Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) opened their second season at home against #18 Southwest Baptist (SBU) on August 31st, 2017. The Gridiron Greyhounds returned for their second year at the Greyhound Stadium and began the festivities with a Dawg Walk which allowed tailgating fans the opportunity to meet the team and win prizes.
With the sound of the cannon the game was underway. A few minutes into the first quarter, SBU scored a touchdown off of a 3rd down penalty by ENMU. A few plays later, ENMU quarterback, Wyatt Strand, connected with Johnny Smith for an impressive 56-yard touchdown to tie the game. The Greyhound defense was staunch as they held SBU and did not allow them to score on their remaining possessions.
Running-back, Kamal Cass, who was recently named second team Preseason All American, rushed for a one-yard touchdown to put the Hounds ahead at the end of the first quarter. A fumble early in the second half allowed the Bearcats to tie up the game. Kicker, Bailey Hale, notched three points for the Hounds as he nailed a 41-yard field goal, placing ENMU at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 17-14 at the half.
After a beautiful halftime performance by Greyhound Sound, ENMU received the kickoff and found themselves with a three and out possession. Hale again attempted a 41-yard field goal which sailed through the uprights giving the Hounds a six-point advantage going into the 4th quarter.
The 4th quarter was a defensive showdown as the Bearcats and the Hounds traded possessions. SBU Kendrick Payne connected with receiver Chris Robb for a 35-yard touchdown which gave the Bearcats the lead with 11:39 left in the game. The Green and Silver could not convert for a first down and woes continued for ENMU with a fumble which was recovered by SBU on Eastern’s 31-yard line. The Bearcats attempted a field goal which was blocked and put the ball back in the Greyhound’s possession with less than two minutes remaining. Strand broke free for a 20- yard run which again Hale found himself ready to kick the game winner. A pin drop could be heard throughout Greyhound Stadium as Hale stepped up to kick. As the ball sailed flawlessly through the uprights, the Greyhound roar could be heard for miles as the Hounds notched a thrilling win to open their season.