War Hawks bounce nationally-ranked Bacone, 47-14
McMurry University ran its current win streak to four games, thanks to its 47-14 victory over Bacone College at Wilford Moore Stadium. The War Hawks improved to 7-3 on the year by virtue of the win over the Warriors (7-3), the No. 23-ranked team in the NAIA's latest national poll.
Bacone entered the day rated as the NAIA's top team in pass efficiency defense, as well. BC had permitted just one passing touchdown entering the game. McMurry senior quarterback Jake Mullin had another good day to put a dent in that statistic, completing 31-of-43 passes for 302 yards and one TD.
Bacone held a huge advantage in time of possession, 34:35 to 25:25 minutes, with the Warriors actually chalking up one more first down than McM (20-19).
On the ground, sophomore Chris Simpson led McM with 104 yards on 15 carries. He also had a pair of rushing TD's on runs of 19 and 22 yards.
But the day truly belonged to the McMurry defensive unit, which received stellar performances from all quarters. Three of the War Hawks scores on the afternoon came directly as a result of the defense.
Sophomore transfer Desmond Guy took over the team lead in interceptions, adding two more today to give him five on the year. Among the pilfered passes was one returned 32 yards for a TD just prior to intermission that gave McMurry a 34-7 locker room lead.
That followed Guy's 42 yard fumble recovery and return for a score early in the first quarter. Guy would finish the day with a team-leading eight tackles, as well.
Freshman linebacker Scott Roberson shared high tackle honors for McM with teammate Guy. Roberson also had eight stops. Cory Pippen, John Keith, Jr. and Markell Rice all contributed six tackles, apiece. Rice had one of his team's two sacks Matt DaPra and Josh Jones shared the other).
Senior cornerback D.J. Baiza also had a memorable afternoon. Baize picked off a pair of Bacone aerials and blocked a field goal attempt. Just for good measure, the Post, Texas native had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth stanza that made the score the 47-14 final.
Baiza's punt return for a TD was the fifth of his McMurry career, adding to his on-going school record.
McM reeled off 21-unanswered points to open the game before Bacone even responded. A one-yard dive by Mullin on a quarterback keeper with 11:50 left in the first period made it 7-0, after Cory Foust's PAT kick.
That was followed by Guy's fumble return and Simpson's first TD jaunt (all I the first period). The Warriors cut the margin to 21-7 at the 4:54 mark of the same period.
Unruffled, the War Hawks responded with another three scores without a BC response. A second Simpson run, Guy's interception return and an 18-yard Mullin-to-Jeret Smith pass extended the War Hawks advantage to 40-14 by the end of the third period. The Smith-Mullin connection capped a six-play, 48-yard drive.
Sophomore wide receiver Greg Livingston caught 11 balls for 111 yards, for his third-straight 100-yard receiving game. Livingston also upped his season reception total to 79, setting a new McM season record for total catches (passing Fre Rau's 1997 total of 75 grabs).
Livingston also ran his receiving yardage total to 923 yards, moving ahead of Marcus Franklin into the second position on the War Hawks' season list. Livingston trails just R.J. Long's 2010 total of 1,131 yards.
Mullin continued to re-write his McMurry legacy. His 302 passing yards versus the Warriors gave him both 3,000 passing yards (3,030) for the second-consecutive season, as well as pushed his career total above 12,000 passing yards (12,009).
The War Hawks will close out the regular scheduled portion of their season next Saturday with a game versus the University of Mexico out of Mexico City.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.