• October 14, 2019

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UTPB passes early test in rout of Pioneers - Odessa American: Utpb

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UTPB passes early test in rout of Pioneers

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Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2019 11:16 pm

In the month-long preparation for UTPB’s season opener against Wayland Baptist, the talk had been about how much more mature this year’s team is and how it would handle adversity differently than previous teams.

The Pioneers provided an early test of the “on to the next play” mantra and the Falcons passed with flying colors.

Leading late in the first quarter, UTPB was stunned as Wayland Baptist wide receiver Noah Lujan raced free into the end zone to haul in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Parsley to cut the Falcons’ lead to three.

In the past, the body language of the Falcons would change as a “here we go again” scenario began to flash before their eyes and they waited for the opponent to put the game out of reach.

Saturday, the Falcons’ body language did change — they got more aggressive, especially on defense.

Those were the only points the Pioneers would put on the scoreboard as UTPB responded quickly, and often, in a 60-7 rout at Ratliff Stadium.

Less than two minutes after Lujan scored, Falcons wide receiver Kyle McBride caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Null to put UTPB back up by 10 points (17-7).

Just 11 seconds later, Falcons linebacker Kadarryus Hartfield broke the game open.

The former defensive back, who changed positions this year, stepped in front of a Parsley pass and raced, untouched, 26 yards for a touchdown with 3:14 remaining to play in the first quarter.

“Happy for Kadarryus Hartfield,” UTPB coach Justin Carrigan said. “The guy’s been a safety for us that we moved into linebacker during fall camp.

“He had a pick six early in the game and he’s done a great job of making the transition of trying to do what’s best for the team and moving into the box to play linebacker. That’s that stuff that’s most exciting, when you see a guy make a change like that, like we ask him to do, and it pays off for him.

Another benefit of the lopsided game was the Falcons being able to get quite a few players onto the field during the contest.

They used six different running backs and four quarterbacks, along with seven different wide receivers.

 “A lot of young guys got reps,” Carrigan said. “We ran a stable of backs; for the first game, there was a lot of good.”

Running back Gabe Nelson scored twice for the Falcons, on runs of 7 and 45 yards, with running back Marquis Simmons adding a 3-yard touchdown run to the mix.

Wide receivers Kobe Robinson, Kyle McBride and Rocky Barnes all caught touchdown passes, cornerback Clifton Holmes returned an interception for touchdown and Logo Kaleopa sacked Parsley in the end zone for safety.

Robinson, a Permian graduate, transferred to UTPB from Cisco College in the offseason and scored the first time he touched the football, taking a swing pass from quarterback Kameron Mathis around the right corner and outracing the defenders to the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.

“One thing we talk about offensively is having a guy like Kobe and (wide receiver) Ben Galaviz in the slot, two guys that are really fast,” Carrigan said. “And if we can give them the ball in space and they can make one guy miss, good luck from there.

“He (Robinson) was able to do that and we were kind of able to put some speed out there and do some stuff down the field as well and we rattled off a few runs. I was excited for Game One to do things as well as we did, but we still have things to clean up.”

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide

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