ELLENSBURG, Wash. – The Central Washington University football team responded against a great opponent Saturday night at Tomlinson Stadium. The Wildcats upset the #20 Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas 23-19.
“I’m proud of the guys for the grit, from what we’ve been through over the last three weeks to come out here and beat the #20 team in the nation,” Head Coach Chris Fisk said.
On offense, Cameron Daniels was the star of the show. He rushed for 130 yards on 22 attempts, an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
“Everyone in that offensive room, all of the coaches had belief in him. He’s just been improving more and more…” Fisk said. “I feel like he’s finally starting to get back to that potential we saw as a senior.”
Lemming started at QB, loggin 142 yards and two passing touchdowns. Marcus Cook led CWU receivers with 41 yards and two receiving touchowns.
Defensively, Tanner Volk had a huge performance. He registered a team-high 12 tackles. Brett Accimus, Daeon Hudson and Jahleel Breland all had nine tackles. Patrick Rogers logged an interception.
The ‘Cats started on offense with Lemming taking the snaps at QB. After a first down to Payton Glasser, the Javelinas forced a punt.
The first TAMUK drive started at their 1-yard line. After driving into CWU territory, Gilbert Garza, the Kingsville kicker, had a 48-yard field goal attempt fall short by a couple of yards.
The remaining drives for both teams in the first quarter fell flat, resulting in punts and a 0-0 tie after the first frame. The Crimson and Black only mustered 32 yards in the first quarter while the Javelinas put 70 yards up.
Kingsville had a drive start near midfield early in the second quarter. After three first downs, TAMUK found themselves in field goal range once again. This time, Garza knocked it through the uprights as CWU fell behind 0-3 with 9:11 remaining in the half.
The Wildcats responded decisively. After a 14-yard Daniels rush, Lemming found Cook for a 29-yard strike to give the ‘Cats a 7-3 lead with 7:50 on the clock.
The CWU defense forced a punt on TAMUK’s next drive, but a muffed punt return gave Kingsville a fresh set of downs at the CWU 40-yard line. The ‘Cats continued to stifle the TAMUK offense, forcing another punt.
On a 2nd & 8 from the CWU 22-yard line, Quincy Glasper had his pass intercepted and returned for a Javelina touchdown by CB Amos Coleman. The Wildcats trailed 7-10 with 2:46 remaining in the first half.
The next CWU possession had a similar outcome. This time, Lemming’s pass found the hands of TAMUK’s DB Cory McMahan. A penalty after the possession backed the Javelinas up to their own 21-yard line.
After a 44-yard rush from Toneil Carter set Kingsville up at the 35-yard line, the Crimson and Black stepped up on defense, forcing the Javelinas into a 51-yard field goal attempt. Gilbert Garza hit it again for TAMUK as the score was 7-13 with 14 seconds left. The CWU offense failed to put together any late magic and the score stayed the same entering the half.
Kingsville started the second half with the ball, moving all the way to the CWU 34-yard line. On 4th & 2, the Javelina offense stayed on the field. Sean Gordon broke through the offensive line, forcing a fumble recovered by TAMUK at midfield.
The Wildcats turned the turnover on downs into points. Lemming took it in on his own from the TAMUK 1-yard line to give CWU a 14-13 lead with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcat defense came up huge again on the next drive. On 3rd & 13 from midfield, Rogers intercepted Cavazos’ deep pass, giving the Crimson and Black the ball at their own 10-yard line.
The Wildcat possession rolled into the fourth quarter, but resulted in a scuffed punt that gifted the TAMUK offense a possession at the CWU 30-yard line. Carter punched it in with a 1-yard rushing touchdown. Kingsville’s two-point conversion attempt failed and the Wildcats trailed 14-19 with 9:58 left in regulation.
On the resulting kickoff, Josh Flowers returned the ball 44 yards to the CWU 47-yard line. On 3rd & 12 from the CWU 45-yard line, Lemming hit Hunter Eckstrom on a 43-yard string to set the Wildcats in the redzone. Jude Mullette turned the possession into points with a 27-yard field goal. CWU had a two-point deficit at 17-19 with 6:53 on the clock.
The Crimson and Black forced a timely punt, giving the offense the ball with 5:18 remaining. On 4th & 2 from midfield, Daniels found a whole, giving the offense a new set of downs.
Later in the drive, the ‘Cats were faced with 4th & 1. Daniels did it again, finding a hole for 25 yards to the TAMUK 12-yard line. On the next play, Lemming found some magic. He scrambled to right, found an open Cook who took 12-yard for the game-winning touchdown! CWU led 23-19 with 29 seconds on the clock. Glasper’s two-point conversion attempt was no good.
The CWU defense held the Javelinas from scoring anymore, clinching the upset with the final score of 23-19.
The Wildcats (5-3, 5-2) will travel to #2 Angelo State next weekend for a showdown against the Rams on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 4:00 p.m.
“I’m just very proud of these guys,” Coach Fisk said. “We challenged them after last week. You need to earn the right to wear the Wildcat logo again and we didn’t do the Wildcat logo on our alumni the right way last week. I felt like like tonight they earned that back.”