Tigers upended by Javelinas, 44-14

ADA - Texas A&M-Kingsville, behind the play of quarterback Billy Garza, rolled up 444 yards of total offense and its defense limited East Central to 46 net yards rushing as the Javelinas upended the Tigers 44-14 Saturday night at Norris Field.

ECU quarterback Marcus Johnson completed 27-of-40 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown, but was picked off three times. Tiger wide-out Tyrone Gibbs had a nice outing, catching five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown off a 29-yard pass from Johnson as Gibbs outleaped double coverage in the end zone.

Meanwhile, Garza passed for two touchdowns and ran for a couple more to fuel the TAMUK offense. He was 13-of-25 passing for 184 yards and two touchdowns, including a pair of 18-yard scoring strikes to Jareko Taylor in the first quarter and Damian Couthren in the fourth. Garza also had scoring plunges of 2 and 1 yards.

The Javelinas (1-1) also had an effective running attack, averaging 5.6 yards on the ground as Billy Martin netted 67 yards on only eight carries and Joe Williams had 10 attempts for 56 yards.

Ray Hudson, who ripped off a 19-yard TD run in the opening quarter, netted 44 yards on nine carries and Ryan Lincoln added a 20-yard scoring run.

The Tigers (0-2) fell into an early 7-0 hole, but responded with an eight-play, 52-yard drive, capped by Johnson’s scoring strike to Gibbs. The extra point was missed as the Javelinas remained on top, 7-6.

TAMUK then responded with 24 unanswered points before Charles Huffman scored the Tigers’ only other TD off a 3-yard run to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Johnson then connected with Nigel Cooper for the 2-point conversion to get the Tigers within 31-14 with 5:52 to go in the third quarter. Besides, the two-point conversion, Cooper also collected five receptions for 30 yards.

The Javelinas then responded with touchdowns on their next two possessions to clinch it.

ECU tries to get on the winning track next Saturday as it hosts 19th-ranked Tarleton State at 6 p.m.