By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
BLACKWATER DRAW — The Eastern New Mexico University football team was coming off a five-game losing streak. And to make matters worse heading into Saturday’s Texas A&M-Kingsville game, the playing status of junior quarterback Michael Benton was in question due to a concussion.
As it turned out, Benton played virtually the whole way and was involved in four touchdowns as ENMU posted a 37-14 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday.
Benton didn’t practice until Wednesday, but showed few affects of the concussion. He caught a touchdown pass from wide receiver Logan Capps on the game’s opening series and threw a scoring pass to running back Fide Davalos early in the second quarter.
The Hounds (2-6, 1-4 South) finished off the win with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including scoring runs by Benton of 21 and 40 yards.
Benton said he felt fine all week.
“I haven’t had any headaches,” he said. “Our offensive line played well, and the receivers and backs did a good job for us.
“Guys just kept executing better and better as the game went.”
The touchdown passes were the first of the season for the Hounds.
“Their defense was playing us for the run, but we were able to get them a little bit off-guard,” said Davalos, who also rushed for 73 yards. “It was a fun game.”
Benton’s TD catch came on the game’s opening series.
Benton, the Hounds’ leading rusher, dug ENMU out of trouble with a long run for a first down. With the ball at their 45, the Hounds brought Capps around from left end to take a pitch and he found Benton running all alone behind the defense.
“We just kept putting it to them,” ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo said. “We knew if we kept the pressure on them, some good things would start happening for us.”
Meantime, ENMU’s defense held the Javelinas (3-6, 0-4) to 223 yards. Most of Kingsville’s yardage came on two scoring drives.
“It feels good to just go out and play your best and come out with a victory,” senior linebacker Tony Johnson said.
With two games left, the Hounds hope they can build on the victory.
‘We’re trying to win out right now,” linebacker Jeremy Mullins said. “We’re not going to give up, that’s for sure.”