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War Hawks can't slow down Sul Ross ground attack

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ALPINE, Texas - The McMurry University football team gave up 14 first quarter points and that proved too much against a Sul Ross State University team - which has received votes in the national polls - in a 35-7 American Southwest Conference loss. The meeting with SRSU is McM's oldest (dating back to 1923) and most-contested series, with Saturday's contest at Jackson Field being the 87th meeting.

The loss dropped the War Hawks to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the ASC. The Lobos improved to 2-1 in 2017, 1-1 in league play.

SRSU tallied on the opening drive of the game with an eight-play, 44-yard set. On their third series of the night, the Lobos had great field position after a 52-yard punt return gave SRSU the ball at the War Hawks' 15. A pair of penalties moved the ball back to the McM 29, but on a second-and-24 play the Lobos found then end zone and, after the extra point, took a 14-0 lead with 51 seconds left in the opening period.

The War Hawks defense set up the team's only score of the night early in the second quarter. A Sul Ross fumble was recovered by McMurry defensive back Ethan Blocker at the Lobos' 16. Doyle Hughes caught an eight-yard pass from Kevin Hurley Jr. and then rushed for four yards, placing the ball on the four.

McMurry then used some trickery as defensive lineman Darius Brooks was brought in - apparently to block - but instead was the target of the touchdown strike from Hurley. Tanner Wright's extra point kick made it 14-7, as it stood until halftime.

But the second half belonged to the host team. SRSU added seven points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth to extend its advantage to the 35-7 final score.

The Lobos held the statistical advantages, as well. Sul Ross out-gained McM by a 496-to-136 yards margin of total offense. SRSU had 30 first downs, compared to nine for the War Hawks.

Wade Barthelemy Jr. topped McM rushers with 52 yards on 13 carries. Jeremiah Jefferson had three catches for 22 yards.

Seniors Charles Smith and Jacob Ferguson topped the McMurry defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Fellow senior Jordan Washington had nine tackles - all solo - and made his second interception of the season with a pilfered pass in the second quarter.

Courtesy McMurry Athletics.

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