October 15, 2011

War Hawks set NCAA Division III total offense mark in 60-16 win over TLU

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SEGUIN, Texas – After a lightning-shortened game last Saturday against Sul Ross where McMurry University only ran 32 plays, the War Hawks made up for lost yardage Saturday setting the NCAA Division III single-game record for total offense with 848 yards in a 60-16 thrashing of Texas Lutheran at Matador Stadium. Jake Mullin set the American Southwest Conference and single-game school record with 614 passing yards and the War Hawks moved to second place in the ASC by improving to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in league play.

Mullin had 438 yards at halftime as McMurry led 32-16. Texas Lutheran stalled a McMurry drive in the second half at the TLU 15-yard line when the War Hawks turned it over on down. From there, the Bulldogs drove the field to the McMurry 9-yard line, however, one fourth-down and three, Mitchell Bunger was sacked by Chris Williams and Kyle Kelley preventing TLU from cutting the lead to within striking distance.

From there, the rest was literal history. McMurry gained 171 yards on the ground and 677 yards as a team through the air on 94 plays. The War Hawks' 848 yards passed Westminster's (Mo.) previous mark of 823 yards set Oct. 17, 1998 against Principia.

McMurry set conference and school records for total offense and team passing yards while Mullin set ASC and school records for passing yards and total offense (657). The War Hawks set team records for 933 all-purpose yards and team passes completed (48) while Mullin also set a school record for most passes completed with 43.

Mullin finished the day 43 of 57 for 14 yards and no interceptions. He rushed for 43 yards on eight carries and his fourth and final touchdown pass of the day to R.J. Long was his 80th career touchdown pass and Long's 30th career touchdown grab.

The War Hawks defense limited Texas Lutheran to 297 yards of total offense and intercepted to Bunger passes. Will Morris and Austin Cleere each had interceptions; Morris pick was the 11th of his career tying him for the career lead in the NCAA era (1996-pres.) with C.J. Villegas. However, Morris left the game with an apparent shoulder separation, and his status is unknown for a return.

Corey Hall had one of his better games with seven tackles, four tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks to accompany a forced fumble. D.J. Baiza and M.D. Daniels each had six tackles and Baiza broke up two passes.

On the offensive side, the War Hawks spread the ball around to 15 different players passing with Delfonte Diamond leading with 12 receptions and 195 yards. Gerg Livingston had eight receptions for 112 yards, Long finished with six catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Eric Shaffer caught a 42-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, Simeon Neal had a 14-yard touchdown reception in the third and Huston Truminello caught his first-career touchdown pass from backup quarterback Stephen Warren with 32 seconds remaining.

Christ Simpson had 51 yards on seven carries, Justin Johnson had 39 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and Austin Brooks had three carries for 17 yards and a touchdown.

In the losing effort, Bunger completed 13 of 30 passes for 143 yards, a touchdown and had two interceptions. Bunger gained 32 yards on 12 carries and Dominique Hardaway led the Bulldgos with 50 yards on nine carries.

TLU scored in the first quarter on a 30-yard run by Charles Cooper, score on a team safety in the second quarter and Ryan Jones caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Bunger for the final scoring play of the first half.

The Bulldogs fell to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. With three games to spare, McMurry heads into its off week with a half-game lead for second place behind 4-0 Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The War Hawks will face Hardin-Simmons Oct. 29 at home, Louisiana College in Pineville, La. Nov. 5 and Mississippi College Nov. 12 in Abilene. McMurry will need to run the table to hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs if UMHB wins out.

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