Buffs escape physical Angelo State Rams

Matthew Watkins

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Sports Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Sports Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

The No. 17 WTAMU Buffalo football team looked to rebound from their loss in Stephenville as they hosted the Angelo State Rams at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium on Oct. 19. The Buffs were able to rally from an 11-point third quarter deficit to pull out a 34-30 win.

WT opened the scoring on their first drive when senior Dustin Vaughn hit senior Torrence Allen for a 46-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 with 13:49 remaining in the first. The Rams would score on their ensuing drive on a 43-yard run by quarterback Kyle Washington to tie the game 7-7, which would be the score at the end of the first quarter.

After each team kicked a field goal to make it a 10-10 game, senior Taylor McCuller recovered a fumble, but the Buffs offense would be stopped on fourth and goal at their the Rams one. On the first play of the ASU drive, senior Ethan Westbrooks tackled Rams running back Jermie Calhoun in the end zone for a safety and a 12-10 WT lead. Vaughn would throw his second interception on the Buffs next drive leading to a 17-yard touchdown run by Blake Smith, but the point after attempt was blocked, giving ASU a 16-12 lead with 6:39 to go before halftime.

Vaughan would hit Allen for their second touchdown connection of the game from nine yards out putting WT back on top, 19-16. The pass also made Vaughn the new all-time touchdown leader at WT with his 93rd career touchdown pass, surpassing Keith Null. Vaughn finished the game with 94 career touchdowns.

After a 25-yard touchdown pass from Washington to Joey Knight with 14 seconds on the clock, ASU would take a 23-19 lead into the locker room. The Rams outgained the Buffs 367 yards to 294 yards in the first half, including a 176 yards to only 26 yards advantage in the running game.

“It all goes back to whose coaching [ASU],” Interim Head Coach Mike Nesbitt said. “He breathes physical football and his team reflects that on the field.”

The Buffs offense would stall after the defense recovered a fumble on ASU’s first possession of the second half. The third quarter proved to be a defensive struggle until Smith ran a two-yard touchdown with 3:02 left to give the Rams a 30-19 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“We knew it would be a physical game coming in,” Vaughn said. “We weren’t ready for what they brought early in the game.”

WT started a rally when senior Sergio Castillo, Jr. kicked a 39-yard field goal with 11:53 to play to make it a 30-22 ASU lead. Vaughn would throw two touchdown passes, one to senior Jace Jackson and another to senior Aaron Harris with 1:51 seconds on the clock to give the Buffs a 34-30 lead. After the WT defense stopped a fourth down attempt by the Rams, the offense was able to run out the clock and seal the comeback win.

Despite ASU having 554 total yards to the Buffs 519 yards, WT outgained the Rams 471-298 threw the air. Vaughan finished 32 of 58 passing for 471 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

The Buffs are now 6-1 overall with a 3-1 record in the Lone Star Conference, and they extended their winning streak versus Angelo to eight consecutive games and nine of the last 10 meetings between them. WT returns to action on Oct. 26 in Abilene, Texas against McMurry at 2 p.m.

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Buffs escape physical Angelo State Rams