KINGSVILLE, Texas — Not much went right for North Alabama’s offense in the second half of Saturday’s game at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The Lions couldn’t get their running game going and had trouble with the snaps several times, allowing the Javelinas’ defense to dominate.
But with the game on the line the offense made some plays. Leading 21-16 after a Javelinas field goal, the offense took over at its own 24 with 4:09 remaining.
On second down, quarterback Luke Wingo mishandled the snap, but was able to right himself and complete a 22-yard pass to Daniel Almon.
Lamonte Thompson later added a 19-yard run for a first down as the Lions forced the Javelinas to use their two remaining timeouts and ran the clock down to 28 seconds before missing a field goal.
“The pass play was a little bit of a bust, but I was able to find a zone and Luke found me,” Almon said. “We had not played well in the second half, but we had faith in each other that we could get it done. We knew we needed to flip the field position and we did.
“Our offensive line and backs really came up big at the end. But we know we have to get a lot better in our execution.”
UNA finished with 244 yards, including 99 yards passing. Thompson led in rushing with 63 yards on 17 carries, while Almon led the receivers with three catches for 47 yards.
Lots of flags
UNA came into the game as the sixth-least penalized team in all of Division II, averaging 4.6 penalties and 36 yards in penalty yards per game.
Those numbers will go up after the Lions were flagged five times for 73 yards.
Texas A&M-Kingsville also hurt itself with penalties. The Javelinas were flagged eight times for 71 yards, including a holding call that nullified what would have been a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
Starting offensive tackle Will Furlong returned to the lineup after missing one game with a sprained ankle. Freshman Rod Winston replaced Furlong in last week’s victory over Shorter.
Freshman Trey Tidwell got his second consecutive start at center. Tidwell replaced Tyler Sizemore, who had surgery to remove his appendix last week. Sizemore is expected to miss one more week.
UNA continues to play without wide receiver Brian Sutherland, who has now missed the past four games after minor knee surgery. Sutherland is expected to miss at least one more game.
Lions vs. Lone Star
Saturday’s victory kept UNA undefeated all-time with a 6-0 record against teams from the Lone Star Conference.
The Lions were 4-0 in four previous games against Texas A&M-Kingsville, winning in the NCAA Division II semifinals in 1993 and in the title game in 1994. The other two victories were in the regular season, winning in 1996 at Kingsville and in 1997 at Braly Stadium.
UNA’s only other game against a member of the Lone Star Conference was a 23-17 victory over Abilene Christian last season at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
SID streak ends
Longtime North Alabama sports information director Jeff Hodges missed Saturday’s game due to the wedding of his son, Dillon. It was just the second UNA game that Hodges had missed in the past 30 years.
Hodges worked 215 consecutive UNA football games from 1983-2001 before missing the Harding game to serve as press chief for a ski jumping World Cup event. That was a preliminary for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games where Hodges served as Press Chief for Utah Olympic Park. Since that game, Hodges had worked 133 consecutive games.
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at 256-740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@TimesDaily.com.