AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The West Texas A&M (WT) Buffaloes pull out the late game win in a homecoming nail-biter against UT Permian Basin (UTPB) Falcons 28-27. The homecoming king that night might not have been kicker Gage Urias but he sure was the hero. Urias made homecoming a night to remember not only did he knock the late-game field goal through to secure the win, but he also broke the school record with five field goals made.
Ty Dillion who caught his third interception on the season last week adds a punt block to his stat line on the Falcon’s opening drive of the game. This leads to Gage Urias’s first of many with a 33-yard field goal to go up 3-0. The following possession for the Falcons ended with a three and out but this time the punt is successful. The Buffs drive downfield and are stopped in seven plays and forced to take a field goal from the 49-yard line. Urias knocks it through with no problem adding to the Buff’s lead making it 6-0 with over five minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Falcons were able to get a spark late in the first quarter with a fumble recovery after a WT punt return, but this was short-lived. The Buffs were able to snag back the momentum with an interception by Preston Steszewski that makes it his fourth interception of the season. WT still hasn’t quite figured things out on offense going 20 yards in 5 plays but not being able to reach paydirt. The Buffs would still convert as Urias has it all figured out, he knocks his third field goal of the night through from 21 yards putting the Buffs up 9-0.
The Buff’s defense started the second quarter with more momentum repellent by stopping the Falcons on a fourth and one courtesy to linebacker Daniel Ajayi with a tackle for a loss. The Buffs use this possession to get on the board with a five-play drive that included a fourth-down conversion. With a sliding catch from Noah Bogardus to convert on fourth Jarrod Compton was able to get home with an 18-yard touchdown run. Hughes pointed out that Bogardus threw a big block on the touchdown run from Compton to help him spring it free making the score 16-0.
Head coach Hunter Hughes in a press conference on Monday said after linebacker JT Cavender went down to injury in the second quarter, while the Buffs were up 16-0 Hughes said “he felt like this deflated his team and they lost momentum, everybody was a little shell shocked and worried about his injury.”
The Falcons with their next drive ended in a touchdown making the score 16-7 with eleven minutes to go in the first half. UTPB finishes the half strongly adding another score before halftime with some trickery out the backfield, running a half-back pass for a touchdown after a nine-play drive.
WT receives the ball out of halftime looking to put points on the board after a quiet first half only reaching the promised land one time. The Falcon’s defense had other things in mind, causing and recovering a fumble from WT, deep in the UTPB’s territory. Coach Hughes questions this fumble in a press conference alluding to the idea that the ground caused the fumble which is not supposed to result in a turnover. The Falcons would march downfield in 16 plays to take the lead with a field goal making it 17-16.
Gage Urias puts his cape on for the Buffs as they were able to respond on their next drive and regain the lead with a 45-yard field goal after a 10-play drive. This score was Urias’s fourth field goal of the night and WT’s first score since the 12-minute mark in the second quarter. The Falcon’s offense would strike back through the air on a 12-play 75-yard touchdown drive leaving 2:50 left in the third quarter making the score 24-19.
The Buffs would not be outdone on their homecoming day with 9,414 fans watching them, WT marched right back down the field for another score. The Buffs would get a pass interference call down by the goalline to set them up for a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nick Gerber regaining the lead again making it 25-24. The Falcons would continue the back-and-forth scoring battle with their next drive resulting in a 33-yard field goal making it a 25-27 Falcon lead. The Buffs would make their way into field goal range setting up Urias for a record-breaking five made field goals on the day and he misses.
The Buffs managed to get the ball back in the fourth with two minutes remaining, running their two-minute offense that Hughes says they run every week at practice.
“We do a two-minute drill every week I try to make it as difficult as I can, I give them 30 seconds no timeouts and it never works in practice, said Head coach Hunter Hughes.”I told my guys it doesn’t have to work on Thursday as long as it works on Saturday.”
The well-prepared Buffaloes end their two-minute drill with a Gerber scrambled for a key 18 yards during the 12-play 51-yard drive to set up a 32-yard field goal. Urias coming off a miss was in the phone booth preparing to submit himself to history and win homecoming. Gage Urias would go on to knock his fifth field goal home from 32 yards with 4 seconds left on the clock to give WT the homecoming win.
“I’m proud of Gage for the five field goals and the making the school record in front of that many fans on that electric night, but I don’t want to ever see that again I want to see you break records for extra points.”
Hughes ultimately feels that they had full control of the game starting out but struggled to finish drives which helped UTPB come back and make it a close game.
For the box score and more information on the recent WT football game visit, here.