ECU falls short to Angelo St, 34-24

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Angelo State used some big-play strikes in the running and passing games to claim a 34-24 Lone Star Conference crossover football victory over the East Central University Tigers Saturday night at San Angelo Stadium.

Daniel Thomas ran for 177 yards on 23 carries and scored on runs of 60 and 24 yards as Angelo State evened its season record at 2-2 while ECU dropped to 0-4.

The Tigers received two TD runs from Joshua Maldanado of 11 and 3 yards and another from quarterback Marcus Johnson from one yard out. Johnson also threw for 331 yards, completing 24-of-44 aerials.

Nigel Cooper had nine of those catches for 164 yards to lead all receivers, but it was the big-play and strike-back abilities of the Rams that made the difference.

ECU spotted the Rams a 14-0 advantage, but ECU battled back with consecutive TD runs by Maldanado, the second which came just 22 seconds before halftime to help force a 14-all deadlock at the break. Maldanado also ran in a two-point conversion to force the tie.

The Tigers even enjoyed a short-lived 17-14 lead on Corey Dozier 30-yard field goal early in the third quarter.

But ASU responded with two scoring drives, one capped by Thomas’ second TD of the night off a 24-yard run and a 53-yard burst by Terrell Lee on the final play of the third period which led to a 27-17 Ram lead.

Johnson’s 1-yard scoring plunge capped a 12-play, 79-yard drive with 10:04 to go to get ECU within 27-24, but the Rams responded with a three-play, 60-yard series which resulted in a 36-yard scoring pass from quarterback Will Mezger.

Mezger was only 4-of-11 passing, but two of those completions resulted in scores for 102 yards. He fired a 35-yard scoring strike to Garrett Tidwell to give ASU an early 7-0 advantage.

Collin Avery led the Tigers in rushing with 53 yards on 11 carries while Maldanado ended up netting 48 yards on 18 attempts. Maldanado also had three catches for 27 yards.

Defensively, ECU was led by Trevor Carpenter’s 10 tackles, including five solo-stops and one for lost yards. Linebacker Curtis Niccum was credited with eight tackles, including three solos.

The Tigers open LSC North play next Saturday by entertaining Northeastern State at 2 p.m. at Norris Field in Ada.