ABILENE, Texas - McMurry University's football team closed out the 2013 season with a record-setting, 55-20, win over Southern Nazarene University at Wilford Moore Stadium. The victory gave the War Hawks (3-8) two-straight wins to draw the curtain on the year.
As has been the case virtually every game in 2013 – regardless of the outcome – McM had another big offensive output. The War Hawks amassed 672 yards of total offense, bolstered by freshman quarterback Gabe Rodriguez's first career 500-yard passing day.
Rodriguez completed 37-of-48 passes for 502 yards. Rodriguez also added to his McM season-record total for touchdown passes by tossing six more aerial scores versus the Crimson Storm (0-11). He finished the season with a total of 43 TDs through the air, despite not starting the team's frist three games of the year.
Among the McMurry school records to go by the wayside in the finale were team standards for total plays (929…was 847), plays per game (84.5…was 80.1), total offensive yards (5,754…was 5,082) and yards per game (523.1…was 494.7).
Individually, junior wide receiver Greg Livingston caught his 16th and 17th touchdown passes of the season, surpassing the mark of 15 set by RJ Long in 2010. On the afternoon, Livingston hauled in 13 passes for 224 yards versus SNU, giving him 1,273 receiving yards that also surpassed Long's 2010 total (1,131).
Livingston and teammate Jeret Smith also became the most prolific receiving combo in a season with 2,119 yards between them (Smith finished 2013 with 846 yards). Long and Marcus Franklin had combined for 1,942 yards in 2010.
Junior placekicker Ian McCarthy was the benefactor of McM's scoring prowess in 2013 as he established knew school season records for extra point kicks made (48) and attempted (56). The previous holder of both records was Jessie Garcia in 2010, when he was 41-of-48.
In the early going, however, it didn't look like the War Hawks would have much to celebrate as the guests jumped out to a 13-0 lead by the 13:01 juncture of the second quarter. However, David McHugh would catch a seven yard TD pass with 7:53 remaining until the break to cap an eight-play, 78 yard drive. A few minutes later Paxton Grayer's six-yard plunge completed a four-play, 94 yard series to knot matters at 13-13 as the teams headed to the locker room.
Less than four minutes into the third quarter, McHugh snagged his second TD aerial from Rodriguez, this time a distance of 26 yards, to give McM the 20-13 advantage. But the Crimson Storm did not falter, instead answering with a six-play, 65-yard drive that once again tied the contest, 20-20, with 11:04 left in the third stanza.
But that's when the walls caved in on SNU, as McMurry would reel off 35 unanswered points, 28 of which came via the air.
Rodriguez's assault included Livingston's record-breaking catch for a six-yard TD, a 60-yard strike to Ryan Nelson, a 38-yard scoring completion to Grayer and another to Livingston for 46 yards.
Rodriguez capped McM's scoring flurry with 4:35 left to play with a four-yard run, finalizing a 10-play, 53-yard drive and the 55-20 final score.
The War Hawks defensive unit also played one of its finest games of the season, holding Southern Nazarene to 336 total yards and forcing 10 Crimson Storm punts. The unit also sacked SNU signal-callers a total of seven times for losses totaling 55 yards.
Linebacker Niko Alana – who had a team-high nine tackles – had two 2.0 sacks. Senior Markell Rice closed out his senior campaigns with 1.5 sacks and six tackles. Chase Jackson had three tackles and an interception to his ledger.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.