Toreros beat Western New Mexico 45-21
Kelly McPherson | Contributor
Despite a tough loss against the San Diego State Aztecs the weekend before, the University of San Diego football team came out strong this past Saturday during their first home game of the season. The boys put together a great win against the Western New Mexico University Mustangs, evening their overall record at 1-1.
The final score was 45-21, with the Toreros scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter. This win improved the Toreros all-time record to 5-0 against the Mustangs. The Toreros gave redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Lawrence his first start of the season. Lawrence went 20 for 34 with 254 yards and four touchdowns. Lawrence played smart and tough and took very few risks.
His performance was even more impressive given the fact that it was his first collegiate start ever, and it resulted in a convincing win for his team. USD started out the first quarter strong by scoring two touchdowns. Western New Mexico came back with one of their own to make the score 14-7 going into the second quarter. USD then took control of the second quarter, scoring one touchdown and one field goal, making the score 24-7 at halftime.
In the the third quarter, the Toreros began to lose some of their momentum. It was the only quarter in which the team failed to score, and they also committed their only turnover of the game during this period.
Western New Mexico capitalized by scoring a touchdown to cut their deficit to a manageable 10 points. Senior offensive lineman Pono Keni spoke about his team’s shakey play to start the second half.
“We had a sticky third quarter, we weren’t doing too well,” Keni said. “There were a lot of three and outs, and that’s when their crowd and band started to have somewhat of an effect on us.”
Luckily, the Toreros have great leadership that was able to pull them out of their slump and remind them of the heart and tenacity that this Torero team embodies. Heading into the fourth quarter the Toreros found their stride.
After switching some things up in their running game and taking advantage of the plays that had been working, the Toreros had the Mustangs on their heels.
This resulted in the Toreros scoring three more touchdowns and only allowing one more during the final minutes, sending the crowd of 2,872 people home happy.
The defense and special teams units played extremely well in this game, specifically the punt team. They did not let one punt return pass the 20-yard line.
This was a huge advantage for the Toreros, as the Mustangs’ poor field position helped spark the Torero victory.
USD had a total of 186 rushing yards compared to Western New Mexico’s 86 and had a 20 percent better third down conversion rate than the Mustangs. That, combined with their great defense, carried the Toreros to yet another win against Western New Mexico.
The football team is heading into a bye week before starting conference play Sept. 26. They will travel to the state of Indiana to face the Valparaiso University Crusaders.
The early test against San Diego State as well as this trouncing of Western New Mexico should breed confidence in the players and coaching staff as they move forward in the season.