BETHANY – A 21-point second quarter set the tone for the Southern Nazarene University Crimson Storm as they rolled to a 45-20 Great American Conference football victory over the East Central University Tigers Saturday night.
ECU, 0-2 on the season and in the GAC, took a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter off a 6-yard David Cornwell pass to Trinity Benson.
But SNU scored 21 straight points in taking a 21-7 halftime lead and then opened the third quarter with a Lakeem Christmas 98-yard kickoff return for a TD to put the Crimson Storm advantage at 28-7.
The Tigers ended up with 244 yards of offense, with 142 coming on the ground and 102 through the air. Cornwell was 19-of-32 but was intercepted three times, and one of those went for a 57-yard return and touchdown by Angel Hernandez.
Benson accounted for two of the ECU scores off his first-quarter, 6-yard scoring reception from Cornwell and a 19-yard TD run in the third to pull the Tigers within 28-13.
However, SNU pulled away with a 35-yard field goal from Carlos Anguiano late in the third quarter, a Jacob Spady 6-yard run in the fourth and on 81-yard cross-country sprint by Alfred Grear as the Crimson Storm lead was inflated to 45-13.
ECU finally got on the board again when Cameron Jones recovered a fumble and returned the ball 63 yards for a touchdown with 1:43 remaining.
SNU rolled up 389 yards of offense, as Spady led the way with 129 yards on 22 carries and the 6-yard TD. Spady was also 7-of-15 passing for 109 yards and a pair of scores of 41 yards to Nate Walker and 3 yards to Reid Roelofs – both in the second and the latter of which came just three seconds, before halftime.
Individually for the Tigers, Benson had six catches for 36 yards and the one touchdown and ran for 58 yards on only four carries and the one rushing TD. Tyson Jones also had 58 yards on 13 carries for ECU.
Justin Hayden topped the Tiger tackle chart with 12, including 10 solo stops. One of the tackles went for a loss and forced a fumble. Jordan Gipson also forced a fumble. Jones and Jonathan Mendez were each credited with a recovery.
Andre Shelton and Corey Williams each had a tackle for loss. Lynden Edwards, Jalen Baldwin and Mendez each broke up a pass.
For the 1-1 Crimson Storm, Grear netted 97 yards on just four carries and the touchdown. Roelofs had four catches for 56 yards and the TD, and Walker’s only reception of 41 yards went for a score.
ECU is at home with Arkansas-Monticello at 6 p.m. Saturday inside Koi Ishto Stadium.