• November 14, 2019

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UTPB falls in close battle to West Texas A&M - Odessa American: Sports

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UTPB falls in close battle to West Texas A&M

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Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019 10:21 pm

The opportunities were there for the UTPB football team against West Texas A&M.

The Falcons are still learning how to take advantage of those chances and didn’t do enough against the Buffaloes.

Jordan Johnson scored a pair of second-half touchdowns and West Texas A&M intercepted four passes in a 14-10 victory against the Falcons in Lone Star Conference play Saturday at Ratliff Stadium.

Johnson scored on a 12-yard reception from quarterback Nick Gerber in the third quarter and then put the Buffs ahead for good with a 1-yard scoring run with 14:05 remaining to play in the game.

“It’s a tough loss,” UTPB coach Justin Carrigan said. “We had chances and didn’t take advantage of them.

“I thought we played hard on both sides of the ball, we just need to do a better job of finishing drives.”

Caleb Leake made his first start for the Falcons (2-4 overall, 0-4 Lone Star Conference) and was UTPB’s leading rusher with 68 yards on 16 carries, while completing 20-of-36 passes for 171 yards, but was intercepted four times.

West Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) turned one of those turnovers into Johnson’s first touchdown, but was unable to cash in on any of the other interceptions, an improvement for the Falcons who surrendered 33 points off takeaways in a loss last week to Western New Mexico.

“I thought our guys responded well after last week,” Carrigan said. “The defense did a good job in getting the ball back for us.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Falcons found the end zone first when Gabe Nelson weaved his way through the Buffs’ defense for an 8-yard touchdown run with 14:36 remaining in the first half.

At the same time, UTPB’s defense was keeping West Texas A&M offense in check, playing fast to neutralize the Buffs’ high-tempo scheme.

“They like to go fast, up tempo” UTPB co-defensive coordinator Jacob Martin said. “We were ready for that and I thought that we came up with a good game plan to compete.

“It’s tough because our offense scored 10 points and that should be enough for us to win the game. We shouldn’t have given up any points tonight.”

The Falcons extended their lead to 10-0 just before halftime when Hayden Decossas connected on a 22-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide

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