Tigers Defeat No. 20 Mules 28-14; Move to 8-3 and Await Postseason News

FHSU Sports Information Department

HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State knocked off No. 20 ranked Central Missouri 28-14 on Saturday (Nov. 14) at Lewis Field Stadium. The Tigers moved to 8-3 and tied Central Missouri, also 8-3, for third in the MIAA standings. The Tigers now await potential good postseason news as other games from the weekend wrap up. The NCAA Division II Playoff Selection Show is on Sunday at 4 pm CT.

The Tigers have to hope Emporia State has secured an NCAA Playoff spot in Super Region 3. Northwest Missouri State and Emporia State were both in the top six of the Super Region Rankings this week, NWMSU at No. 1 and ESU at No. 6. If the Hornets are in the playoffs, then the Tigers have at least secured a bid to the Mineral Water Bowl being the next highest finishing team in the MIAA. FHSU wins the tiebreak with UCM by defeating the Mules head-to-head.

The No. 7 and No. 9 teams in the Super Region rankings won, so Fort Hays State’s chances of leaping a bunch of teams to get in the NCAA Playoffs is pretty bleak. But the Tigers may receive news from the Mineral Water Bowl tomorrow if they will be playing their first postseason game since 1995.

A strong wind played a big factor in yet another win over a ranked team in Hays this season. The same conditions were present when FHSU knocked off No. 13 Emporia State earlier in the year. The Tiger defense limited the MIAA’s top offensive attack to just 268 yards. Meanwhile, the Tigers racked up 441 yards of total offense with another strong performance rushing the ball.

The Tigers dominated the run game, going for 326 yards as a team on the ground. Shaquille Cooper led the attack with 158 yards while Treveon Albert added 89 and Derek Kendall-Campbell had 72. The Mules were held to just 75 yards rushing after averaging better than 200 per game on the ground.

The defense pressured the Mules all day, recording five sacks, four interceptions, and one fumble. Sie Doe, Jr., gave the Mules fits up front as he recorded three sacks in the game. Doyin Jibowu was all over for the Tigers with two interceptions, a sack, and five tackles. Daniel Lindsey provided the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter while recording seven tackles. Raheeme Dumas also had an interception in the game. Brock Long led the Tigers with 14 tackles.

The Tigers held a 14-7 advantage at halftime. A 23-yard touchdown pass from Albert to Kendall-Campbell with 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter put the Tigers up 7-0. At 6:44 in the second quarter, Garrett Holle hauled in a pass from Albert and went 44 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0. A 34-yard touchdown reception by Jaylen Zachery at 2:42 in the second quarter cut the lead in half for UCM.

The third quarter was key as the Tigers had the strong south wind at their back. FHSU had a pair of touchdown runs by Albert from one and 17 yards to take a 28-7 lead. The fourth quarter was a bit tense early as the Mules used a short field to cut the lead in half again, 28-14, on a Garrett Fugate pass to Kyle Echols from 13 yards out. An interception by Doyin Jibowu with 7:00 remaining in the game changed the momentum back in the Tigers’ favor, picking the pass off at the FHSU 9-yardline. The Tigers chewed up a lot of clock with the ground game and kept the UCM offense from having a good chance late.

Fort Hays State reached eight wins in a season for the first time since 1995, the last time it made the postseason. The Tigers are hoping that number is good enough again to end the 20-year drought from postseason play.

Fort Hays State’s win over Central Missouri was the first in Hays since 1965. The Mules had won five straight in Hays, all in MIAA play since the Tigers joined the conference in 2006. FHSU has now won two straight against UCM after losing eight straight.

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