Mustangs honor Robert Grays with hard-fought win in home opener
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Senior running back Quinton Childs churned out a career-high 174 rushing yards to lead No. 16 Midwestern State to a hard-fought 14-8 win over UT Permian Basin Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Mustangs improved to 3-0 for the sixth straight season and for the 12th time in 14 years, but were in a fight the whole way.
Childs sparked the Mustangs’ lone scoring drive of the first half with consecutive 16-yard runs, while junior quarterback Zach Purcell connected with Xavier Land on 8-yard strike and twice hit Juwan Johnson first on a 17-yard catch and run, then on a 3-yard crossing rout for the first score of the game.
Midwestern State opened the second half on a long 11-play, 77-yard drive that took 6:11 off of the clock culminating in a 9-yard run by Lazarus Fisher with 8:44 to play in the third quarter.
That’s all the MSU Texas defense would need as the unit limited the Falcons to 271 total yards of offense and without a touchdown.
The Mustangs forced a pair of turnovers with both coming in the fourth quarter, while clinging to a six-point lead.
Senior safety Marcus Wilkerson, who led the Mustangs with 10 tackles, stripped UTPB quarterback Kameron Mathis with 8:35 to play which was recovered by junior defensive lineman Nathaniel Nicholas.
The other turnover came after the Falcons had a golden opportunity when a shanked, 24-yard punt hit MSU Texas’ Dwayne Tate in the helmet to set UTPB up at the Mustangs’ 40-yard line.
But senior cornerback Jaydon Cunigan picked off Mathis on the next play allowing the Mustangs to put the game away.
Purcell connected on 16-of-32 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, while Land paced the receiving corps with 44 yards on three catches.
Sophomore defensive end Melik Owens had eight tackles including two stops for loss with a pair of quarterback hurries.
The Houston native came into the week as NCAA Division II’s sack leader with four in the first two games.
Hayden Decossas connected on field goals of 27 and 42 yards, while Keegan Gray stopped Childs on a 1-yard loss in the end zone for a safety to account for UT Permian Basin’s scoring.
Midwestern State takes on Angelo State Saturday night at LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
The Rams also improved to 3-0 with a 44-7 rout of Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday.
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