Grizzlies score final 14 to top WNMU, 44-40

Adams State surrenders early lead, comes back for win

ALAMOSA, Colo. – For the second week in a row it was a touchdown from junior James Ackel (Riverside, Calif.) that led the Grizzlies to victory, as ASC led following a 30-point first half but had to rely on a pair of late strikes to top Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) foe Western New Mexico, 44-40, on SLV Agricultural Day/Spud Bowl at Rex Stadium.

The win was the second straight for the Grizzlies, giving them a 4-3 overall record and a mark of 2-3 in the RMAC. It also extended ASC’s streak against New Mexico-based teams to seven straight wins. The Mustangs, who entered the day third in the RMAC standings, fall to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in conference.

The Grizzlies will be on the road next weekend against Fort Lewis. The Skyhawks claimed their first league win on Saturday, defeating Western State 27-10, and now own marks of 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the league.

Adams State held a 30-14 advantage going into intermission, thanks to 304 yards of total offense in the first half.

The Grizzlies first two scores came from senior running back Terjean Saffold (Stockton, Calif.), who found the end zone from 63 yards out in the first minute of the game, and then scored from 13 yards out with 10:24 left in the opening quarter.

Junior quarterback Trevor Eggleston (Tucson, Ariz.) found the senior Delton Presscot (Phoenix, Ariz.) on a 26-yard strike near the start of the second quarter, and junior Isam Pegues (Los Angeles, Calif.) rushed for the final ASC score of the first half. The four TDs, mixed with a pair Dustin Bolt (Alamosa, Colo.) extra points and Ackel 2-point conversion runs, made for the 16-point halftime lead for the Grizzlies.

But the third quarter was all Mustangs. WNMU put up 253 yards of offense out of the break and scored 20 points. Touchdown strikes of 23, 22 and 52 yards from quarterback David Ingram, who threw for 501 yards and ran for another 106 in the game, gave Western New Mexico a 34-30 for the start of the fourth quarter.

WNMU led off the final quarter with another score, on a 61-yard rush from Ingram on their first play after an ASC punt, but a failed PAT left the Grizzlies’ margin at 40-30.

Following the Mustangs’ touchdown, an ASC drive stalled at WNMU 49 yard line, but a Bolt punt which was downed at the 2-yard line combined with a holding call against the Mustangs pinned them at their own one. Western New Mexico gained nothing on three plays, and punted the ball away to the Grizzlies who took over at the opposition’s 40.

ASC needed just three plays to cover those 40 yards, two of which were Eggleston completions to Bolt, including a 23-yard scoring strike with 7:30 to play.

Fortune was on the Grizzlies side after forcing a punt on the ensuing WNMU possession, as Kam Drawhorn’s punt sailed out-of-bounds after just 20 yards and left with Grizzlies with the ball at their own 37.

One rush from Saffold brought the ball to midfield, and completions of 11 yards to junior JB Hall (Boulder, Colo.) and 34 to junior Scott Kellogg (Littleton, Colo.) gave the Grizzlies 1st-and-goal in a hurry. Another Saffold carry put the ball at the 1-yard line, before Ackel was brought in at quarterback and found pay dirt on third down.

The Mustangs gained one first down on their final possession, but an Ingram pass on 4th-and-7 fell harmlessly to the turf and left ASC needing to kneel the ball just once to complete the victory.

WNMU’s 669 yards of total offense – 403 of which came in the second half – were 200 more than the Grizzlies’ and were the most gained against ASC since Midwestern State put up 678 yards in a season-opener on Aug. 23, 2007.

Kellogg’s 198 all purpose yards, which included 74 receiving and 124 on kick and punt returns, led the Grizzlies on Saturday. Saffold reached the century mark rushing for the second time this season, carrying for 147 yards.

Bolt led the receiving corps with five catches for 119 yards and one score, while Prescott also had one score to go with four catches and 55 yards.

Saffold’s 63-yard TD run and Bolt’s 54-yard reception were the Grizzlies longest running and passing plays of the season, respectively.

Junior Mario Moore (Moreno Valley, Calif.) was ASC’s leading tackler with 11 stops, while also making 1.0 tackles for loss and was in on a sack for four yards. Senior Rocco DeLorenzo (Arvada, Colo.) had 10 tackles in the game and was in on a TFL.

Ackel had six tackles to go along with his pair of 2-point conversion and touchdown in the game, as well as 74 yards on kick returns.

The Grizzlies’ Musket Game with Fort Lewis next Saturday is slated for 1 p.m. at Ray Denison Memorial Field. The Skyhawks topped Adams State 14-7 last season, and earned the right to take home the musket for the first time since 2006.

Grizzly fans can follow the Musket Game by listening live at (104.1 FM in Alamosa), or by watching a live broadcast through subscription-based America One.

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