WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Midwestern State staged its fireworks show for Saturday's Homecoming game against West Alabama at halftime.
As it turned out, the timing of the grand finale was apropos as the 24th-ranked Mustangs built a three-touchdown lead and never looked back on the way to a 45-21 victory over No. 8 West Alabama Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Keidrick Jackson rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns as Midwestern State put up 427 total yards on the leading defense in the Gulf South Conference, while limiting the GSC's top offense to 293 yards, 376 yards less than its average.
"We really just got the dog crap beat out of us," West Alabama head coach Will hall said. "Hats off to Midwestern State and (head coach) Bill Maskill. They whipped us in every phase."
The Mustangs (5-1) continued to dominate Gulf South Conference opponents with their sixth straight win over a GSC opponent and second straight over West Alabama (5-2). The Tigers will try to rebound when West Georgia visits Livingston Saturday at 6 p.m.
"We are humiliated. I am humiliated. I am 100 percent at fault for what happened here tonight," Hall said. "We got outplayed and we got out-coached. It's my fault. We were not ready to play. I take full responsibility for it."
Midwestern State drew first blood when Jake Glover found Derek Lockhart on a 46-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring with 6:27 to play in the first quarter.
Lockhart recovered a Malik Lofton fumbled punt late in the first quarter to set up an eventual 3-yard bootleg TD run by Glover with just 34 seconds gone in the second period and the Mustangs led, 14-0.
West Alabama managed just two first downs and 61 yards total offense while punting four times in the first period.
Kyle Caldwell and Chad Toocheck got West Alabama on the scoreboard, connecting on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 11:38 left in the first half to cap a seven-play, 47-yard drive. Caldwell kept the drive alive by gaining 18 yards on 4th and 1 to the MSU eight.
UWA forced a punt on MSU's next possession, but Caldwell fumbled two plays later and Elijah Winston recovered on the Tiger 13. Two plays after that Glover and Lockhart hooked up again, this time from 12 yards for the score and a 21-7 Mustangs lead.
The Mustangs stretched the lead to 28-7 at the half when Jackson capped an 11-play, 53-yard drive with a 2-yard run with 45 seconds left in the second quarter. Jackson scored again on a 9-yard run to open second half scoring and stretch the MSU lead to 35-7.
Jackson, the leading rusher in Midwestern State football history with 3,596 yards, capped his evening with another 2-yard score to make it 42-14 Mustangs with 11:39 left in the game.
West Alabama scored a pair of touchdowns after there was no doubt about the outcome. Gary Johnston capped a nine-play, 70-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and Reggie Hall scampered 31 yards for a score with 4:03 to play.
"We have seven days to get ready for West Georgia and we have a lot to fix," Hall said. "We are still in the driver's seat in our conference, but we have a lot to work on to get better.'
Caldwell completed 8-of-15 for 90 yards and a touchdown. He also led Tiger rushing with 62 yards on 14 carries. Kedrick Rhodes finished with 58 yards on 12 carries. Toocheck had three receptions for 44 yards for UWA.
Robert Jones and Ricky Willis had 11 and 10 tackles, respectively, to pace the West Alabama defense. Marqui Christian recorded 10 total tackles for Midwestern State.
Glover completed 8-of-15 for 171 yards and the two scores to Lockhart, who finished with three catches for 69 yards for the Mustangs.