CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Jason Walker can’t haul in a pass between Angelo State secondary members (from left) Brandon Eubanks, Jared Hicks and Michael McLeod on a fake field goal attempt in the third quarter of Saturday’s LSC South Division game at Greyhound Stadium.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
BLACKWATER DRAW — For a long time, it looked like Eastern New Mexico University was in trouble Saturday against Angelo State. Then it looked like the Greyhounds were poised to win.
In the end, though, ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo said the Hounds got what they deserved in a 28-21 Lone Star Conference South Division loss to the Rams in double overtime at Greyhound Stadium.
“We played (poorly),” said a frustrated Ribaudo. “All three phases of our game stunk. The only thing that kept us in the game is that Angelo is also struggling.”
Junior running back Daniel Thomas gained 149 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns for the Rams (2-3, 1-1 South), including both of Angelo’s scores in the overtime. He scored over left tackle on fourth-and-1 from the 5 to tie it 21-21 in the first OT, then gave the Rams the lead with a 1-yard TD run in the second extra session.
ENMU’s possession was snuffed when quarterback Michael Benton, whose 25-yard run on the second play of the first overtime put the Hounds in front, was thrown for a short loss on fourth-and-2 inside the 10.
Rams coach Dale Carr said his defense didn’t exactly stop the Hounds option offense, although he allowed it may have slowed it down a bit.
The Hounds finished with 330 yards, with junior Tim Hammett gaining 123 yards on 19 carries and scoring on runs of 35 and 23 yards. But Benton, the second-leading rusher in NCAA Division II, was held to 96 yards on 21 carries and went 0-for-4 passing.
“I think our guys are starting to expect to win,” Carr said. “I think our guys knew we could win in the overtime.”
Both teams battled a stiff breeze, which affected Angelo more because the Rams throw the ball more than ENMU. Sophomore quarterback Josh Neiswander was 19-for-38 for 199 yards, including a 47-yard TD pass to Chris Fowler — with the wind — in the third quarter.
“The wind was a big factor, especially on special teams,” Carr said. “I think it hurt both sides at times.”
Going into the wind late in the third quarter, the Hounds moved into scoring position. On fourth down, they lined up for a field goal, but holder Michael Carrasco pulled the ball and threw into the end zone where his pass to Jason Walker was broken up.
Ribaudo was disturbed by ENMU’s three turnovers, including a fumbled pitch by Walker at the ENMU 1 that set up Thomas’ first TD in the opening period.
“We just didn’t play good,” Ribaudo said. “Angelo made some things happen when it counted.”
Hammett, a junior college tranfer from Midland, Texas, who carried the ball 17 times in the first five games, and freshman Ron Feaster got extensive time in the backfield. Feaster had six carries for 33 yards.
“We decided to give Hammett and Feaster a shot,” Ribaudo said. “We felt like we needed to be able to run tougher.”