KINGSVILLE – The Texas A&M-Kingsville football program hit the ground running on Saturday against Texas Wesleyan as the backfield was only 19 combined yards away from have three individual 100-yard rushers in a 52-10 win at Pepsi Field at Javelina Stadium.
"It's always great to get a win," said head coach Daren Wilkinson. "It doesn't matter who we're playing, when you can go celebrate in the locker room afterwards then there's no feeling like that.
"There's still some things we need to work on, like our turnovers and third down conversions, but looking at the defensive side I like to see 0-for-14 on third down conversions for the other team. When you're able to get the team off the field while on defense, then you're going to win a lot of football games and I'm really proud of the way our defense played tonight."
The Javelinas (1-1) found the endzone on their opening drive and never looked back against the Rams (0-2) for the first home win of 2018. Senior Nick Pelrean (Houston, Texas) accounted for 108 yards on the ground along with two scores to spearhead the Hog ground game.
"[Our offensive line] was doing their job," said Pelrean, "and our fullbacks were doing their job as well. We executed on every play and that's what we need."
Matching the Chavez H.S. product in output on offense was senior Jeff Carr (Temple, Texas) as the transfer from Oklahoma State nabbed 135 all-purpose yards, including 92 on the ground, and one rushing touchdown in the win.
Newcomer Josh Oglesby (Katy, Texas) was the other Javelina running back to rack up significant yardage as he came away with 89 rushing yards on 15 attempts.
Pelrean got the Blue and Gold on the board with 11:57 remaining in the opening quarter after he took the rock for six yards through the right side of the line and side-stepped a few defenders for his first score of the game.
The Rams responded with 8:07 remaining when Le'Mant Monroe put away a 28-yard run to tie the contest at 7-7, though it wouldn't remain that way for very long as Carr broke through the line and raced to a 57-yard touchdown to put the Hogs back on top at 14-7 with 7:55 showing on the clock.
The Javelinas hit cruise control from there, as senior Luis Lopez (San Diego, Texas) drilled the next two scores home, first on a nine-yard run with 14:52 remaining in the second before he bulldozed his way through the defense on a 19-yard gain for a 28-7 TAMUK lead at the 9:15 mark.
Redshirt-sophomore Nick Stiff (Cypress, Texas) gave the Hogs the ball back on the very next drive with his first interception of the year and the turnover ended up as seven points for the hosts after junior transfer Koy Detmer Jr. (Somerset, Texas) found redshirt-junior Aaron Dilworth (Corpus Christi, Texas) for 22 yards into the endzone less than a minute later.
The Hogs would hold a 38-7 lead going into the locker room after senior Julio De La Garza (Brownsville, Texas) booted a 23-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the first half.
The defense got in on the scoring early in the third after junior Dynamite-Jones Fa'agata (Oakland, Calif.) undercut a thrown ball from Avery Childs and sprinted his way for a 45-yard interception return and a 45-7 Javelina lead with 11:04 remaining.
TAMUK capped the scoring later in the frame when Pelrean broke away on a 65-yard run for a commanding 52-7 lead with 5:08 on the clock.
The Rams added a 28-yard field goal with 8:44 left in the fourth, but the lead proved insurmountable as the final score of 52-10 was cemented shortly thereafter.
The Blue and Gold defense proved stifling throughout the entire night. In addition to keeping TWU 0-for-14 on third down conversions, the Hogs accounted for three takeaways and 10 tackles for loss while holding the Rams to 67 yards on offense.
Junior Caleb Valentine (Fulshear, Texas) paved the way with eight tackles, four of which were for a combined loss of 13 yards.
"There's a lot of things to build on," added Wilkinson. "These are the wins you like to have a coach, to be able to play a lot of people, but we got to keep our thumb on the football team and work on some things as we get back into conference play."
The Javelina will head out on the road next week to take on Angelo State in LSC action with kickoff set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 15, at Legrand Stadium.