Eastern New Mexico Upsets Buffs in Final Minute, 39-38

Eastern New Mexicoâ??s Christian Long capped an 11 play, 69-yard drive with a two-point conversion with 45 seconds left to give ENMU its first lead of the game and pull the upset of No. 8/15 West Texas A&M, 39-38 Saturday evening at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium.

â??You could kind of see it coming,â?? interim head coach Mike Nesbitt said. â??They (Eastern) had a lot of believe and they played well all week. When they got on that run, it was tough getting them off of it. They deserve all of the credit and they played really well. We didnâ??t get our guys where they needed to be. We have go back to the drawing board and improve.â??

ENMU scored 15-unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull the upset as it was the Greyhounds first win over WT since Oct. 9, 2004 â?? a span of seven-straight wins and the Greyhounds regained the Wagon Wheel.

WT fell to 7-2 on the year and 3-2 in Lone Star Conference play and the loss really hurt its chances of making the NCAA playoffs. ENMU won its fourth-straight game and improved to 5-3 on the year and 3-1 in Lone Star Conference play as it stayed in a tie for first in the league standings.

Following a rare missed field goal by WT kicker Sergio Castillo, Jr., from 32 yards out with five minutes left, ENMU converted two 3rd and long passes as quarterback Jeremy Buurma hit Ricky Milks for 34 yards and Jacob Johnson for 24 yards setting the Greyhounds up at the WT six.

The WT defense forced ENMU into another third down from the nine and got the incomplete pass, but the Buffs were called for roughing the passer and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty setting ENMU up with a first and goal from the two. Long scored the touchdown to pull ENMU to within 38-37 prior to his two-point conversion.

WT had one last chance with 45 seconds left, as Vaughan hooked up with Allen for 23 yards to the ENMU 40. A holding penalty put WT back to the 50 as Castillo came out for a 67-yard field goal which came up just short as time expired.

The Buffs were led by senior quarterback Dustin Vaughan who passed for 472 yards and five touchdowns on 38 of 57 with one interception. Senior wide receiver Torrence Allen had 11 catches for 158 yards and two scores, while junior Anthony Johnson had 10 catches for 129 yards.

Defensively, senior linebacker Taylor McCuller had 20 total tackles, along with six solo stops and one tackle for loss. Senior defensive back Curtis Slater had 19 total tackles with 11 solo stops and two tackles for loss.

Long rushed for 121 yards and three scores to lead the Greyhounds, while Buurma was 8 of 16 for 148 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Kevin Reaves led ENMU with 12 total tackles and seven solo stops.

The fourth quarter opened as Long scored from eight yards out for a 38-31 WT lead. The Buffs and Greyhounds traded punts on their next possessions setting up the Buffs with a promising drive with 10:20 left.

Vaughan hooked up with Allen for 22 yards on 3rd and six, followed by passes to sophomore Geremy Alridge and Allen putting WT in ENMU territory. Alridge made a great spin move to gain 20 yards to the ENMU 23. A rush by Vaughan and a pass to Rhone set WT up at the ENMU 15. Castillo missed the field goal wide right for just his second miss to that point all season.

After receiving the ball on his second possession with 9:40 left in the opening quarter, Vaughan drove the Buffs downfield on a seven-play, 58-yard scoring drive to take the 7-0 advantage, taking 2:40 off the clock. Vaughan completed passes to four different receivers during the drive en route to the eight-yard shovel pass to Nathan Slaughter for the score.

Vaughan then capped off another short scoring drive (2:02) by connecting with senior Torrence Allen on a 24-yard touchdown play to give the Buffs the two-score lead. The drive initially began at the WT 31 with some fancy handwork by Allen. Vaughn tossed a 28 yard ball down the left sideline on first down leading to the diving one-handed reception by Allen as he picked up the completion with an outstretched hand.

The Greyhounds eventually pushed into the Buffsâ?? territory on their first possession of the second quarter that began with Seth Bailey intercepting Vaughan in the middle of the field at the ENMU 26.

They crossed midfield on a first down, 34 yard run by Cameron Mikell. The drive was kept alive on a defensive pass interference call on third and 16. Buurma would then reach Adrian Horton on a high pass down the middle for a 20 yard score to pull ENMU within seven.

Seven plays and 21 yards later on the Buffsâ?? ensuing possession spanning 2:25, Castillo increased the lead to 10 with a long 55-yard field goal, just one yard shy of his career-best set last season versus Abilene Christian. The kick just had just enough, as Castillo received a favorable bounce off the crossbar.

ENMUâ??s triple-option offense immediately stormed down the field on a nine play, 74-yard scoring drive. After reaching the WT one yard line on a fourth and goal, the Greyhounds lined up as if to run a play, however, after calling a timeout they elected to take the three points on an 18-yard kick by Mitchell Cox.

The Buffs took their next drive down for a touchdown and the 24-10 lead with 2:09 left in the half. Vaughn connected with junior Jeremy Watson on a 39 yard pass into the front-left corner of the end zone as the receiver slipped past the cornerback and just inside the pylon for the score.

It was just a matter of seconds before the Greyhounds answered as Dmajeric Tucker returned senior Kevin VanVorisâ?? kickoff 99-yards to the house.

Vaughan added yet another touchdown to the board before the close of the first frame. After reaching the one yard line on a fourth and goal, the Buffs chose to go for it leading to Allenâ??s second scoring grab of the evening while allowing the home to head into the break with the 31-17 lead. The drive began with a 57 yard bomb from Vaughan to Rhone on first and 10.

The Buffs outgained the visitors in first-half yardage 332-176. All of WTâ??s yards were in the air with Vaughan going 26-of-38. WT was led defensively by senior Curtis Slater with five tackles while redshirt-freshman Patric Youngman added 1.5 tackles-for-loss to his four total.

ENMU received the second halfâ??s opening kickoff but managed only one play before giving up an unforced fumble on second down. Senior Ethan Westbrooks came up big for the Buffs as he picked up the recovery at the visitorsâ?? 22 yard line. Vaughn then threw his fifth touchdown of the game on the short five-play drive with an eight-yard strike to senior Jace Jackson across the middle with 12:45 on the clock.

The Greyhounds marched down 75 yards on their next possession but were held to a fourth and goal for the second time by the Buffsâ?? defense. This time; however, they took their chances which paid off as Christian Long found pushed through a hole in the middle to cross the goal line, bringing the score to 38-24 with 6:33 left in the third quarter.

The Buffs close out the home slate Saturday, Nov. 9 on Senior Night against West Georgia beginning at 6 p.m. at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium.