UPDATED: Tabor defeats Ottawa in KCAC opener, 43-17

The Tabor College football team kicked off KCAC play in convincing fashion. The 24th-ranked Bluejays defeated Ottawa, who is receiving votes, 43-17, on the road Saturday.

Tabor set the tone from the game?s first snap as James Foote intercepted Dayton Walter?s first-down pass. Tabor could not capitalize, though, as the Bluejays? ensuing drive ended in a missed field goal.

Tabor?s defense forced a three-and-out, and the Bluejays got on the board when Jared Slavens sent a 29-yard field goal attempt through the uprights to cap an eight-play, 38-yard drive.

After another Brave three-and-out, Tabor needed just eight plays to cover 80 yards. Simon McKee completed back-to-back passes to Torrey Gill for 20 and 15 yards, respectively, and the drive ended with a 2-yard D?Marco Smith touchdown run. Tabor led, 10-0, at the end of the first quarter.

A Bluejay fumble in the red zone led to an Ottawa score, as Walter completed a second-down pass that went for an 80-yard touchdown. The PAT closed the gap to 10-7.

Tabor responded with the first of three touchdowns on successive possessions. The Bluejays? second-quarter scoring included a 4-yard run by Joseph Donnell, a 1-yard keeper by McKee on a drive set up by an Adrian Brown interception, and a 3-yard pass from McKee to Kaden Anderson.

Ottawa tacked on a 22-yard field goal to bring the score to 30-10 in favor of Tabor at halftime.

The Bluejays picked up where they left off after intermission, covering 56 yards in six plays on a scoring drive that culminated with a 27-yard touchdown pass from McKee to Charles Beale. The PAT was blocked, making it 36-10.

Ottawa answered with its final scoring drive of the evening, scoring a 2-yard touchdown run on the sixth play of the drive to bring the score to 36-17.

Tabor added one more touchdown with less than one minute left in the third quarter. McKee completed six of seven pass attempts during the nine-play drive, including a 6-yard touchdown strike to Darius Stallworth with 36 seconds left in the third quarter. Slavens? PAT brought it to the final, 43-17, margin, leading up to a scoreless fourth quarter.

Tabor rolled up 509 yards of total offense in the contest, including 284 passing yards and 225 rushing yards.

McKee was 24-for-31 with three touchdowns and one interception. Beale hauled in six catches for 80 yards and one touchdown. Donnell led the Bluejays? ground game with 14 carries for 75 yards and one score.

Jordan Brown led Tabor?s defense with eight tackles and also had a fourth-quarter interception.

Coming?Tabor (1-0, 2-1) will host the University of Saint Mary (1-0, 1-2) Saturday at 7 p.m. Saint Mary defeated Friends Saturday, 27-14.

For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13