The Buffaloes, who are ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division II, used quick strikes, big special-team plays and crucial turnovers to sprint by the Cougars.
West Texas A&M needed just 13 plays from scrimmage and only 3 minutes and 16 seconds of clock play to jettison to a 28-0 advantage in the first quarter. The Buffaloes used a Cougar turnover, a 51-yard punt return to set up 2 first-quarter scores, and then fashioned a 34-yard pass play and a 29-yard rush to help tally the other opening quarter scores.
To make matters for difficult for Azusa Pacific, before the Cougars could earn their first first-down, they lost sophomore QB Rodney Trimm on the first play of their second possession. Trimm was already filling in for Aaron Strazicich, who went down 2 weeks ago late in the season-opener vs. Carroll. Now with Trimm out, true freshman John VanDen Raadt was thrust into action.
West Texas A&M finally engineered a methodical drive without big plays or help from Cougar miscues, motoring 88 yards on 10 plays, capped by a Wayne McKnight 1-yard blast that put the Buffaloes up 35-0 early in the second quarter.
VanDen Raadt settled his nerves and completed 5 straight passes and fashioned a 69-yard drive highlighted by a 22-yard touchdown strike to All-American Jon Davis to get the Cougars on the scoreboard. However, Ben Hansen’s point after attempt was blocked, snapping his streak of 61 consecutive made PATs, and Buffalo Cashmin Thomas scooped the bouncing ball and returned it for a rare defensive PAT to give West Texas A&M a 37-6 advantage.
The Buffaloes added 3 more touchdowns before halftime, which included a 71-yard touchdown pass and conversion a VanDen Raadt pick, to assume a 58-6 lead at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, Buffaloe Keyon Kiles intercepted VanDen Raadt and return it 52 yards for a touchdown, but VanDen Raadt came right back move the Cougars 55 yards on 4 plays, capped by a 28-yard strike to sophomore Monti Sutton for Sutton’s first collegiate touchdown.
West Texas A&M closed out the scoring on Kelvi Thompson’s 92-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
VanDen Raadt finished the game 11-for-22 passing for 126 yards and 2 TDs. Davis had 4 receptions for 48 yards and has now caught a TD pass in 6 of the past 7 games. Azusa Pacific, which falls to 0-3, accumulated 241 yards of total offense.
West Texas A&M, which improves to 3-0, registered 572 yards primarily on the strength of quarterback Keith Null, who completed 18-of-24 passes for 326 yards and 3 TDs, all in the first half.