Small College Review: Midwestern State's comeback, UTPB statement W, UMHB rolls

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Jubilation, heartbreak, a plethora of incredible plays, and outstanding individual performances highlighted the second week of small college football. 

The game of the week lived up to its billing, and Stephen F. Austin nearly shocked Texas Tech on the road while UT Permian Basin and Mary Hardin-Baylor produced statement victories.

Midwestern State completes thrilling comeback

Full disclosure, this is not what I thought I would be writing when Midwestern State was trailing No. 7 Texas A&M-Commerce 23-0 midway through the second quarter.

But the Mustangs refused to quit and finished an incredible comeback when Dillon Sterling-Cole found Sam Hodges in the back of the end zone with 25 seconds remaining in the game. MSU freshman kicker Ritse Vaes nailed the extra point to propel the Mustangs to a 31-30 victory at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington.

The win added another chapter to a crazy rivalry that has resulted in eight of the last nine meetings between the Lone Star Conference rivals decided by seven points or less.

With the win, MSU asserted itself squarely in the middle of the LSC title race this year and doesn’t have much time to celebrate with a trip to No. 22 Angelo State scheduled for next Saturday.

For the Lions, the loss is undoubtedly a blow to a team who entered the season with expectations of competing for a national title. However, those goals are still within reach for the Lions, who must quickly turn the page and prepare for a home game against defending national champion and No. 1 West Florida next week.

UT Permian Basin earns statement win

UTPB made headlines during the spring season with a 5-0 record, including an overtime win over Midwestern State in the Falcons final game.

But questions on exactly how good the Falcons were this year remained with some of the top teams in the LSC opting not to play in the spring.

There are no more questions; UTPB is for real.

The Falcons reeled off 21 unanswered points at home Saturday to earn an impressive 42-31 win over West Texas A&M.

UTPB has won eight straight games and nine of its last ten contests and asserted itself as contenders in the conference title race alongside MSU, Angelo State, and Texas A&M-Commerce.

Falcons quarterback Clayton Roberts set a program record with six touchdown passes against the Buffs, which was one shy of tying the LSC record for touchdown passes in a single game.

UTPB has a chance to make another statement next Saturday when they travel to play FCS Abilene Christian.

UMHB rolls past East Texas Baptist

Any question whether No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor had a team capable of winning the program’s third national title was answered on Saturday.

The Crusaders have been known for their elite defense, and this year is no exception. UMHB held a solid ETBU offense to a total of 205 yards of offense in a 34-14 statement win.

The UMHB defense did not allow a touchdown until eight seconds remaining in the game. The other Tigers touchdown was a fumble returned 86-yards for a touchdown by Chase Thompson.

The Cru has seemingly solved the rushing attack woes that plagued them in 2019. UMHB gained 208 yards on the ground against ETBU led by Alphonso Thomas, Kenneth Cormier Jr., and quarterback Kyle King.

UMHB travels to meet American Southwest Conference foe Southwestern next Saturday before returning home to face ASC rival No. 7 Hardin-Simmons.

Helmet Stickers

Xavier Gipson, Stephen F. Austin

SFA not only covered the 29-point spread on the road against Texas Tech, they nearly pulled off the upset. Junior wide receiver Xavier Gipson showed why he is one of the top receivers in FCS with a 13 catch, 158-yard performance against the Red Raiders, setting a career-high in the process.

General Booty, Tyler Junior College

The freshman quarterback from Allen High School was tremendous against Navarro on Saturday, completing 38-of-51 passing attempts for 507 yards and eight touchdowns while adding 62 yards on the ground leading the Apaches to a 69-57 win.

Ramon Jefferson, Sam Houston State

A second consecutive helmet sticker is in order for the Bearkats junior running back after posting 153 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 11 carries in a 52-14 win for No. 1 Sam Houston over Southeast Missouri. Jefferson has totaled 296 yards rushing on only 22 carries with three touchdowns in the first two weeks highlighted by this incredible display of balance.

Plays of the Week

This was the most challenging week since beginning the POTW during the spring season. No less than seven plays were worthy of a spot on this list. Yet only the top three will be allowed in this space.

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