Silver City, NM- Western New Mexico University football fell short Saturday afternoon as they hosted Western Colorado State University Mountaineers. WNMU would hold their own with 390 passing yards compared to WCSU’s 178, but Austin Ekeler dominated the Mountaineers (3-5, 3-3 RMAC) run game, as he rushed for a total of 366 yards and a stunning five touchdowns that lead them to a 45-28 victory.
In the first quarter, Mountaineers tried to put up the first points of the quarter but failed as they missed a 49-yard field goal. Western handled things well as they drove down the field to score a 15-yard touchdown pass that was caught by Gordy Longville thrown by Mitch Glassman that made a 7-0 lead. WCSU offense soon caught fire. Ekeler came out explosive by scoring the next Mountaineers’s two touchdown and a field goal from Ryan Winke that would end the quarter with the score 17-7.
Ekeler did not slow down in the second quarter by running for a 83-yard touchdown run that made the lead extend to 24-7. WNMU did not go away as they scored on a touchdown pass thrown by Glassman to Marques Rodgers for a 17-yard pass, cutting the lead 24-14 going into halftime.
Starting off the third quarter, the Mustang defense stood their own as they forced a quick 3-and-out, so they thought. WCSU, lined up in punt formation, faked the punt. Mountaineers punter, Dakota Swinehart, carried the ball up the right sideline that would lead to a 69-yard touchdown run, increasing their lead 31-14. WNMU kept pushing as they fought for a 81-yard drive and would score on a Glassman 17-yard touchdown pass to Rogers. A blocked field goal attempt kept the score at 31-20. Ekeler ended the quarter of right for WCSU, as he ran for a 65-yard touchdown run making the score 38-20.
Western would drive to the Mountaineers 2-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but WCSU’s defense held well against a few WNMU rushing attempts that set up a 4th and goal at the 1-yard line. The Mustangs decided to go for it but fell short as Rodgers was stopped at the line of scrimmage. Luckily, WNMU’s Shaine Tupua would tackle Ekeler in the end zone leading to a safety making the score 38-22. With momentum on the Mustangs side, they would drive down and score thanks to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Glassman to Larry Young II. A missed field goal score made the 38-28. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers would go on to score the last point of game after a Ekeler 4-yard run that would end the game at 45-28.
The Mustangs (2-6, 1-5 RMAC) controlled the ball well in time with 35:42 to Mountaineers 22:50. Despite the loss, Glassman threw for a total of 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. Leading the team in receiving yards for WNMU was Xavier Ayers with a total of 129 receiving yards followed by Young II with 136 yards and one touchdown reception. Xavier Goodloe and Juwan Sumpter came to a total of 15 tackles for WNMU.
WCSU’s Brett Arrivey threw for a total of 178 yards while Kyle Adkins caught the ball for a total of 82 yards.
The Mustangs will be traveling this weekend as they will face Adams State University Saturday starting at 1 p.m.