Eastern New Mexico University line backer Jeff Howard, left, and strong safety Theo Watson, right, sack East Central University’s quarterback Pete Darnell in the first half of their 32-2 win Saturday at Greyhound Stadium in Blackwater Draw. Photo by
By Kevin Wilson
BLACKWATER DRAW — Veteran Eastern New Mexico University football coach Bud Elliott admits his team’s offense is struggling at times. On Saturday night, they saved more than enough ammunition for East Central.
The host Greyhounds scored early and often, rolling out 415 total yards of offense in a 32-2 blowout at Greyhound Stadium.
ENMU (4-0), which opens Lone Star Conference South Division play next weekend at Abilene Christian, opened a 19-0 lead after the first quarter with a trio of quick offensive drives, and the defense never let up. The Greyhounds lost a shutout bid late in the third quarter when a fumbled pitch resulted in a safety, but the defense never let up.
The visiting Tigers (0-5) managed only seven first downs and 119 yards of offense against ENMU.
“They were really conscious (of our defense) because they weren’t throwing the ball as much as they usually do,” Elliott said. “We got enough pressure and got enough hits on their quarterback that he was really having trouble throwing the football.
“I think offensively we answered the call. We’re still shooting ourselves in the leg once in a while.”
The offense had no problems early, taking up only 5:28 of possession time in three scoring drives. Steven Hinson and Sukora Cooper scored on touchdown runs, then Hinson connected with Derrick Hunter for an 83-yard touchdown reception.
Hinson finished with 175 yards passing and a game-high 91 yards rushing. Hunter caught three passes for 102 yards
Running back Dwayne Davis put the game on ice with a 20-yard scamper up the right sideline in the third quarter, and Lee Price added a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to round out the scoring.
Tigers coach Dennis Darnell thought the score could have been even more lopsided after the quick start by ENMU, and he was somewhat satisfied that ECU went in at halftime still down 19-0.
“I think we persevered in that regard,” Darnell said. “Most of the things that happened are the result of good play by Eastern New Mexico. We didn’t make some plays when we had a chance.”
With the Tigers in a rebuilding period, Darnell said he is generally using the games to see what kind of players he’ll want to keep around.
“That’s what we’re looking for, seeing if guys play hard when it’s not easy to play hard,” Darnell said. “It’s easy to play hard when you’re up.”
It was a philosophy that ENMU safety Ty Touchstone shared. The defense never needed to dominate, but Touchstone felt that the team’s success on offense made it easier to do just that.
“That’s what we want to do,” Touchstone said. “We like for the offense to score because that pumps us up and helps us play (on defense). We don’t play not to be on the field.
“They came around. I think it was just a matter of time.”