ADA, Okla. — Junior running back King Bennett rushed for 176 yards and four touchdowns Saturday night as East Central defeated Eastern New Mexico University 33-14 in a Lone Star Conference crossover football game.
ECU (2-1) jumped in front 14-0 in the first 8 1/2 minutes and never let the Greyhounds (1-3) get closer than a touchdown. The Hounds hurt themselves with five turnovers, including four interceptions, and other mistakes at crucial times.
Bennett scored on runs of 3 yards in the first quarter, 6 yards in the second and 2 and 90 yards in the final period. Eastern pulled to 21-14 with 9:36 left in the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Steven Hinson to junior wide receiver Derrick Hunter, capping a 76-yard, 11-play drive, before Bennett helped the Tigers put the game out of reach.
East Central junior quarterback Wilson Pirtle completed 10-of-12 passes for 188 yards. ECU posted a 395-356 advantage in total offense.
The Tigers took advantage of a fumbled snap on the first possession of the game by Eastern punter Steven Todd, smothering him at the ENMU 13. Bennett scored four plays later on first and goal.
After a punt, ECU mounted a 66-yard, five-play scoring drive capped by Pirtle’s third-and-15, 18-yard scoring pass to junior wide receiver Matt Suffal for a 14-0 lead with 6:34 left in the quarter. The touchdown was set up by a Pirtle-to-Suffal connection covering 40 yards.
The Hounds broke through with 3:14 left in the half on Hinson’s 1-yard sneak, capping a 72-yard scoring match that chewed up more than eight minutes. But Pirtle hit Wilson for 37 yards on the first play after the kickoff, and Bennett went in from 6 yards out with 2:15 remaining until intermission to restore the Tigers’ 14-point cushion.
After the Hounds pulled to within a touchdown early in the final period, East Central went 76 yards in 11 plays for Bennett’s third TD with 7:51 left. Eastern countered with a drive of 58 yards in 11 plays, but following a delay-of-game penalty came on fourth-and-5 at the ECU 15 the Hounds came up a yard short when Hinson’s pass to running back Jason Tezeno was stopped for 9 yards.
Bennett went inside on the next play and broke free in the secondary to add the clinching points.
Despite sustaining three sacks, Hinson led ENMU on the ground with 14 carries for 60 yards. Hunter caught eight passes for 75 yards.
Pirtle’s main targets were Stephen Langford, who had four catches for 81 yards, and Suffal with three receptions for 95.
Senior defensive back Eric Johnson was credited with 19 tackles and junior linebacker James Collins had 17 for ECU, including seven solo stops apiece. ENMU tackle leaders were safety Theo Watson with 13 and senior safety Adrian Quigley with 10.
East Central 33, ENMU 14
ENMU 0 7 0 7 — 14
East Central 14 7 0 12 — 33
ECU — King Bennett 3-yard run (Brad Gresham kick), 10:31
ECU — Matt Suffal 18-yard pass from Wilson Pirtle (Gresham kick), 6:34
ENM — Steven Hinson 1-yard run (Lee Price kick), 3:14
ECU — Bennett 6-yard run (Gresham kick), 2:15
ENM — Derrick Hunter 11-yard pass from Steven Hinson (Price kick), 9:36
ENM — Bennett 2-yard run (kick failed), 7:51
ECU — Bennett 90-yard run (kick failed), 3:33
A — 3,300.
First downs 25 14
Rushes-yards 53-204 41-207
Passing yards 152 188
Total yards 356 395
Comp-att-int 15-27-4 10-12-0
Punting 4-37.3 4-39.8
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 6-45 10-101
RUSHING — Eastern New Mexico, Hinson 14-60, Pat Hemphill 8-43, Jason Tezeno 9-31, J.J. Jennings 3-29, Fide Davalos 6-23, Robert Garza 11-21, Tony Naccarato 1-9, Steven Todd 1-minus 12. East Central, Bennett 24-173, Keith Jacobs 7-23, Wilson Pirtle 6-10, Trey Owens 1-7, team 3-minus 6.
PASSING — Eastern New Mexico, Hinson 14-25-3-141, Michael Benton 1-2-1-11. East Central, Pirtle 10-12-0-188.
RECEIVING — Eastern New Mexico, Hunter 8-75, Davalos 4-41, Tezeno 2-23, Art Tennison 1-13. East Central, Stephen Langford 4-81, Matt Suffal 3-95, Chris Mims 1-6, Jacobs 1-4, Bennett 1-2.