McPHERSON, Kan. – The Southwestern College football team came up one touchdown short in its Kansas Collegiate Athletics Conference opener Saturday evening. The Moundbuilders fell to the Bulldogs of McPherson College, 27-20, at McPherson Stadium in McPherson.
Southwestern jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarters, but missed opportunities caught up with the Moundbuilders over the final three quarters. Three missed field goals, nine penalties totaling 55 yards, and a 1-for-8 effort in the red zone resulted in a 27-20 victory for the host.
How it Happened…
-McPherson struck first, and did so less than three minutes into the game. The Bulldogs used a quick two-play scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead.
-Southwestern answered less than six minutes later. Christian Gordon capped a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Spencer, but a bad snap on the ensuing PAT resulted in a failed two-point conversion attempt.
-The Moundbuilders took their first lead of the game just over 90 seconds later. Christian Gordon connected with Jacob Sigmon from 48 yards out. Mario Esparza's PAT gave Southwestern a 13-7 edge with 5:11 still to play in the first quarter.
-Southwestern's lead extended to 20-7 in the final seconds of the quarter. Brady Keith capped a 10-play, 45-yard scoring drive with a two-yard run. Esparza's PAT pushed the Moundbuilder lead to 20-7 at the end of the first quarter.
-McPherson countered with a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive to pull within six, 20-14, at the 8:18 mark of the second quarter. The Bulldogs followed that with a quick four-play, 36-yard strike to force a 20-20 tie after a missed PAT. That same 20-20 score held through the halftime intermission.
-The Bulldogs scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes of the third quarter. Just one play after recovering a fumble, McPherson scored on a 43-yard touchdown pass, then converted the PAT to take the 27-20 lead it went on to win by.
Inside the Box Score…
-Sophomore quarterback Christian Gordon completed 20 of his 42 attempts for 291 yards and two touchdowns in his start of the season.
-Tanner Spencer was Gordon's favorite target. The freshman from Arkansas City, Kan., made 10 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown, while Terrence Franklin finished with eight catches for 90 yards.
-Gordon was also Southwestern's leading rusher, and finished with 60 rushing yards on 18 carries.
-Dave Matthews anchored the Moundbuilder defense with 13 tackles (four solo, nine assists), while David Ashilonu added 10 tackles (five solo, five assists). Matthews also recovered a fumble.
-Southwestern ran 83 plays for a season-best 452 offensive yards. The Moundbuilders fumbled five times, three of which were lost. Southwestern was 1-for-8 when inside the red-zone, and was 7-for-17 on third down conversions.
Saturday's loss drops Southwestern to 0-2 on the season, and 0-1 against KCAC competition. The Moundbuilders will return to action Saturday, traveling to Salina to face the Coyotes of Kansas Wesleyan University. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. inside the Graves Family Sports Complex.