Midwestern State erupted for 35 second-half points to hold off a determined Texas A&M-Kingsville effort 49-41 Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Mustangs improved to 8-1 on the season and wrapped the No. 2 seed in the Lone Star Conference Playoffs beginning next weekend at campus locations.
MSU will host a to be determined No. 3 seed Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
West Texas A&M defeated Eastern New Mexico 52-42, while Angelo State beat Tarleton State 57-24 to force a three-way tie for third in the league standings. A three-way coin flip will be conducted to determine playoff seeding.
Sophomore quarterback Hagen Hutchinson, who was making his first start in four weeks, threw for 202 of his career-high 295 yards in the second half to lead the scoring onslaught.
The Stamford native hit Tyrique Evans on a 53-yard scoring strike then took advantage of a free play on an offsides call to hit Levy Wilson on a 31-yard fade route as the Mustangs spun a 24-14 halftime deficit into a 35-24 lead after three quarters.
Sophomore Don Jerry broke free for a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter push the lead to 42-27. It was the first time an MSU player returned a kickoff for a score since Tremaine Forrest returned the opening kick for a 94-yard TD against Northeastern State (Okla.) in 2003.
Senior defensive back Marqui Christian also made history on senior night passing former standing Ryan Craven to become the program's all-time leader. The Spring native with 10 tackles.
Junior Kerry Holiday paced an aggressive defensive line unit with a 2 1/2 sacks as the Mustangs finished with a season-high five sacks as Jared Tuilagi, Darian Childers and Alpha Kamara were all in on sacks.
Junior linebacker Adam Hill led the squad with 13 tackles, while junior cornerback Cullen Craft wrangled his first interception of the season.
Junior running back Dante Taylor paced the MSU ground attack with 69 yards on 12 carries, while sophomore Orlando Haymon added 51 yards on 13 totes. Both scored touchdowns.
Edwards had three catches for a season-high 97 yards with a touchdown.
Texas A&M-Kingsville running back Greg Pitre caught eight passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 21 times for 76 more yards.
Sophomore wideout Jordan Thomas chipped in 132 yards on seven receptions for the Javelinas.