The Tabor College football team earned its first win under head coach Mike Gottsch, 49-28 over Okla. Panhandle State Univ. Saturday night in Hillsboro.
Caleb Marsh caught six passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. The standout receiver now has 15 career touchdown catches in trails only Tyson Ratzlaff on the school’s career list.
Marsh’s 14th career touchdown came on a 10-yard toss from Jason Aubrey 4:50 into the game and left him temporarily tied with Steve Vogt for second place.
But the Tabor defense nearly stole the show, adding up eight takeaways to stymy an otherwise brilliant performance by freshman quarterback Andrew McGlory.
Tabor chased starter Kevin Lauchland midway through the second quarter with fumble-forcing sacks on consecutive Aggie drives in the second quarter. OPSU fumbled five times in all during the first half.
T.J. Jackson led the charge, forcing a fumble recovered by Tommy Phillips at 8:42 of the first. Jackson also recovered two fumbles in the second quarter, and Teal Stutzman picked up a fourth.
On came McGlory at the 8:01 mark of the second, and the Bluejays had a tougher time catching him in the backfield. But Tabor had no trouble picking off his passes.
With Aubrey manning the helm on offense, DeJaun Jones shifted over to defensive back and hauled in one interception. John-Mark Phelps had two picks.
Aubrey found Phil Unruh open in the end zone to cap a drive with a touchdown pass from six yards out with 1:16 left in the second quarter.
But despite the turnovers and a 23-8 halftime deficit, the Aggies battled back to within four points, opening the fourth quarter with a touchdown run that closed the gap to 26-22.
On the next series, Tabor ran a dozen plays and overcame an illegal block penalty on first-and-goal that both wiped out a nifty run by Demetrius Cox and cost the Bluejays 10 critical yards.
But with Panhandle’s crowd still applauding the gain, Aubrey found Marsh open along the sideline for a 20-yard catch-and-carry score on the next play.
Kevin Carroll hammered home the point-after and Tabor led 33-22 with 9:57 to go.
Seth Mills killed the Aggies next drive with an interception—McGlory’s fourth of the game—and returned the ball to the OPSU 28 to set up a 43-yard field goal by Derik Martinez.
The Aggies manage only four yards on the next possession, opting for a fake punt that fooled neither Jackson nor Kyle Basinger, who hammered the runner to the turf at the line of scrimmage with 6:51 to play.
Aubrey broke loose for a 19-yard touchdown run 46 seconds later, making it 42-22 and effectively icing the game with 6:05 to play.
To their credit, the Aggies played through the final whistle, but only managed to find the scoreboard when a 63-yard spiral from McGlory hit Byron Smith in stride for a touchdown with six seconds left in the game.
By that time, the Tabor second string had added another touchdown—a 42-yard strike from Anthony Davis to Aaron Stepanek at the 1:34 mark.
Carroll and Martinez combined for five field goals on six tries to round out the scoring.
McGlory threw for 177 yards and two scores in addition to the four interceptions, and ran for 45 more on 10 carries.
Cox finished with 220 yards on 33 carries. Aubrey threw for 265 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 38 attempts.
Tabor amassed 565 total yards and 36 first downs, averaging 5.9 yards on 96 offensive plays. The Bluejays also committed 10 penalties for 93 yards, 30 of which were assessed for a pair of personal fouls committed on the first play of the fourth quarter.