OPSU Loses Shootout against McMurry

—By Daulton Perry on 09/30/2012 Aggie linebacker Alejandro Pina brings down McMurry's D. J. Baiza in Saturday's game.—Sage Fischer photoAggie linebacker Alejandro Pina brings down McMurry's D. J. Baiza in Saturday's game.—Sage Fischer photo Goodwell, Okla.—Saturday was a great day to play catch.

That's what McMurry University's offense thought when they came to take on the Aggies in Goodwell for Oklahoma Panhandle State University's second home game. The last time the Aggies were at home, they won a nail biter against Lindenwood University and they were hoping to pull away with another home victory against the McMurry War Hawks. McMurry was coming into this game with a record of 1-2 and their air attack was a threat for anybody's secondary. The Aggies, who were on a two game winning streak, were looking to make it three in a row.

McMurry received the opening kickoff and 11 plays and 75 yards later, quarterback Jake Mullin found wide receiver Greg Livingston for a 5-yard touchdown completion to put the War Hawks up 7-0 barely 4 minutes into the game. Thanks to a 30-yard return by Nick Collins, the Aggies were set up with a short field for their first drive, but were only able to come away with a field goal to cut the War Hawk lead to 7-3. The ensuing War Hawk drive was nothing but an air attack as Mullin was 6-6 for 83 yards and finished it off with a 24 yard touchdown pass to running back Paxton Grayer to push their lead up to 14-3, the score at the end of quarter one.

The Aggies had the ball to start the second quarter and were held to a field goal to make it 14-6. With 7:23 left in the first half, Mullin connected with running back Chris Simpson for a 16-yard touchdown pass, increasing the War Hawk lead 21-6. With 1:21 left before the half, Mullins again connected with Livingston for a 15 yard touchdown pass and the score at half was 28-6.

OPSU received the second half kickoff and they started their opening drive from their own 9-yard line, but about five minutes later, the Aggies ran 12 plays for 91 yards that was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown rush from quarterback Caleb Holbrook and after Justice Patterson ran into the 2-pt conversion, the Aggies were down just 28-14. However, the War Hawks responded with their own 6 play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard Grayer TD rush. McMurry led 35-14. The Aggies ensuing drive started off on their own 6-yard line, but 13 plays and 94 yards later, Holbrook found wide receiver Ricky Backstrom in the end zone for a 15-yard completion that cut the War Hawk lead to just 35-21.

In the fourth, thanks to a great defensive stop by the Aggies that forced the first three and out for McMurry, OPSU got the ball back with plenty of time to get within striking distance. On the second play of their drive, Holbrook connected with Patterson for a 50-yard reception that set up an 8-yard TD pass to Hollingshed on a 4th and 4. The point after kick was no good and the War Hawks now led 35-27 with 12:42 left on the clock. McMurry responded well and put together a 10-play, 72-yard drive that was capped with a TD pass from Mullin to Joshua Chatman and their lead jumped up to 42-27. The Aggies started their next drive with 8:17 left on the game clock and Chris McClendon found the end zone from 4 yards out for a TD, but Nieto's extra point was blocked and instead of the Aggies being within one scoring possession, they were now down 42-33 and two scoring possessions. That deficit would be too much for the Aggies to overcome and the final score of the game was McMurry University over OPSU, 42-33.

Holbrook was 16-31 for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns. His counterpart, Mullin, connected for 34 of 45 for 440 yards and 5 touchdowns. OPSU ran the ball 49 times for a net total of 207 yards with Holbrook rushing for 88 yards on 18 rushes and one touchdown. Daniel Wise had 5 receptions for 70 yards. The game was a clean game in that neither team committed a turnover. OPSU led in total yards of offense with 467 yards compared with 422 by McMurry. With this loss, the Aggies fall to 2-2 on the season.

Post game, head coach Russell Gaskamp said, "While it is obvious we didn't execute the way we wanted to in the first half, I was very pleased with the way we competed in the 2nd half. We came back from a large deficit and had our opportunities at the end to pull out a victory. We just came up a bit short. I was very proud of our team and feel like we took another important step to becoming a good football team."

The Aggies head to Tyler, Texas next weekend where they will face Texas College with kickoff set for 2 p.m.

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