The Fort Lewis College football team nearly rallied from a 28-point deficit but fell short against Western New Mexico, losing 42-34 on Saturday in Silver City, N.M.
“You could have identified any one play in that game, and it would’ve turned out to be the difference,” FLC head coach Cesar Rivas-Sandoval said.
FLC (0-3, 0-2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) came within seven at 35-28 after going down 28-0 in the second quarter.
Tim Jenkins’ second touchdown run of the day trimmed the lead to seven with 8:52 to play, but the Mustangs (2-2, 1-1 RMAC) responded when Mitch Glasmann hit Ronnell Pompey for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 6:35 left to push the lead to 42-28.
The Skyhawks answered with Jenkins’ 32-yard strike to Amery Duncan, but Eric Garcia-Henderson missed the extra point after a too-many-men penalty to leave the lead at eight at 42-34.
FLC got the ball back and drove to the Western N.M. 23-yard line before turning the ball over on downs with 52 seconds left when Duncan was ruled to have bobbled the ball, and the Mustangs ran out the clock to hang on.
Jenkins, returning to the field after missing a game because of an injury, rallied from a sluggish start to throw for 405 yards and a pair of touchdowns and running for two more. Boyle Bode had 126 yards receiving, and Duncan had 115.
“All the little plays we were barely missing ... they just started coming together in the second half,” Rivas said of his offense, which scored 34 points after being shut out in the season’s first two games.
“It was fun to watch. It was the most fun I’ve had this season watching the second half,” Rivas said. “It did (stink) at the end. It (stinks) to lose.”
Glasmann equally was impressive, throwing for 403 yards and four scores, including a 41-yard strike to Marquis Sumpter and passes of 58 and 42 yards to Donald Byrd for scores in the first quarter.
After the Mustangs added a score on Randy Perez’s fumble recovery in the end zone on a botched punt snap, FLC got on the board when Jenkins found Bode from 12 yards out to cut the lead to 28-7 at halftime.
Jenkins and Van Gramman sandwiched scoring runs around an Abraham Macias touchdown run to push the Mustangs’ lead to 35-21 after three quarters.
Gramman mustered a decent day on the ground for FLC, rushing for 57 yards on 18 carries, but the Skyhawks offensively were outgained 562-453 and converted just 5 of 15 third-down attempts against the Mustangs’ 9 of 18.
Rivas said FLC also had a couple of potential touchdown passes dropped in the end zone that hurt FLC’s chances.
“We were really, really injured up, and we were down to basically nobody left in the secondary,” Rivas said. “We were beat to hell.”
The Skyhawks will return home to host No. 3 CSU-Pueblo at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ray Dennison Memorial Field.
“These games don’t get any easier,” Rivas said. “We don’t have any easy games on our schedule. ... We’ve got to figure out a way to get Ws.”