ALPINE, Texas – It was all laid on the line in the second half for East Texas Baptist University as they overcame nine point deficit to come from behind to finish the season the way they started with a win, 34-32, over Sul Ross State University. ETBU outscored Sul Ross State, 14-7, in the fourth quarter and denied a Sul Ross State two-point conversion to come away with their third win of the year.
“I am really proud of how the guys responded and fought today with their fighting spirit and their never say die attitude,” says head coach Joshua Eargle. “It was a great team win today coming from behind when we were down by nine points. Our kids kept fighting and that’s the type of team we have had all year.”
The season came down to one play on a two-point conversion. After Sul Ross State scored on a 10-yard run with 1:01 left, they went for two points to tie the game at 34. Sul Ross State quarterback Derrick Bernard tossed a pass to Keyon Lee to the left side of the field but Lee bobbled it some and then tried to make some magic happen. As he turned around to run back toward ETBU’s sideline he was brought down at the 15-yard line but a slew of ETBU defenders denying the tie. ETBU took the ensuing kickoff and ran the clock out to end the game.
Toi Glover and Tyler Bates both led the ETBU offense finishing the season strong. Glover ran for 170 yards on a career-high 40 carries and finishes the season with 1,038 yards rushing. Bates caught two touchdown passes from Jake McClain in the fourth quarter breaking the single season record for touchdown catches at 10. He surpasses Earl Morris (2003) and Jabori Jackson’s (2001) record of nine and also finishes the season with a record 73 receptions.
Jamaine Sherman was held to only one catch for 10-yards today but leaves ETBU with the single season record in yards receiving at 1,080. He also had 61 receptions which would have also broken the single season record.
It was the fourth quarter that was the difference for ETBU as the biggest quarter of the season for them. Down 26-20 headed into the final quarter of the season, Bates caught two straight touchdown passes from McClain at the 13:11 mark and 7:49 mark. The first was a seven-yard pass from McClain to put ETBU up 27-26 after McClain drove the team 82-yards on a 10-play drive. Just under six minutes later, holding onto the one-point lead, Bates went across the middle as McClain hit him in the numbers with a 34-yard pass for the eight point lead, 34-26.
Sul Ross State answered with just over two minutes on the clock going 80-yards in just 1:10 to pull within two, 34-32. The big play came when Bernard hit Cordrick Mobley on a 45-yard pass to the ETBU 14-yard line. Three plays later Sul Ross State scored before being denied the tying two-point conversion.
Jumping out to a 10-point lead, 10-0, in the first quarter, ETBU’s first touchdown came on a McClain three-yard run led by the biggest NCAA Division III backfield on that play. Offensive linemen Pat Griffin and Landon Boffman lined up as backs and led the way for McClain to the end zone. Just three minutes into the second quarter Bernard ran 28-yards for his first rushing touchdown of the game putting the Lobos up, 16-7. ETBU answered with a six-player 45-yard with 24 of the yards coming from Glover on the ground as he finished with a nine-yard jaunt pulling within two, 16-14, at the half.
Sul Ross State took their biggest lead of nine, 23-14, just over two minutes into the third quarter when Keyon Lee broke several tackles for a 37-yard touchdown run. It was five minutes later that ETBU pulled to within three, 23-20, as Glover picked up his second rushing touchdown of the game. John Jorgenson made a 34-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the third quarter as Sul Ross State extended their lead to six, 26-20, headed into the fourth quarter. The drive and will to win for ETBU was the difference in the fourth as ETBU outscored Sul Ross State, 14-7.
ETBU finished the day with 379 yards of total offense as 301 of those yards were on the ground. They turned the ball over three times but the defense also had three interceptions on the day. Sul Ross State put up 402 yards of total offense as 268 was on the ground.
Hunter Jameson led the team with eight tackles as David Lee and Drew Benge each had six. Cameron Cloudy collected two interceptions while Christian Johnson picked off one. David Jaynes and Thomas Warren shared a sack on the day.
ETBU’s program is looking forward as several records were broken this season and a youthful team finished out the year with the third win over Sul Ross State.