The Eastern New Mexico football team was unable to overcome a 31-0 halftime deficit and suffered a 34-21 defeat in their home opener despite a strong second half that saw the Hounds outscore #25 Colorado Mesa by a total of 21-3.
Eastern racked up 186 rushing yards in the second half, but couldn't overcome the strong start from the Mavericks. Runningback Paul Terry finished with 145 yards on the ground on 22 carries and a touchdown to lead a Hounds rushing attack that finished the game with 327 yards rushing.
The Hounds defense rebounded after giving up 314 yards in the first half to limit Colorado Mesa to 141 yards in the second half.
After a disappointing first half that saw Colorado Mesa score on their first two possessions of the game just six minutes into the ball game, Eastern New Mexico settled down and forced punts for the Mavericks in the following two drives. A costly turnover for the Hounds set Mesa up at midfield, which they would turn into their third unanswered score of the first half.
Runningback Johnny Smith looked to turn the momentum back in favor of the Hounds despite being down 21-0 with a kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing kick, but was called back for a holding penalty. Eastern failed to generate any offense on the following possession and saw Mesa drive down the field and score again, establishing a 28-0 lead.
A 25-yard field goal for the Mavericks as time ran out that was set-up by an interception that was returned inside the ENMU 10-yard line brought the halftime score to 31-0.
The Hounds finally got on the board at the 4:19 mark of the third quarter on a five-yard Tayshaun Gary run that capped off a 14 play, 82 yard drive. The Eastern defense continued their second half resurgence and stood strong to get the ball back into the hands of quarterback Wyatt Strand and the Hound offense.
Strand took advantage and reeled off a 57-yard touchdown run as time ran out in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 31-14. Strand finished the night with 84 yards on just nine carries and a score.
An interception from defensive back Connor Sosa once again displayed the Hound's defensive resilience and led to an 18 yard score from Terry that brought the score to 34-21 with 7:18 remaining on the clock. Eastern was unable to get the ball back in their hands and saw Mesa run out the remaining time in their final possession.
Senior Brad Hardin lead the way for the defense with 11 tackles for the game, including two for a loss. Defensiveback Ricky Barfield also had a productive night on defense, totaling eight tackles for the night.