No. 2 Abilene Christian rallies past Hounds

Freedom New Mexico

Freedom New Mexico

ABILENE, Texas — Junior running back Reggie Brown rushed for 235 yards and scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns Saturday night as second-ranked Abilene Christian rallied for a 44-33 victory over Eastern New Mexico University in the Lone Star Conference South Division opener for both teams.

The Wildcats (5-0) held the high-powered Greyhounds to 303 total yards of offense — 304 yards passing and minus-1 yard rushing — but trailed from late in the second quarter until the start of the final period.

The teams played to a scoreless tie after one quarter. Sophomore quarterback J.J. Harp threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes of the half to put the Greyhounds (2-3) in front 13-6.

ACU’s Ryan Owens connected on his third field goal of the second stanza — a 27-yarder as time expired — to pull the Wildcats to 13-9. Still, it marked the first time Abilene Christian had trailed at halftime in a regular-season game since its 2007 finale against Midwestern State.

The Hounds then went up 20-9 less than two minutes into the third quarter when cornerback Mark Patterson intercepted a pass by Zach Stewart and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats answered immediately on a 100-yard kickoff return by Justin Johnson.

The teams then traded touchdown passes, and ENMU’s Taylor Gannon booted a 39-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter to give the Hounds a 30-23 lead.

The Wildcats countered with a three-play, 51-yard drive capped by Brown’s 6-yard TD run on the first play of the final period to make it 30-30.

Cannon’s 35-yard field goal with 12:27 left, capping a 10-play, 62-yard march, put the Hounds back in front with 12:27 left. Owens missed a 35-yarder wide left on the Wildats’ ensuing possession, but a 12-yard punt by the Hounds’ Tim Hall went out of bounds at the ENMU 15 and set up Brown’s 15-yard TD run two plays later, putting ACU ahead 37-33 with 5:58 to go.

The Wildcats’ Major Culbert then intercepted Harp on ENMU’s first play following the kickoff, returning it three yards to the Hounds 22. Brown went the distance on the next play to give the Wildcats some cushion.

Harp led the Hounds to the Abilene Christian 25 before the drive died on downs. The Wildcats countered with a march to the ENMU 3, where they downed the ball twice to run out the clock.

Harp finished 32-of-65 passing with three TDs and three interceptions. He was sacked four times.

Linebacker Texavier Henry led the Hounds’ defensive effort with 13 total tackles, followed by 12 from linebacker Derek Dimitroff and 11 from cornerback Roeney Mitchell.

Brown finished with 235 yards rushing for the Wildcats, averaging nine yards per carry.