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Early mistakes doom ENMU

Staff report

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University outgained Angelo State by 110 yards and posted a 24-12 edge in first downs on Saturday night, but that didn’t pay dividends.

The Rams got a 97-yard kickoff return from Anthony Yancy and a 49-yard fumble return by Jesse Hanson IV for first-quarter touchdowns and went on to a 41-20 Lone Star Conference victory over the Greyhounds.

The win keeps ASU (5-2, 4-2 LSC) in a four-way tie for second place with Midwestern State, West Texas A&M and Tarleton State heading into the final weekend of the season, and ensures that the Hounds (4-4, 2-4) will be the No. 6 seed in the upcoming conference playoffs and host a semifinal game in the bottom bracket on Nov. 8.

ENMU’s defense held junior quarterback Kyle Washington to just 29 yards rushing and the Rams to 78 yards overall on 26 attempts. But the Hounds couldn’t overcome the early mistakes.

Washington did finish 18-of-26 through the air for 174 yards. Meantime, ENMU senior running back E’lon Spight moved to 1,101 rushing yards for the season with a career-high 196 yards on 40 carries and two touchdowns.

Spight capped a 75-yard, 13-play drive following the opening kickoff with a 1-yard plunge, but the Rams promptly tied it on Yancy’s kickoff return. After a short ENMU punt, ASU drove 47 yards in five plays to take the lead on a 2-yard TD run by Warren Truesdale.

The Hounds then moved the ball to near midfield, but Spight’s fumble was returned for a score by Hanson for a 21-7 ASU lead with less than two minutes left in the quarter.

ENMU pulled to 28-20 early in the third quarter on a 15-yard TD pass from Jeremy Buurma to Aaron Johnson, but Mitchell Cox missed the PAT kick. ASU’s Peter Marquez added a pair of short field goals, and the Rams tacked on a touchdown with just over two minutes left on Washington’s 4-yard pass to Talon Smith.

The Hounds rushed the ball a whopping 81 times for 314 yards, but Buurma struggled with 3-of-12 through the air for 48 yards and two interceptions, the first time in his ENMU career he’s been picked off more than once. He was also sacked five times for a net loss of 25 yards, with defensive end Rush Seaver getting two of the sacks and finishing with 23 tackles.

The loss snapped a seven-game road winning streak for ENMU.