Tabor College cruised to a 42-3 homecoming victory over Southwestern Saturday.
?We were able to keep (Southwestern) out of the end zone this week, which is something we struggled with last week a little bit,? coach Mike Gardner said. ?But we need to keep going.?
The Bluejays set the tone on the opening drive, when Donnell Davis intercepted a Brady May pass and ran it back 33 yards for a Tabor touchdown. Jared Slavens? kick made it 7-0 just over a minute into the game.
Later in the quarter, Ryan Nelson, who stepped in at quarterback after starter Simon McKee suffered a season-ending knee injury during the week, connected with Tyler Davis for a 36-yard score for a 14-0 lead.
?Ryan stepped in and did a really nice job,? Gardner said. ?Course, he?s a little different type of quarterback than Simon.
?Simon?s a good runner and really runs the option well and does a nice job for us. We?re going to miss him, but unfortunately, football demands that you have to get up and go on.
?Ryan stepped in and played very, very well.?
When Southwestern later advanced to the Bluejay 1-yard line, the defense held and the Moundbuilders settled for a 19-yard field goal with 10:09 left in the half for a 14-3 score.
Tabor managed two more scores before halftime: Cordell Simmons scored on an 8-yard Nelson pass to cap a 91-yard drive, and linebacker Terach Antoine forced a fumble that was scooped up by Zach Reed for a 34-yard score.
Tabor led 28-3 at intermission.
In the third quarter, the Bluejay defense came up big again when Anthony Daniel snagged a May pass that had been tipped by Cody God?shall.
Facing a third-and-goal from the Southwestern 8-yard line, Nelson handed the ball to Monroe, who threw a pass to Scott Bauer in the end zone. Slavens? kick made it 35-3 with 7:38 left in the third quarter.
Tabor?s final touchdown came with 11:03 left in the game. Kaden Anderson ran six yards for the score, capping a nine-play, 75-yard drive for a score of 42-3.
In one final attempt to score, Southwestern drove to the Tabor 3, but the defense denied the Moundbuilders the end zone on fourth-and-goal. Tabor then ran off the final 7:40.
?That?s the first time (Ryan?s) started a football game I think in four or five years,? Gardner said. ?(I?m) just really proud of him and what he did today.?
With the win, Tabor improved to 2-1 in the KCAC, 4-1 overall. The Bluejays moved from 15th to 14th in the NAIA Top 25 Poll released Monday.
Coming?Tabor will host Kansas Wesleyan (0-3, 1-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Friends defeated the Coyotes 45-22 last week.