By Dave Wagner
CNJ SPORTS WRITER
BLACKWATER DRAW — Things have been going pretty well for the Eastern New Mexico University football team lately, not so much for Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Rashan Lawrence and E’lon Spight each scored his first touchdown of the season — Lawrence on his first carry of the season and only one of the game — and ENMU outlasted the Javelinas 13-10 in a Lone Star Conference football game on Saturday at Greyhound Stadium.
The Greyhounds (4-3, 2-1 LSC) won a third consecutive game for the first time since 2007. Meantime, Kingsville (2-5, 0-4) has now lost five in a row for the first time since 1993.
ENMU’s defense limited the Javs to 203 yards, including just 55 in the second half, and the offense was just effective enough to get the job done.
The Hounds, trying to post their first winning record since 2004, face tough LSC games at Wagon Wheel rival West Texas A&M, at home against Midwestern State and at Texas A&M-Commerce to close out the season.
“It’s a good win, but we have to go uphill from here,” ENMU coach Josh Lynn. “It’s going to be a tall task.”
Lawrence, a senior from Decatur, Ga., gave ENMU a 7-3 lead in the third quarter with a five-yard run, capping a 75-yard, 12-play drive following the second-half kickoff. After Kingsville took advantage of a failed onside kick to take the lead back with a touchdown on its next possession, Spight went around left end for a 22-yard score late in the period, three plays after junior Cameron Mikell’s 48-yard punt return set the Hounds up on the Kingsville 35.
The Hounds then put together a 15-play drive to chew up most of the final eight minutes before freshman Mitchell Cox missed wide right on a 33-yard field goal attempt with 1:49 to go. Kingsville, out of timeouts, turned the ball over on downs when safety Kevin Reaves broke up a fourth-down pass intended for lanky wide receiver Robert Armstrong in the final minute.
“Defense is about that,” Reaves said of the platoon helping pick up a struggling offense. “If the offense fumbles, the defense has to get it back for them.
“We’ve got to come out and start better, but we’re going to get it fixed.”
Armstrong caught six passes for 94 yards, mostly against the much shorter Reaves. But almost all were on short passes.
“We knew No. 7 (Armstrong) was a good receiver,” said Reaves, who had one of ENMU’s two interceptions. “He had more catches than anyone on the team, but we were just doing what we’ve been taught and making plays.”
Sophomore quarterback Jeremy Buurma was an efficient 14-of-18 passing for 144 yards, but the Hounds struggled to get much going on offense.
“The coaches told us to pick it up (at halftime),” Mikell said. “We were shooting ourselves in the foot, but the defense played a good game.”
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Javelinas.
“The biggest thing is we’ve got to keep plugging away,” first-year coach David Calloway said. “We know the sun’s going to come up tomorrow. We’ve just got to go back to work on Monday.”
ENMU fumbled five times, losing only one, but that turned into a 40-yard field goal by Matt Stoll late in the first quarter that held up until halftime.
The Hounds said they’re looking forward to the upcoming stretch of tough games.
“We’re ready,” Mikell said. “I feel like each week we get better and closer as a group. I think we have a good shot to surprise some people.”
Lone Star Conference
ENMU 13, Texas A&M-Kingsville 10
A&M-Kingsville 3 0 7 0 — 10
ENMU 0 0 13 0 — 13
A&M-K — Matt Stoll 40-yard FG, 2:20
ENM — Rashan Lawrence 5-yard run (Mitchell Cox kick), 9:01
A&M-K — Anthony Washington 24-yard run (Stoll kick), 7:16
ENM — E’lon Spight 22-yard run (kick failed), 2:18
A — 2,248.
First downs 13 20
Rushes-yards 29-107 58-186
Passing yards 96 144
Total yards 203 330
Comp-att-int 15-32-2 14-18-1
Punting 5-41.6 5-38.4
Fumbles-lost 0-0 5-1
Penalties-yards 5-35 7-131
Rushing — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Greg Pitre 10-38, Washington 4-33, Cornelius Shackelford 9-23, Caleb Bedford 6-13. Eastern New Mexico, Spight 15-73, Christian Long 18-56, Jordan Wells 6-42, D’majeric Tucker 2-11, Cameron Mikel 4-6, Rashan Lawrence 1-5, Jeremy Buurma 9-0, team 3-minus 7.
Passing — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Bedford 13-27-2-89, Dean BGrantley 2-4-0-7, Angel Millan 0-1-0-0. Eastern New Mexico, Buurma 14-18-1-144.
Receiving — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Robert Armstrong 6-44, C.J. Griggs 3-15, Pitre 2-8, Shane Prater 1-10, Clyde Lee 1-7, Washington 1-7, Patrick LeFleur 1-5. Eastern New Mexico, Jacob Johnson 7-80, Aaron Johnson 3-43, Wells 3-16, Adrian Horton 1-5.