ABILENE, Texas — Abilene Christian did it to the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds again.
Senior running back Richard Whitaker capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with his second touchdown of the night Saturday, an 8-yard run which put the Wildcats in front for good with 6:47 left en route to a 24-14 victory over ENMU in the Lone Star Conference South Division opener for both teams.
ACU (2-2 overall) bolted to a 14-0 lead with two touchdowns in less than four minutes in the second quarter, then dominated the final 10 minutes after ENMU (4-1), ranked 19th in two NCAA Division II polls this week, missed a golden opportunity to take the lead.
It was the Wildcats’ fifth consecutive win over the Hounds — and the fourth time in that stretch ENMU entered the game undefeated.
Whitaker, who rushed for 153 yards on 27 carries, scored the game’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run with 9:49 left in the second quarter, capping a four-play, 53-yard march. Getting the ball back on their own 19, the Wildcats made it 14-0 on an 81-yard pass play from quarterback Colby Freeman to sophomore wide receiver Lawrence Hardeman.
ENMU countered with a 76-yard drive in four plays, pulling to 14-7 at halftime on a 27-yard run by junior running back Jason Tezeno with 4:50 to go. Tezeno finished with 147 yards on 14 carries.
The Hounds dominated most of the third quarter, keeping the Wildcats pinned deep in their end with the help of solid punting by Steven Todd. ENMU finally capitalized early in the final stanza with sophomore running back Dwayne Davis going in from a yard out with 7:49 left.
Eastern then got a break when the Wildcats’ Kendrick Walker fumbled the ensuing kickoff and E.J. Ume recovered, giving the Hounds possession at the ACU 13. But three plays netted only five yards, and freshman kicker Lee Price was wide right on a 25-yard field goal.
The Wildcats promptly mounted their go-ahead drive, with eight of the nine plays on the ground. The key play was a third-down, 35-yard run on a reverse by Vince Copeland.
ACU wrapped up the game when junior Eben Nelson booted a 41-yard field goal with 1:38 left.
The Wildcats posted a 351-344 advantage in total offense.
Strong safety Adrian Quigley led the Hounds on defense with 12 tackles, including seven solo stops, and three pass breakups.