Texas College never gained its footing, struggling on offense and in the kicking game to fall to Northwestern Oklahoma State 44-7 in its home opener Saturday at Mewbourne Field.
Northwestern State netted only 32 more yards than Texas College from scrimmage, but made big plays on special teams throughout the day to win a matchup of winless teams in the first Central States Football League game.
The Steers finished in the red rushing the football with 32 carries for minus 13 yards. TC moved backwards repeatedly, getting flagged 19 times for 133 yards.
The Steers (0-5) started on the wrong foot, fumbling away the game’s opening kickoff.
“It seemed like we came out flat and a step slow with everything and never really recovered,” TC coach George Cumby said. “Special teams hurt us. We have to be more consistent as a team. We just have to play with higher intensity from the start.”
Northwestern Oklahoma State (1-3) capitalized three times directly off Texas College kicking miscues, controlling field position most of the day. The Rangers traveled a total of 84 yards for their first two drives — both capped by 1-yard TD runs by Jared Jackson and Jermil Martin — after beginning each possession on the Steers’ end of the field.
The next three Ranger scores resulted from the kcicking game, with Michael Ray recovering his own blocked punt in the end zone to give the guests a 21-0 lead.
TC committed another costly error when a botched snap on the punt caused Houston Creighton to kick the ball backward out the end zone. Northwestern Oklahoma State refused the safety, instead accepting a kicking infraction from the spot of Creighton’s illegal kick at the TC 1, leading to its third score from the same distance moments later, courtesy of quarterback Kyle Jech’s keeper.
The second half continued the theme, with Chris Jones returning a punt 53 yards for a score as the Rangers moved ahead 34-0.
The Steers struggled finding the end zone a fifth straight game, going scoreless until Marques Thompson took a pitch 3 yards to the right edge for their lone TD late in the third quarter.
The TC passing game came to life in the second half to total a season-high 201 yards. The Steers rotated quarterbacks, with Randall Harper hitting on 8 of 21 passes for 123 yards, along with two costly interceptions — one near the goal line and the other close to the red zone.
Devin Lee completed five of nine attempts for 78 yards, although the dual-threat quarterback rushed for only 12 yards to lead the Steers on the ground.
Je’Marius Allen, a Longview product, topped the Steers with three catches for 61 yards. Demario Adley (2-57) and Brandon Goss (2-41) both contributed to an improved TC aerial attack, which averaged only 61 yards passing through four games.
The Steers spend the next month away from home after getting a bye next week. TC plays Concordia-Selma in Alabama (Oct. 8) followed by away games in the Sooner State against Oklahoma Panhandle State (Oct. 15) and Southern Nazarene (Oct. 22).
TC makes its home return on Oct. 29 versus Bacone.
“Hopefully we’ll have time to iron out our (problems on) offense and (fix) our missed assignments on defense,” Cumby said. “Special teams-wise we have to spend more time than we have in the past.”