Midwestern's magic runs short in loss to Eastern New Mexico

Midwestern's magic runs short in loss to Eastern New Mexico

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - No. 12 Midwestern State was on the verge of doing what it has done best all season long Saturday afternoon against Eastern New Mexico at Memorial Stadium.
 
The Mustangs used a pair of Quade Coward-to-Jerryl Yarbrough touchdown strikes in a 20-second span to grasp its only lead of the day with just 52 seconds to go.
 
But the Greyhounds responded with a lightning fast, 70-yard drive stunning MSU with a winning 19-yard touchdown strike from Wyatt Strand to Aaron Johnson as time expire to take a stunning 30-28 victory.
 
The loss stripped Midwestern State of its chance of clinching a share of the Lone Star Conference championship and put the Mustangs in peril of grasping a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
 
MSU learns its fate Sunday afternoon when the NCAA Division II Football Selection Show streams live at 4 p.m. on NCAA.com.
 
It was the fifth time this season the Mustangs claimed a lead in the final minute of the game. Only this time, it didn't culminate with a win as MSU fell to 8-2 on the season and 7-2 in league play.
 
ENMU junior running back Kamal Cass got the Greyhounds out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter on the strength of TD runs of 86 and 9 yards.
 
Midwestern used a short field created when Mitchell Henton put a punt inside the ENMU 5-yard line. After a three-and-out, Coward connected with Breion Evans on a 30-yard touchdown strike to put the Mustangs on the board.
 
MSU pulled within a 17-14 before halftime as Coward complete a 38-yard streak to DeAndre Black on free play when he caught the ENMU defense offside then hit Statron Jones for a 13-yard gain on a slant to the 1-yard line.
 
Vincent Johnson scored his 19th touchdown of the season two plays later to culminate the nine-play, 67-yard drive.
 
The Mustangs defense stepped up by holding Eastern New Mexico to a total of 45 yards from the beginning of the second quarter to the start of the 'Hounds final drive of the third quarter.
 
That allowed the MSU offense to get back into the game, but the Mustangs were unable to solve ENMU defensive riddle after the start of the second half. Midwestern managed just eight yards on its first five possessions after halftime.
 
Eastern New Mexico broke through with an 18-play, 91-yard drive dominating 8:44 on the clock resulting in a 15-yard touchdown run by Strand to give the Greyhounds a 24-14 edge with 7:31 to play.
 
The tide appeared to shift Midwestern's way on the ensuing kickoff as Black returned it 67 yards to the ENMU 33, but Coward was picked for the third time and second by De'Aundre Saunders. That came a play after, Coward put a ball on the money to Dante Taylor in the end zone but Taylor couldn't hang on.
 
The MSU defense, however, would give him another chance with just 2:21 to play.
 
And, as he always does, Coward made good late.
 
He completed a pair of passes to Taylor and Black and another to Jones before hitting Jerryl Yarbrough on a 28-yard touchdown strike with 1:12 to go to give the Mustangs hope, but only with an onside kick.
 
Junior Gary Farquhar came through the recovery giving the Mustangs one more shot at a magical moment.
 
Once again, Coward had the magic touch taking a hit on a blitz but put the pass on target to a wide-open Yarbrough who sprinted to the end zone on a 34-yard score with 52 seconds left.
 
But it wasn't to be as Strand directed the Greyhounds down the field for a walk off win.
 
Eastern New Mexico ends the season at 7-4 and 6-3.

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