Keidrick Jackson rushed for a career high 160 yards and scored four of the Mustangs six touchdowns as Midwestern State defeated Texas A&M-Kingsville 44-38 at Memorial Stadium. The Mustangs victory on Saturday night improves their record to 3-0 on the season.
Jackson was the straw that stirred the drink on MSU’s offense, also leading the team with 68 yards receiving on four catches. One of Jackson’s touchdowns came through the air on a 45 yard pass play from Brandon Kelsey to open the scoring as Midwestern jumped out to an early lead.
Jackson’s touchdown reception 9:36 into the game was the only scoring of the first quarter. The Mustangs would tack on a Greg Saladino field goal and two Lester Bush rushing touchdowns to increase their lead to 23-0 before the Javelinas cracked the scoreboard to begin an impressive comeback attempt.
A blocked extra point after a one yard touchdown run by Bush was scooped up by Kerry Wheatfall and returned for two points to end the shutout. TAMK would cut deeper into the Mustangs lead with a five yard touchdown pass from Nate Poppell to Christian Taylor with 59 seconds left in the second quarter.
The 23-9 Mustangs lead would hold until halftime.
The Javelina’s defense would make it a game less than a minute into the second half. Rockeem Collins picked off a Kelsey pass at midfield, returning the ball 49 yards for a touchdown and cutting the MSU lead to seven.
It would take Midwestern State one play after the ensuing kickoff to respond on a 77 yard run by Jackson. The first of three rushing touchdowns for the Arlington native gave MSU a 30-16 advantage.
A sense of deja vu may have come over the 8,120 fans in attendance when the Javelinas scored again. Another five yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds left in the third quarter, this time from Poppell to Derek Tesch, cut the Mustangs lead to eight. The extra point missed to leave the score at 30-22.
After forcing Midwestern to punt, a five play, 79 yard drive by the Javelinas was capped by a 30 yard touchdown run by Randall Toney. The two point conversion would fail, but after trailing 23-0 earlier in the game the Javelinas pulled to within two points at 30-28.
Midwestern State would burn just over four minutes on their next drive, putting the ball in the hands of Jackson on four of the last five plays to increase their lead. After working over the right side of the line, Jackson would bull his way through the left side on a two yard touchdown run to put MSU up 37-28.
TAMK would be held to a 28 yard Matt Stoll field goal on their next possession, allowing MSU to essentially put the game away with another four minute drive capped by Jackson’s third rushing touchdown to put the Mustangs ahead 44-31.
The Javelinas would go down kicking, but with 2:13 left in the game took a lot of time doing it. An 11 play, 80 yard drive ended with a Daniel Ramirez 14 yard touchdown pass to Robert Armstrong.
The touchdown and extra point cut the MSU lead to 44-38, but left only 11 second on the clock. The onside kick by the Javelinas was recovered by Midwestern at the TAMK 42 and the Mustangs ran out the clock.
Bush would compliment Jackson’s 160 yards with a solid 92 yards rushing on 20 attempts. Bush would also find the end zone two times in the game. David Little was close behind Jackson in receiving, with 60 yards on 4 catches.
Despite throwing two interceptions, Kelsey would turn in another solid game with a 15-for-23 performance and 220 yard passing.
On defense, Romie Blaylock would record 12 tackles to lead the Mustangs, with eight solo efforts. Neiko Conway would grab the only interception for MSU, and Kevin Birdow, Domnik Cobos, and Paul Gonzalez would all record sacks.
Toney would lead the Javelinas in rushing with 111 yards on 10 attempts, also scoring TAMK’s only rushing touchdown. Armstrong would be their leading receiver with seven catches, while Taylor led TAMK with 72 yards.
Poppell would pass for 219 yards and two touchdowns while throwing one pick. Ramirez would finish out the game with an 8-for-10 performance and 70 yards with one touchdown.
Jeremy Aguilar would led the way on the Javelinas defense with 15 tackles. Aguilar was also in on TAMK’s only sack of the game as he paired up with Ricky Marshall.
Collins and Demontrelle Smith would both have interceptions in the game.
The Mustangs remain undefeated with the victory, also improving their record in the Lone Star Conference to 2-0. The victory also helped MSU break into the AFCA Division II Top 25 poll at No. 22.
Texas A&M-Kingsville falls to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in conference play.