PHOENIX – Southwestern Assemblies of God University football embarked on what has become an annual trip to Arizona this weekend for the Sooner Athletic Conference opener. With two Arizona-based schools as affiliated members of the SAC, SAGU plays one game in Phoenix every year.
This year SAGU was slated to take on the Arizona Christian University Firestorm football team. In a close contest that was dominated by the defenses SAGU (0-3, 0-1) lost to ACU (2-2, 2-0) to win by a score of 27-20.
After punting on their first possession, SAGU’s Christian Cross picked off an ACU pass. Michael Bledsoe scored on a 10-yard rush to cap off a 7-play, 62-yard drive on the following drive and SAGU led 7-0 with 9:46 to go in the first quarter.
The teams traded punts over the next couple of possessions until ACU was able to get on the board with a field goal making the score 7-3 SAGU with 1:22 to go in the first quarter.
At 7:54 in the second quarter Tluang Hmung kicked a 27-yard field goal to finish off a 9-play, 46-yard drive for the Lions and increase their lead to 10-3.
Much like two weeks ago against Austin College, SAGU gave up a late first-half touchdown. This time ACU scored with 24 seconds left on the clock on a 49-yard touchdown pass and the score was tied 10-10 at halftime.
Neither team had accumulated 150 yards of offense by halftime as both teams' defenses delivered body blows to the opposing offenses.
The first 8:06 seconds of the third quarter looked a lot like the first half. And then a different game broke out than the one played up to that point. With 6:54 ACU kicked a 44-yard field goal on a drive that started in great field position but only went 11 yards in 6 plays. With the field goal the score became 13-10 ACU.
After trading punts again it was SAGU’s QB Landon Moore hitting Reggie Aygei in stride down the sideline for a 59-yard pass as SAGU resumed the lead at 17-13.
Unfortunately, ACU was able to answer back on their possession scoring on a 14-yard pass at 12:39 of the fourth quarter to take back the lead at 20-17.
ACU scored its second touchdown of the fourth quarter on a rarely-seen special-teams call of “first touching.” SAGU punted on the possession following the ACU touchdown and an SAGU player touched the punted ball without downing the ball. By rule, the ball remained live. An alert ACU player picked up the ball and raced 65 yards to the end zone with only the punter to beat. That touchdown made the score 27-17 with 8:15 remaining in the game.
SAGU then put together a 14-play, 59-yard drive ending in a field goal with 2:18 remaining in the game and the score 27-20. On the kickoff Hmung executed a beautiful onside kick that SAGU recovered. SAGU drove to the ACU 10 yard line before being stopped on third and fourth down to seal the victory for ACU.
SAGU’s defense created 3 turnovers and held its third opponent in a row under 300 yards of total offense.
Torionte Williams led the Lions defensively with 11 total tackles including 6 solo stops, one tackle-for-loss, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble.
Reggie Aygei led the offensive performers with 6 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown in his debut as a Lion wide receiver.
The Lions remain on the road in the coming week as they travel to Fort Worth to play Texas Wesleyan University, which remained winless Saturday with a 53-45 loss to Lyon College (Ark.)