WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Fireworks are a rite of halftime entertainment for Midwestern State home games.
None were on display Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, but that was ok. The 10th-ranked Mustangs took care of all of the pyrotechnics early and often in the second half to crush No. 2 West Florida 38-17.
Senior quarterback Layton Rabb got the Mustangs’ offense going in the second half going 14-of-17 for 179 yards beginning with a 20-yard completion to Anthony Tennison on a 4th-and-5 at the UWF 21-yard line on the opening drive of the half.
Two plays later, Rabb connected with Michael Berry on a 1-yard score on a play-action call to pull the Mustangs back to within 14-10 with 12:05 to go in the third quarter.
Rabb finished the game with 334 yards on 27-of-43 passing with three touchdowns featuring strong connections with junior Xavier Land (10 receptions, 81 yards, 1 TD) and sophomore Juwan Johnson (7 rec., 100 yards) for 17 of his completions.
— MSU Mustangs (@MSUMustangs) September 9, 2018
Meanwhile, the defense took control limiting the Argonauts to 134 second-half yards giving the offense the chance to get the scoring train on track.
The Mustangs seized control of the game on an impressive 13-play, 96-yard scoring drive midway through the third quarter in which they also overcame a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Senior running back Adrian Seales broke Midwestern State out of jail with a 26-yard run before Rabb squeezed off completions to Kylan Harrison for 19 yards and Bryce Martinez for 19 more before hitting Vincent Johnson for a 25-yard gain to the West Florida 27-yard line.
Rabb polished off the drive with completions of 10 and then 15 yards for a TD to Land to give the Mustangs their first lead of the night at 17-14.
After West Florida’s Austin Williams hit a 41-yard field goal to tie the game at 17 all, Midwestern State responded with another 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Rabb’s third TD pass of the night. This one went to Anthony Tennison for a 17-yard score at the flag to give the Mustangs a 24-17 lead.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Mustangs used a nine-play, 40-yard drive to push the lead to two scores after Seales’ 2-yard run gave Midwestern State a 31-17 edge.
Senior Paul Manus put the game on ice returning an interception 59 yards for a touchdown on UWF’s next possession for a 38-17 lead.
Seales overcame an early fumble to lead the Mustangs’ rushing attack with 96 yards on 18 carries, while Johnson added 47 yards on 10 totes.
Senior safety Sir’Vell Ford led the defense with 15 tackles and a forced fumble, while Manus added seven tackles to go with two interceptions. Junior linebacker Troy Burnett also had seven tackles.
Midwestern State hits the road to play UT Permian Basin Saturday night at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.