#16 MSU Mustangs Fall To Angelo State

Angelo State quarterback

ran for a career-high 250 yards and threw three touchdowns to help lead the Rams to a 45-31 Lone Star Conference win over No. 16-ranked Midwestern State on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The Rams (3-1, 1-1 LSC) forced four MSU (3-1, 1-1 LSC) turnovers in the game with Paul Mason recording an interception and forcing and recovering a fumble as ASU 

earned its first win over a ranked opponent since 2012 and its first win in Wichita Falls since the 1999 season. ASU finished the game with 531 yards of offense and won

the turnover battle 4-0 over the Mustangs in its first road game of the season.

"I'm really excited about how well our guys played for four quarters tonight," ASU head coach Will Wagner said. "They really came together as a team and put it all together. Our defense played lights out, forcing four turnovers and our offense protected the ball and kept getting first downs. That's what you need to do to win big games."

Washington's career rushing night came on 24 carries for an average of 10.4 yards per carry and he also found Talon Smith, Dakarai Pecikonis and Chris Omigie for touchdown passes. Washington, who had a previous career-high with 185 rushing yards last season against the Mustangs, completed 16 of 28 pass attempts in the game and helped spearhead a second half where the Rams outscored the Mustangs 31-14 after ASU went into halftime trailing 17-14. Ryan Byrd and Blake Smith each had 10 carries and a touchdown for the Rams who had only three rushers in the game. Byrd ran for 81 yards on his 10 carries, while Smith had 33 yards on the night for the Rams who rushed for 362 yards on the night for an average of 8.0 yards per carry.

"Kyle is one of our quiet leaders and captains and has always said to put the team on his shoulders and he's take them," Wagner said. "He did that tonight by making a lot of big plays. Everyone needs to understand that the guys up front and our receivers and running back helped him in doing this. He couldn't have done this without them. Our offensive line did a great job of protecting him throughout the night."

Rush Seaver led the Angelo State defense with 15 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, and Blair Smith also recorded a double-digit tackle performance with 10. Ryan Clapsaddle added eight tackles and had an interception, while London Dial had seven tackles and forced a fumble. Mason had three tackles to go along with his interception and fumble recovery for the defense which recorded five sacks with Matthew Gholston sacking the MSU quarterback Jake Glover twice and Richard Franklin, Clayton Callicutt and John Siliga each recording one sack.

ASU grabbed the lead which it wouldn't relinquish on a 39-yard touchdown reception by Smith from Washington to give the Rams a 28-24 lead with 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown grab capped a seven-play, 73-yard drive which took only 2:52 off the clock in a third quarter which saw three lead changes and was ended with a Mason interception. The fourth takeaway from the ASU offense quickly led to more Ram points as Washington found Pecikonis for a 6-yard touchdown pass to give the Rams a 35-24 lead.

Jake Glover ended an eight-play drive for the Mustangs with a 14-yard touchdown run to respond to the Pecikonis touchdown with 11 minutes to play in the game to cut the score to 35-31 before a 19-yard field goal by Peter Marquezgave the Rams a seven-point lead. The field goal was set up by a 54-yard run by Washington to the 7-yard line, but the Rams had to settle for the field goal after two runs got the ball to the 2-yard line before a third-down pass into the end zone fell incomplete.

ASU added to its lead with a 7-yard touchdown run by Byrd to cap an eight-play, 79-yard drive in which Byrd ran for 56 yards on four carries.

The Rams took a 21-14 lead early in the second half when Washington found Omigie on a 12-yard touchdown pass which was set up by a defensive play by Paul Mason who stripped a MSU ball carrier to give the ASU offense the ball. The acrobatic touchdown reception by Omigie capped a seven-play, 49-yard drive which included a fourth down conversion by the Rams when Washington found a hole along the left side of the offensive line to get a first down on a 4th-and-1. MSU reclaimed its lead at 24-21 with a 13-yard run by Dante Taylor run to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

The Rams marched down the field on their opening possession on eight plays with a well-balanced attack of four passes and four runs. The 75-yard scoring drive was capped by Washington running it through the middle of the MSU defense and reaching across the goal line for a 12-yard touchdown. The drive consisted of passes to Smith, Pecikonis, Omigie and Yancy. Washington had all four runs for a total of 27 yards on the drive.

After both teams were forced to punt, Midwestern State scored its first touchdown on its second drive of the game with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Straton Jones from Jake Glover. The drive went for 57 yards on six plays to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

Midwestern State claimed a 10-7 lead with an Andy Alkhazshvilly 45-yard field goal and extended its lead when Glover and Straton hooked up again for a 37-yard touchdown four minutes into the second quarter.

ASU stopped the 17-0 run with a 4-yard touchdown run by Blake Smith with 5:32 to play in the first half to finish off a seven-play, 48-yard drive which was set up by a Ryan Clapsaddle interception of Glover. The scoring drive was highlighted by a 17-yard run by Smith to the 11-yard line where he leaped a defender to gain about five more yards.

Glover finished the game with 295 yards passing on a 21-for-41 night where he connected for two touchdowns with Jones who had six receptions for 132 yards. Taylor led the Mustangs with 159 yards rushing on 19 carries and Levy Wilson added 45 yards receiving to the MSU offensive total of 495 yards.

Washington led the Rams at halftime with 78 yards rushing and was 9-for-20 passing for 84 yards including his 12-yard touchdown run. Smith led the team with 42 yards receiving on two receptions, while Pecikonis, Yancy and Omigie each had two receptions. Smith had eight carries for 32 yards and Byrd ran for 17 yards on only two first-half runs. Defensively, Seaver led the Rams with eight tackles and Dial and Clapsaddle each had five tackles and Siliga, Callicutt, Gholston and Franklin accounted for the four ASU sacks in the first half.  

ASU finished the first half with 211 total yards with 127 rushing yards and Washington's 84 yards passing, while MSU had 241 total yards with 179 through the air. ASU forced the two turnovers, but were 1-for-7 on third downs and were forced to punt six times. 

The Rams return to action at 7 p.m. next Saturday against Texas A&M-Commerce at LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field.