The Angelo State football team used a strong first half to defeat McMurry 48-35 on Saturday at Wilfred Moore Stadium in Abilene.
The Rams (2-3, 0-1) would again rack up the rushing yards with 322 yards on the ground and finish with 473 yards of total offense. The duo of Blake Smith and Jermie Calhoun hit career highs and both went over 100 yards for the second time this season.
The War Hawks (1-4) would outgain the Rams on offense with 483 yards of total offense but were held to 54 yards of offense from the 11:38 mark in the first quarter to the 12:34 mark in the third quarter.
McMurry opened the game taking its opening drive 11 plays for 75 yards scoring on a five yard pass from Gabe Rodriguez to Greg Livingston.
The Rams (2-3, 0-1 LSC) offense and defense would wake up and score 41 unanswered points before the War Hawks would answer in the third quarter.
Rodriguez, a freshmen from Amarillo, tossed four touchdowns, but was also intercepted twice going 22-46 with 243 yards in the air.
The Rams first drive of the game stalled at McMurry’s 36 yard line but the defense responded. A quick three and out and ASU had the ball in McMurry 33 yard line after a 17 yard punt by the War Hawks. Kyle Washington ran it in nine plays later to tie the game. It is Washington’s fifth rushing touchdown of the season.
The Ram defense stepped up again forcing its second straight three and out. ASU received good field position after McMurry’s punt only travelled 17 yards and took over at the McM 33 yard line. Eight plays later Blake Smith scored on an eight yard run to give the Rams their first lead at 14-7.
Jonathan Shannon, a freshman, grabbed his first career interception off a bad pass by Gabe Rodriguez at the McM 44 yard line.
Jermie Calhoun took a fourth and one handoff and scampered 35 yards for his first touchdown of the game but the extra point was missed to make it 20-7.
After the Ram defense forced its third three and out of the half, The Rams were looking to score again at the McMurry 11 yard line. Washington was stood up on a rush and the ball came lose with the War Hawks.
The Ram defense would respond again. On third and four at the McMurry seven yard line Rodriguez dropped back for a pass. Shannon broke on the route and picked off Rodriguez for the second time in the game and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.
It is the second time this season the Ram defense has returned a touchdown for a score.
McMurry’s offense would continue to be turned away. The War Hawks would only gain 31 yards in its final three drives of the first half.
The Rams used a little trickery on its final drive of the half. Angelo State had had good field position at the McMurry 33 yard line after Clayton Callicutt sacked Rodriguez on fourth down to force a turnover on downs.
With five seconds left in the half ASU lined up for a field goal at the seven yard line. The holder, Paul Mason, called for the snap picked it up and ran to his right. Mason looked back across the field and threw a pass back across the field to a wide open Callicutt for a seven yard touchdown for a 34-7 halftime advantage. It is the first career touchdown for Callicutt.
The Rams continued its roll on the first drive of the third quarter. A combo of Washington and Smith highlighted by a 37 yard rush by Smith set up a first and 10 at the McMurry 11 yard line. Washington threw a fade and Alex Young brought in his second touchdown of the season.
Washington finished the day 16-of-24 for 144 and one touchdown in the air. He ran for 46 yards and one touchdown as well.
McMurry would respond scoring 21 points in the third quarter alone including two on one yard drives. The first score came on a 72 yard run by Paxton Grayer.
A missed field goal by Reid Layton was turned into an 80 yard touchdown catch by Jeret Smith from Rodriguez.
Smith would score his second touchdown of the game to extend the Rams lead to 48-21.
The War Hawks would tack on two final touchdowns to make the final score 48-35.
Former Abilene high standout Paxton Grayer added a 72 yard touchdown in the third quarter for McMurry finishing the day with 138 rushing yards.
Rush Seaver led the defensive effort with 10 tackles.
The Rams will return to San Angelo Stadium next Saturday to face Eastern New Mexico for homecoming at 6 p.m.