SAN ANGELO, TX (KAUZ) - The kicking game has been a problem for the Midwestern State Mustangs against the Angelo State Rams in the past, losing games in 2005 and 2009 on last second field goals.
So when the sixth-ranked Mustangs missed a pair of early PATs and gave up a 52-yard field goal to the Rams, things were looking a bit iffy.
But the Rams would have some troubles in the kicking game of their own, missing a chip-shot field goal, failing to recover a pooch kickoff and muffing a punt.
The Mustangs turned both of those opportunities into points, Vincent Johnson had a career-best four TD game and Kevin Hayes had a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery to help MSU to a 41-27 win over the Rams at Lagrand Field in their first road game of the season.
Angelo State (3-3, 1-3 LSC) was trying to cut the Mustangs' lead to three when Connor Flanigan missed a 28-yard field goal with 2:54 left in the third.
The Mustangs (5-0, 4-0) were unable to move the ball, but Mitchell Henton got off a 58-yard punt that ASU's Tashini Bibbs touched and Josh Wydermyer recovered at the 19.
Layton Rabb connected with Tyrique Edwards from there on the first play of the fourth quarter and the game was never close again.
Hayes' second interception return went for 36 yards on the next possession and gave MSU the ball at the 29. Johnson went over from the 4 four plays later and Rabb and Jerryl Yarbrough connected for the two-point conversion to put the Mustangs up 34-13.
The Mustangs would make it a 41-13 lead as Rabb, who completed 32 of 45 passes for 306 yards, led the team on a 72-yard drive that took more than 5 ½ minutes off the clock.
Johnson went in from the 2 for his fourth score of the night, giving him 13 for the season and marking his 13th multiple touchdown game for his career. He is tied with four other Mustangs for third-place on the all-time list.
The Rams would score with 2:08 left, recovered an onside kick and scored again to make the final closer than it really was.
Yards were hard to come by on the night for Johnson as he finished with just 64, but he had a pair of 1-yard scores in the first half as the Mustangs led 12-10.
Rabb and D.J. Myers hooked up on a 32-yard scoring strike midway through the third period to make it a 19-10 MSU lead.
The Rams outgained the Mustangs 535 to 388 in total offense, but MSU had just one turnover and took advantage of a shortened field.
Wydermyer led the Mustangs on defense with 13 tackles, while Marcus Wilkerson had 12, Tristan Shearman of Rider had 11 and Hayes had seven tackles and a tackle for loss to go along with his interceptions and fumble recovery.
The Mustangs return home next Saturday for an 8 p.m. Homecoming Game against the West Texas A&M Buffaloes.
Senior Scott Doney delivered his 11th goal of the season in the 56th minute to propel No. 3 Midwestern State to a 1-0 victory over Oklahoma Christian Saturday evening at Stang Park.
It was a quiet night offensively for both teams with the Midwestern State (12-0-2, 8-0-2) defense limiting the Eagles to just two shot attempts, an opponent-low for the Mustangs this season. Midwestern totaled 11 shots on the evening with Doney placing both of his attempts on goal to lead the squad.
At the 55:13 mark, sophomore Sebastian Venegas delivered a cross into the middle of the box for a Doney header from a few yards out. Oklahoma Christian (3-8-2, 1-7-2) keeper Gianluca Marchetti initially made contact with both hands, but the ball slipped away and into the net resulting in the 1-0 victory for the Mustangs.
The Eagles were unable to place a shot on target in the match with senior goalkeeper Richard Goss improving to 9-0-1 on the season with his fifth clean sheet of the season.
MSU's four shots on goal were the fewest for the squad since recording three against Newman (Kan.) on Sept. 23 with Doney and freshman Julian Barajas placing shots on frame in the final five minutes of the opening half and Venegas putting an attempt on target in the 88th minute.