailed over West Texas A&M punter Kevin Van Voris' head and was scooped by Christian who sprinted 18 yards into the end zone for the winning score.
"Every Tuesday, we scoop and score," Maskill said. "It was just huge and a sweet win because we haven't won up here in years and it's for the conference title."
The teams combined for 1,106 yards of combined offense as the Buffs dropped to 8-2 on the season and to 6-1 in league play.
Junior running back Keidrick Jackson paced MSU's potent ground attack with 149 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns, while Kelsey, who also passed for a season-high 248 yards and a touchdown, added 100 yards on 14 carries with three scores.
Shavodrick Beaver accounted for 44 yards on one carry while Chauncey Harris had 42 yards on seven totes as the Mustangs rolled up 333 rushing yards.
Senior Keivin Swanson logged career highs with six receptions for 91 yards to pass the receiving corps.
West Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Vaughan passed for 391 yards and three scores, while Robinson logged 233 all-purpose yards including 147 rushing with three touchdowns. Robinson also caught four passes for 54 yards and another score.
Midwestern State closes the regular season against West Georgia Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Midwestern State rolled to a 3-1 win over Eastern New Mexico to claim its 10th win in its regular season finale Sunday afternoon at the MSU Soccer Field.
The Mustangs close the campaign with a 10-2-5 record and await a long shot selection into their seventh NCAA Division II Postseason Tournament berth set for release Monday night.
"It was a tough Sunday game," MSU coach Doug Elder said. "Knowing we didn't have a chance (at postseason play), it was tough to get the guys up for it."
Sophomore forward Len Smith gave the Mustangs the early advantage when he collected a carom off of an ENMU defender and deposited it for his team leading 10th goal of the season in the 15th minute.
Eastern New Mexico struck back for the equalizer a minute later when Eishu Kanemitsu emerged to knock a loose ball in the box into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
But the Mustangs regained the advantage in the 30th minute on the strength of Isaac Pile's first goal of the season. The junior from Mansfield took a pass from senior midfielder Aaron Douthit and worked free on the right wing to beat ENMU keeper Fredrik Widfeldt to the far post to give MSU a 2-1 lead.
MSU senior forward David Freeland put the match away with his second tally of the season in the 53rd minute. The Midland native ran onto a nicely struck through ball from B.A. Catney to give the Mustangs a 2-goal lead.
Midwestern entered the week outside of the South Central Region rankings, but claimed victories of No. 3 West Texas A&M on Friday before taking down 5th-ranked Eastern New Mexico. The top three teams advance to the postseason as the Mustangs were also behind No. 1 Regis (Colo.), No. 2 Incarnate Word (Texas) and No. 4 Colorado Mines.
"It was a tough season," Elder said. "If we don't get in, we'll have a lot of returners that now know every game counts."
The Mustangs finished with a program record five draws and never trailed in regulation. MSU also recorded 10 wins in its 14th consecutive season.
Eastern New Mexico ends the campaign at 10-7-1.
Midwestern State's Kirsti Degelia dropped in a game-high 18 points as the Mustangs battled Texas Tech tough before falling 77-62 Sunday afternoon at United Spirit Arena.
"We saw a little bit of our character today," MSU coach Noel Johnson said. "We have to respond better to pressure. Credit to TTU, they don't let you come off of cuts very easily. We didn't win the war but we won a lot of battles."
The taller, quicker Lady Raiders harassed MSU into 26 turnovers, but the Mustangs more than held their ground against a Big 12 program which qualified for the WNIT a season ago.
"I'm very proud of this team," Johnson said. 'We've only practiced 16 times and we're starting four sophomores and a junior. I was proud of how we challenged each kid at each position. They were bigger and maybe a little stronger, but I'm proud of our effort today."
Texas Tech used its size advantage to claim a 47-35 advantage on the glass resulting in a 21-6 edge in second-chance points equaling its margin of victory.
The Lady Raiders ran out to a 12-2 three minutes into the contest before MSU barreled back to pull within four points on two occasions in the opening half as Tech took a 38-27 lead into halftime.
MSU clawed back to within 43-35 on a Shatoia Gober's layup with 15:17 to play in the second, but that's as close as it would get. But the Mustangs stuck within four points of Texas Tech in the second stanza with the Lady Raiders edging MSU 39-35 after halftime.
Degelia, a junior from Krum, connected on 5-of-13 shots from the field including three 3-pointers while adding three rebounds and an assist.
Junior forward Skyler Warrick bombed in a pair of treys to finish with 15 points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of court time while sophomore transfer Shambreka Jones scored nine points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Texas Tech's Kelsi Baker had 16 points to lead a pack of four Lady Raiders in double figures.
Midwestern State opens the regular season Friday night against McMurry (Texas) at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Midwestern State's inside-outside punch of Shelbi Stewart and Caitlin Wallace wasn't enough to overcome West Texas A&M's potent attack Saturday afternoon at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The 11th-ranked Lady Buffs rolled to a 30-28, 25-19, 25-19 win to improve to 24-4 on the season and to 14-3 in league play.
The loss eliminates the Mustangs from LSC Postseason Tournament consideration as MSU dropped to 6-22 on the season and to 4-14 in the conference loop.
Stewart shined from the outside putting down a team-high 11 kills while committing a single error for a .323 attack percentage, while Wallace provide the inside muscle with 10 kills and three errors to hit .269.
The Mustangs battled for two set points in the opening frame before falling 30-28.
West Texas A&M used a balanced attack led by Halie Harton and Stormi Lancaster who put down 11 kills each while Kameryn Hayes added 10 kills. Lexi Davis and Erin Dougherty added nine kills each.
Senior setter Lacy Hayes directed West Texas A&M to a stellar team attack percentage of .308 finishing with 45 set assists despite a solid match at the net for Midwestern.
The Mustangs combined on seven team blocks as Wallace was in four of them while sophomore Kasey Decker and junior Brandi Flores notched three total blocks each.
Junior outside hitter Courtney Haney notched a double-double for a second straight match finishing with six kills, 15 set assists and 12 digs while sophomore setter Kristan Aduddell had 24 set assists and six digs.
Sophomore libero Casey Fletcher led back row efforts with 17 digs.
Midwestern State closes the season with a pair of home matches this week at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The Mustangs battle Cameron (Okla.) Tuesday night before taking on Abilene Christian on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.