Midwestern State's Quade Coward relished his first opportunity under the bright lights Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
The junior quarterback scampered in from 2 yards out with 21 seconds remaining to lift the Mustangs to a 28-24 win over Eastern New Mexico in the Lone Star Football Festival.
"We had our struggles early in the game," Coward said. "To have a drive come together at the last minute is what you dream of. It was even more special being in front of what was like home crowd."
Playing just 45 miles away from his home town of Cleburne, Coward came on in relief of starter Hagen Hutchinson to complete 12-of-29 passes for 132 yards and ran for 43 yards on nine carries including the game winning score.
"We had more penalties and gave up more big plays in the first half than we did the first two weeks combined," MSU coach Bill Maskill said. "We were hurting ourselves, but then the offense came out energized (in the second half) and the defense made plays when it counted."
Fueled by a pair of MSU turnovers in the opening half, the Greyhounds surged out to a 14-0 lead as Jakorius Williams scored on a 3-yard run early in the opening quarter and Jeremy Buurma hit D'maujeric Tucker on a 29-yard scoring strike on the first play of the second quarter to stake ENMU to a two-score lead.
True freshman running back Vincent Johnson, who finished with a team-high 83 yards on 15 carries, put the Mustangs on the board with a 9-yard run to cap an 11-play, 68-yard drive with just under 6 minutes left in the first half.
MSU continued to build momentum in the second half with the help of a couple of trick plays.
The Mustangs used Hutchinson as a decoy on a double reverse netting a 12-yard gain for senior wide receiver Terrence Smith. Then, after a quick snap, Coward swung the ball to Hutchinson on a lateral before he hit Arsenio Phillips in stride for a 49-yard touchdown to pull the Mustangs to within 17-14 just over five minutes into the third quarter.
MSU created its own break to take the lead for the first time after Tari Jones stripped Buurma on a keeper allowing redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Alec DiValario to scoop up the ball and race 32 yards for a touchdown for a 21-17 Midwestern State lead with 8:58 to play in the third quarter.
Eastern New Mexico used a four-play, 44-yard drive to regain the lead on a 4-yard run by Jeremy Doucette with 5:25 to play before Coward worked magic on a 13-play, 90-yard drive to account for the game winner.
"We came out flat," MSU senior safety Marqui Christian said. "It took time to get acclimated to the speed of the game. We took our eyes of of our keys and gave up some big plays."
Christian led MSU defensive effort with 13 tackles, while junior linebacker Calvin Stewart and junior defensive lineman Emerson Evans had nine tackles each.
Midwestern takes on Tarleton Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Double-digit kills from three Mustangs was not enough for the Midwestern State volleyball team Saturday as the Mustangs dropped a 3-1 decision (18-25, 26-24, 16-25, 15-25) to Texas A&M-Kingsville in their Lone Star Conference opener.
Sophomore outside hitter Meghan Bettis led the Mustangs (4-7, 0-1 LSC) with 15 kills on a team-best .300 clip. Senior outside hitter Hunter Porter added 11 kills while sophomore outside hitter Addison Semer totaled 10.
The Javelinas jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a run midway in the first set. Back-to-back kills from sophomore outside hitter Krystal Faison helped TAMUK (6-5, 1-1 LSC) take an 18-12 lead before holding off the Mustangs to claim a 25-18 first set victory.
Midwestern answered back in the second set, evening the match at 1-1 with a tight 26-24 victory. After a kill by junior outside hitter Valarie Moehrig gave the Javelinas a 21-17 advantage, the Mustangs responded with kills from freshman setter Hayden Blair and Semer. A Blair ace capped off a 4-0 spurt to knot the set up at 21-all.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the final points before a kill by Bettis and a TAMUK attack error gave the Mustangs the set win.
TAMUK roared back after the break to win the third set, 25-16, after recording a 5-2 run halfway through the frame to take a 17-10 lead. The Javelinas continued to maintain a sizeable advantage the remainder of the set to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Javelinas took their momentum into the fourth, taking a 7-1 advantage to open the set. Midwestern pulled back within four a few points later but TAMUK's quick start was too much for the Mustangs to overcome as the Javelinas took a 25-15 set victory to record the 3-1 win.
Junior libero Madelyn Johnson had a career day for the Mustangs by recording a career-best 31 digs, tying for eighth on the all-time list for digs in four sets.
Blair added 15 digs for the Mustangs while pacing the MSU offense with 39 assists.
Midwestern continues LSC play Tuesday with a trip up the road to Lawton, Oklahoma, to face Cameron for a 7 p.m. match.
Back-to-back first half goals from sophomore forward Destinee Williamson lifted the Midwestern State women's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Southern Nazarene on Saturday afternoon at the Wanda Rhodes Soccer Complex.
In the 31st minute, Williamson put the Mustangs (3-1-1) in front with her first score of the season. Senior midfielder Kayla Cheesman sent a ball from the left side to Williamson in front of the goal before she one-touched it in the air and sent it past SNU goalkeeper Natasha Fuentes for a 1-0 match.
One minute later, Williamson lit up the scoreboard again, racing by the SNU (3-3-0) defense and finding the net once again for a 2-0 lead.
"I think the team played as good a game collectively as we have this season," said head coach Damian Clarke. "Our back four did a great job of team defending and our forwards and midfielders also defended well."
Sophomore goalkeeper Courtney Burnette (3-1-1) earned her third shutout in the last four matches, collecting two saves in the win.
Williamson and junior forward Nicole Coetzer led the Mustangs with four shots as Williamson placed three on goal while Coetzer had two.
The Mustangs led 17-9 in shots with a 6-2 edge in shots on goal. Midwestern also finished with an 11-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Midwestern next travels west to Lubbock Christian for a 4 p.m. contest at the LCU Soccer Field.
Midwestern State didn't exactly ace its first test of the season finishing second in the 6K Buffalo Stampede run Saturday morning at The Range.
"This wasn't a crushing defeat," MSU coach Koby Styles said. "This is just one step on the ladder for us. We got a reality check, but now we know what we need to work out. We're right there and the race was really close."
Once again paced by freshman Bridget Reilly, the Mustangs accumulated 50 points to finish 18 points behind Eastern New Mexico, which placed three runners amongst the first five finishers while Lubbock Christian (66), New Mexico Highlands (102), West Texas A&M (108) and Oklahoma Panhandle State (177) rounded out the field.
"We were going from a 4K to a 6K and we're still trying to understand the strategy it takes to run the distance," Styles said. "That being said, Eastern ran well. They came to compete."
Reilly finished seventh with a time of 23:59.00 while fellow frosh Michelle Rieves placed 9th with a time of 24:17.03 just ahead of Leticia Shaban, who took 10th in 24:17.45.
Freshman Sara Smith (24:52.93/17th) and senior Brittany Adams (24:55.40/18th) rounded out MSU countable finishes.
Eastern New Mexico placed four runners in the Top 10 led by individual winner Amber Said, who clocked a 23:20.10 trailed by Klaudia Szych (23:48.90/5th), Coley Norcross (23:50.74/6th) and Stephanie Mendes (24:31.24/9th).
MSU had a bevy or runners competing in the event including: junior Brandi Hobson (25:19.33/21st), junior Tia Streeter (25:24.68/22nd), freshman Stefanie Blaine (25:53.46/26th), senior Maira Salinas (25:56.31/27th), sophomore Angela Dees (26:36.94/31st), freshman Kylee Gorney (27:09.40/34th), redshirt-freshman Angela Powers (27:17.59/35th), junior Jasmine Stokes (27:30.83/37th), freshman Alex Pearcy (27:40.80/39th), junior Maranda Rodriguez (28:20.68/44th), freshman Natalie McLaurin (30:18.80/49th) and freshman April Pena (30:55.45/50th).