UAM wins two on opening day, Early gets 600th victory
MONTICELLO, Ark. (UAM) - A 30-yard field goal by Northwestern Oklahoma State kicker Edgar Colmenares with five seconds remaining in regulation led to a 38-35 victory for the Rangers over the University of Arkansas at Monticello football team on Senior Day.
After leading 21-14 at halftime, the Boll Weevils (1-10) were outscored 24-14 in the second half due to NWOSU's second-half explosion of 375 yards of total offense, mostly coming on the ground, where the Rangers totaled 277 yards in the final 30 minutes.
The Rangers (3-7) struck first with a three-yard touchdown run from Zachry Doyle at the 4:53 mark of the opening quarter to cap a 12-play, 76-yard drive that used 4:12. UAM answered on its ensuing drive with its longest touchdown of the season, a 63-yard catch-and-run by junior Jamal Nixon from senior Damon Wicker with 3:38 remaining in the first quarter.
The Boll Weevils took their first lead of the game early in the second quarter on a 26-yard touchdown run by freshman Nick Williams at the 10:19 mark to cap a nine-play, 84-yard drive that used 4:31. NWOSU tied it at 14-all on its next possession following a one-yard touchdown run by Javari Liggins to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive that used 4:06.
UAM sophomore Ivory Washington set up UAM's go-ahead score heading into halftime with a 73-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. The Boll Weevils followed with seven consecutive rushes, capped off by a one-yard score from Nick Williams at the 2:33 mark.
The Rangers forced the game's third tie late in the third quarter. UAM junior linebacker Anthony Turner picked off a Kyle Jech pass at the goal line, returned the interception seven yards, where Jech forced a fumble, which was recovered by NWOSU's Chris Chamberlain, who took the ball into the end zone for a touchdown at the 6:12 mark of the third quarter.
UAM responded with a quick 70-yard drive to re-gain the lead after Wicker rushed six yards for a touchdown at the 3:01 mark to cap an eight-play, 70-yard drive. UAM had three plays of over 15-yards on that drive, including an 18-yard rush by Williams on the drive's first play.
NWOSU then began its 17-point fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jech to Cameron Allen at the nine-minute mark and a three-yard touchdown pass from Jech to Avery Morris with 6:32 remaining. UAM forced the game's final tie on a 12-yard touchdown run by Wicker with 4:19 remaining in regulation. That score followed a 44-yard catch-and-run by Jamal Nixon on the previous play. Wicker and Nixon hooked up for 24 yards earlier in the drive.
The Rangers ran 13 plays on the game-winning field goal drive, including a rush by quarterback Kyle Jech to the middle of the field to set up Colmenares' field goal attempt with five ticks left on the clock. UAM was left with 0.7 seconds, and an unsuccessful series of laterals on the ensuing kickoff sent UAM into the offseason on a 10-game losing streak.
The Rangers ended up out-gaining UAM 536-439. UAM totaled 168 rushing yards on 33 attempts, while the Rangers totaled 367 yards on 58 attempts. Through the air, UAM was 17-of-29 for 271 yards. The Rangers completed 15-of-34 pass attempts for 169 yards. Wicker ended the night with 321 yards of total offense after totaling 271 passing yards with one touchdown and 50 rushing yards with two touchdowns.
Nick Williams finished with 99 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Wicker's favorite target was Jamal Nixon, who led all receivers with eight receptions for 186 yards, including his 63-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
NWOSU's Javari Liggins totaled 221 rushing yards on 28 attempts, 205 of those yards coming in the final two quarters. NWOSU's Zachry Doyle also eclipsed the 100-yard mark rushing with 15 carries for 111 yards.
The Boll Weevils celebrated Senior Day on Saturday, bidding farewell to a group of 12 student-athletes that participated in their final game as a member of the UAM football squad. Those seniors are Greg Wilson, Damon Wicker, Blake Prince, Malik Matthews, Dominick Roberson, Justin Calomese, Jamie Ward, Marcus McIlwain, Seth Oxner, Johnnie Sellers, Corey Davis and Ronald Penn.