By Dave Wagner
BLACKWATER DRAW — If you’re going to get a milestone win, Eastern New Mexico University football coach Bud Elliott’s 200th career victory as a college coach couldn’t have been drawn up much better.
The Greyhounds dominated Southwestern Oklahoma in every phase of the game in rolling to a 39-0 win Saturday night at Blackwater Draw.
The rout ended a five-game losing streak, and finally got the 72-year-old Elliott his 200th win. He was presented a plaque signifying the accomplishment on the field after the game, and is the 46th coach in NCAA football history to reach that figure, ENMU sports information director Robert McKinney said.
“To get it with a shutout, that’s even more rewarding,” said Elliott, who is 200-176-9 in 37 years of college coaching and 63-46-2 in 11 seasons at ENMU. “But it’s not me. I’ve had a pretty good supporting cast over the years.”
Eastern’s offense was efficient, rolling up nearly 300 yards with only one turnover, but the Hounds overwhelmed Southwestern (0-3) with their defense. The Bulldogs opened the game with five three-and-outs, not making a first down until 5 1/2 minutes remained in the half, and were held to minus-14 total yards in a first half which ended with ENMU leading 22-0.
“We were going through a bumpy road,” senior strong safety Adrian Quigley said. “It all boils down to how we play. The games we’ve lost were lost because we made little mistakes.”
The Hounds overwhelmed Southwestern’s offensive line and sacked the Bulldogs 10 times — nine against sophomore quarterback Ryan Breeze. They were not credited with a sack in either of their first two games.
“Our defensive line played a heck of a game,” Quigley said. “They were in the backfield all night. It all starts up front, both on offense and defense.”
Senior defensive back Corey White then returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards — the fourth player to return one that far in ENMU’s history — and senior linebacker Jeff Howard brought an interception back 48 yards for a touchdown to make it 36-0 late in the third quarter.
“We’ve been trying to do that all year, and we finally got one,” White said of the kickoff return. “This was a game we needed to win going into the Lone Star Conference (South Division). We finally played as a team and got things done.”
White said facing potent offenses in the first two games of the season — ENMU gave up 83 points and more than 1,000 total yards against Central Arkansas and Southeastern Oklahoma — could pay off in the long run.
“I’m kind of glad we did that,” he said. “Playing good teams like that helps make us better.”
Elliott hopes the Hounds can build on the performance.
“We’re getting ready to go on another long trip (to East Central in Oklahoma next week),” he said. “We need to keep practicing and playing at the level we were at tonight.”
Sophomore kicker Lee Price went 3-for-3 on field goals, covering 33, 27 and 32 yards. The Hounds also got a safety in the second quarter when Southwestern punter Scott Poole fumbled a punt snap in his own end zone and was run down by linebacker Jeremy Mullins and running back Fide Davalos.