Conexión San Ángelo/ ASU Sports Department, contributor
Photos courtesy of Conexión

SAN ANGELO - The Angelo State football team earned its second straight win Saturday night, defeating West Texas A&M 51-3 at LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field.

The Rams (5-4, 3-4 LSC)  limited the Buffs (3-7, 1-6 LSC) to just 103 total yards of offense in the game, marking the fewest allowed since holding WT to just 77 in 1999.  It was the second time this season the Rams have held an opponent to less than 200 total yards and the fifth time they have allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing. ASU went over 500 yards of total offense for the sixth time with 524 yards of offense. 

There were 12 total tackles for loss from the Ram defense and eight players finished with five or more tackles. ASU also set a season high in turnovers forced in the game, picking off three passes and recovering two fumbles as well. Grant Aschenbeck led the way with 11 for the night. The five turnovers are the most since forcing five against Midwestern State in 2014. 

"Our guys on defense always take pride in what they do and also understand that our offense can put up a lot of points if they get the chance " Angelo State head football coach Will Wagner said. "They got the ball back a lot tonight with the picks and the fumble recoveries and that really helped us. They want to be the best in the conference and they showed that tonight."

Safety Leddy French had the first interception of the day, marking his second straight game with one. French picked off West Texas A&M quarterback Justin Houghtaling on the Buffs' opening drive of the game and returned it 31 yards to give ASU good field position on their first offensive drive. French also had five tackles including one for loss in the game. 

The Buffs next drive ended with a turnover as well as Markus Jones forced a fumble that was recovered by Eric Jones. Jones ended the game with the second-most tackles on the team at nine as well as one and half sacks.

Both turnovers were turned into points by the Ram offense in the first quarter, as ASU quarterback Jake Faber completed touchdown passes to running back Josh Stevens and wide receiver Keke Chism to give ASU an early 14-point lead.

West Texas A&M got on the finally got on the board just before the opening quarter ended, hitting a 31-yard field goal for the only three points they would score in the game.

The ASU defense started the second quarter the same way it did the first, intercepting another pass from Houghtaling. This time is was senior defensive back Fred Lawrence with the pick, marking his third of the season and the 11th of his career. Lawrence is seventh on the all-time ASU interception list.

The Rams did not score on the drive following Lawrence's interception, but did add ten more points to the board in the second quarter. Connor Flanigan hit his first of three field goals on the night in the second quarter to increase the lead to 17-3.

Wesley Lewis then hauled in a 23-yard touchdown catch from Faber with just 23 seconds remaining in the half to push the lead to 21 points.

Lewis was one of eight different wide receivers to catch a pass in the game, three of which hit career highs in yardage.

The Rams' leading receiver was Chism, who caught six passes for a career-high 88 yards and one touchdown. Lewis also hit a career-high with 64 yards as did Tate Kennedy who had three catches for 69 yards.

Wide receiver Tashani Bibbs also caught his first career touchdown pass in the game, which was the first Ram score of the second half. Overall, ASU quarterbacks Faber and Charlie Rotherham completed 28 passes on the night for 370 yards. The Rams averaged 13.2 yards per completion.

ASU's first rushing  touchdown of the game came in the third quarter as well, as Faber punched the ball in from one yard out with 7:14 left in the quarter. Flanigan then hit his second field goal of the night just before the quarter ended, and ASU entered the final period up 41-3.

The final two turnovers ASU forced came in the fourth quarter. With just over 11 minutes left, WT's new quarterback, Ben Arbuckle, had a passed tipped at the line of scrimmage and fall into the hands of defensive back Kaimon Ontiveros, who returned it for 43 yards.

Running back Spencer Gilbert immediately punched the ball in from nine yards for the third touchdown of the season.

ASU got the fifth turnover on WT's next drive as Roderick Harris forced and recovered a fumble. Flanigan hit a field goal on the ensuing drive for the final three ASU points of the game.

Angelo State held the lead for the final seven minutes, completing the victory. It is the third straight year ASU has beaten WT, marking the first time they have won three straight matchups since 2003 when the Rams won their fifth straight against the Buffs.

The Rams will be on the road for their final game of 2017 next week, taking on Texas Permian Basin at 6 p.m. on November 11 in Odessa.

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