Defense stays strong for football squad
Published: Monday, September 12th, 2005
WEATHERFORD, Okla. — For the second year in a row, struggling Southwestern Oklahoma provided just the tonic needed by the Eastern New Mexico University football team. Quarterback Michael Benton ran for one touchdown and threw a pair of scoring passes to Derrick Hunter and the defense was in control throughout as the Greyhounds (1-2) posted a 28-0 Lone Star Conference crossover win over the Bulldogs. Last year, the Hounds also started 0-2, but blanked Southwestern 39-0 in their third game and went on to post the school’s seventh consecutive winning season (6-5). ENMU scored one touchdown in each quarter and kept the Bulldogs (0-3) at bay throughout, limiting Southwestern to 12 first downs, 70 yards rushing and 204 total yards. “It was a real team effort,” first-year ENMU head coach Mark Ribaudo said after the game. “We took advantage of their mistakes and we overcame ours.” Benton threw just nine passes, but completed seven for 113 yards. He also carried 21 times for 115 yards. Meantime, Hunter returned to the lineup after missing the first two games with a knee injury and caught four passes for 78 yards, including scoring tosses of 25 and 11 yards. “Derrick had a good game, and Michael had the best night he’s had all year,” Ribaudo said. “He threw the ball well.” ENMU put together drives of 12 and nine plays on its second and third possessions of the night for a 14-0 halftime lead. In the third quarter, defensive end Jorge Melendez returned a pass interception 58 yards to set up the second Benton-to-Hunter score. Fullback Sukora Cooper’s 19-yard run finished the scoring. Except for the short touchdown drive, the Hounds had at least one first down on each of their possessions in the game. “Defensively, we never felt out of control at all,” Ribaudo said. “Southwestern is a young team like us, but defensively we pressured the offense.” Ribaudo said the team came out of the game relatively injury-free. The Hounds return to Blackwater Draw for another crossover game at 6 p.m. Saturday against East Central. LSC notes — The South went 5-1 in crossovers over the weekend, all played at North schools, and is 9-3 with 12 games left. … Abilene Christian’s 20-14 overtime win over Northeastern State at Tahlequah, Okla., ended a six-game losing streak for the Wildcats in Oklahoma, dating to a 31-13 win at Southwestern in the 1998 opener. … West Texas A&M improved to 3-0 under former ENMU coach Don Carthell with a 44-31 win at 24th-ranked Central Oklahoma at Edmond, Okla. It was the first win for the Buffaloes in Edmond, and their first win over a ranked team since 2000 (Northeastern State). … WT safety Keith Gaither notched his seventh pass interception in three games.
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