Harris, filling in for a hobbled starter Keith Null, completed 24-of-35 passes for four scores in the first start of his college career, helping the Buffs remain perfect in Lone Star Conference play at 7-0. The 9-0 start breaks the school record posted by Don Carthel’s first WTAMU squad which began the 2005 season at 8-0. WTAMU is now 30-4 (.882) in three seasons under Carthel. Angelo State, meanwhile, falls to 2-6 on the season and 2-5 in LSC action.
Harris’ first trip on the field did not end as he drew it up as a promising opening drive by the Buffs was ended when the Whitesboro, Texas, native’s pass was picked off by ASU’s Pete Parker.
The Buffalo defense would ensure that the miscue would not come back to haunt the team as senior outside linebacker Raymond Hightower was able to get into the Ram backfield and force a fumble while sacking ASU quarterback Josh Neiswander. Junior Jared Brock was able to jump on the loose ball to notch his second fumble recovery of the season.
For the second straight trip, a turnover by the Buffalo offense would end a potential scoring drive, this time a fumble by B.J. Vickers gave the ball back to the Rams. The third try on offense was the charm for the Buffs as Harris navigated the Buffs 69 yards down the field in eight plays and put points on the scoreboard with an 8-yard scoring strike to A.J. Ruffins. The score was Ruffins; team leading seventh touchdown reception of the season.
For the game, WTAMU rolled up 579 yards of total offense while the Buff defenders limited the Rams to only 291 yards of offense, much of which came in the fourth quarter with the issue decided. Junior Brandon Swain was a force for the Buffs, collecting a team-high eight tackles and three quarterback sacks while adding his LSC leading eighth sack of the season. A 10-0 lead was the result of the next WTAMU drive as senior kicker Jon Roberts connected on a 25-yard field goal attempt. The kick was Robert’s sixth successful attempt in his last seven field goal tries.
The Buffalo defenders were able to force another punt from the Rams on the ensuing possession and ASU punter Jeff Jones pinned the Buffs deep in their own territory as his kick was downed at the WTAMU one-yard line.
Faced with an uphill task, the WTAMU offense made history as following an incomplete pass, Flemming took a handoff and found a hole behind his offensive line to race 99 yards for the Buffs second touchdown of the evening. The rush was the longest in LSC history, breaking the previous conference record of 98-yards by Texas A&I’s Wesley Whiten against Fort Hays State during the 1995 season. The last time the Buffs had a player collect a 99-yard run was Sept. 26, 1970, when WT was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, and Ralph Thompson rolled up a 99-yarder against Wichita State.
ASU kicker Brad Holcomb’s field goal attempt from 44 yards fell short as time expired in the first half, sending the teams to the locker rooms with the Buffs holding a 17-0 advantage. Another long rush by Flemming set up the first WTAMU points of the second half as the Mesquite, Texas, native reeled off a 64-yard gain that put the Buffs in scoring position at the 13-yard line. Two plays later, Harris lobbed a pass into the corner of the end zone that Ruffins was able to pull down in front of a defender for his second score of the night, putting WT up by the count of 24-0.
The Rams were finally able to get on the scoreboard at the 6:29 mark of the third quarter as Ryan Smith connected on a 26-yard field goal. West Texas A&M struck back when they received the ASU kick off as Harris marched the Buffs 82 yards on nine plays, taking 4:20 off the clock and putting seven points on the scoreboard; he delivered the ball to Seth Hayden on a crossing pattern and Hayden was able to slash his way 12 yards to the end zone.
Junior receiver Carl Johnson got in the action on the Buffs next drive as he hauled in a 55-yard pass from Harris and moved the team down to the ASU four-yard line. Johnson was able to cash in on the next play as he hauled in his second touchdown reception of the season. Johnson ended play with a game-high 92 receiving yards on five touchdowns.
A Matt McIntyre interception would lead to the Ram’s first touchdown of the night as Michael McLeod picked off a pass from the Buffs quarterback and returned the interception 35 yards to the end zone, cutting the led to 38-10. The Rams would add a late touchdown against a Buff defense comprised of mostly reserves to give the game its final of 38-17.
Next weekend, the Buffalo football program will honor its senior class prior to its final home game as the team hosts Central Oklahoma in a 6 p.m. match up at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium
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