The West Texas A&M Buffaloes lost to the Angelo State Rams in a homecoming heartbreaker this past Saturday, 35-17. This loss dropped the Buffs to 2-2 on the season while the sixth ranked Rams moved to 4-0.
The game was a close one for most of the first half, with the Buffs actually jumping out to an early lead when Jarrian Rhone had a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown. Angelo State scored shortly after on a one yard run by Kyle Washington, which was answered by a 73 yard touchdown through the air with Ethan Brinkley connecting with Xavier Amey
Though the score was tied at the end of the first quarter, Angelo was ahead 28-17 at the end of the second after the Buffs defense failed several times to get off the field on third down and also failed to move the ball effectively. At the end of the first half, Angelo State had already accrued 445 total yards of offense. Most of those yards were from the Rams highly touted quarterback, Kyle Washington. Buffs linebacker Trevor Myklebust said that Washington was a great athlete, but the Buffs’ defense was prepared and just didn’t execute.
“We were prepared. We knew he was a great athlete,” Myklebust said. “We just didn’t execute. Everything he did positively, we gave it to him. He earned all those yards. We just didn’t execute our game plan. Our game plan wasn’t wrapped around him. There’s multiple athletes on their offense, and we need to account for them.”
Angelo State head coach Will Wagner felt that their offense matched up extremely well against the Buffs’ defense, and that they had more than just Washington at their disposal. He also praised his team’s defensive play even when they team was stagnate in the third quarter.
“Well, we thought we matched up very well,” Wagner said. “We’ve got some good receivers and some good backs, so we know that Washington doesn’t always have to carry the load. That third quarter, even when our offense struggled a little bit, our defense, who has struggled a bit, took over.”
The Buffs did show life in the third quarter, especially the defense who didn’t allow a score. They forced the Rams to three straight fourth downs, but the offense failed to capitalize on any of the opportunities they received.
“I thought our defense still did a good job in the third quarter. I thought our d-line starting playing better,” Buffs head coach Mike Nesbitt said. “Credit is all to them. Will had his guys ready to play. They got after us up front and were able to control the flow of the game.”
Nesbitt also said that Washington was as good as he had been advertised throughout the year.
“Oh, no doubt. We let him be two dimensional. We let him run the football, we run the blitz right into him, and he goes 70 yards untouched,” Nesbitt said. “I thought he was a good player. What he did really well was his passing, and his receivers made very good plays for us.”
Nesbitt said that mistakes ultimately doomed the Buffs, who had two drives in the third quarter end in turnovers rather than points.
“We had the two turnovers after our defense played very well. We were driving down the field on those too,” Nesbitt said. “Even if we don’t get the touchdown on those drives, even if we get the six points out of those, now all of the sudden we’re gaining momentum, we’re chipping away, but we just couldn’t down to do that.”
The Buffs now head into a bye week before going on the road to take on a Midwestern State team that is currently undefeated.
“We’ll get after it in the bye week,” Nesbitt said. “We’ll have a real good week of practice. We’ll go back to some fundamental stuff and get ready for [Midwestern]. We’ll see what happens.”