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OPSU Dominates Season Finale

Shawnee, Okla.—The Aggies cruised past Oklahoma Baptist Saturday using a 35-point third quarter to crash the Bison's homecoming and cap off 2013 with a 59-24 victory.

Nine Aggie seniors played their final game wearing the red and blue; a game they will never forget. After another very slow start to the game, the Aggies looked to leave no doubt about whom the better team was that day. The action picked up early in the opening quarter as OBU utilized the windy day and booted a sky-kick on the opening kickoff which they recovered after the Aggies could not handle it; 14 seconds later the Bison entered the end zone, taking advantage of the Aggie turnover. OPSU's first possession looked no better and got even worse as a botched snap on a punt attempt sailed over Antonio Mendoza's head and the Bison recovered on the Aggie 6 yard line. OBU would be held to only a field goal and went up 10-0 early.

The following Aggie possession resulted in an intercepted pass, but the Darkside Defense began to heat up as they stopped the OBU offense on a 3-and-out. The fast-paced offense finally got rolling when Caleb Holbrook led an Aggie drive-and-score capped off by his 10-yard rushing touchdown. OBU would respond in kind with a score, making it a 17-7 game; but the next OPSU possession seemed to shift all momentum over to the Aggies. On a 3rd-and-long play, Holbrook found receiver Ricky Backstrom who broke a tackle around the 20 yard line and outraced the entire OBU defense for an 88-yard touchdown, the longest of the season for the Aggies. OBU's next possession resulted in the first takeaway for the Aggies as senior Dekarrian Cooper intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards to the Bison's 32 yard line. The Aggies would finally take the lead as Holbrook connected with Jemine St. Louis on a four-yard pass giving OPSU a 21-17 lead going into the second quarter.

The next quarter did not see quite as much action as the first; the Aggies only managed to score on a 25-yard field goal by Carlos Nieto. The Darkside Defense then held the Bison scoreless when Jamel Major picked off an OBU pass for his 4th interception of the season. The score remained 24-17 Aggies headed to the half.
The 3rd quarter was all OPSU as the fire ignited for the entire team. The defense opened the quarter by forcing OBU to punt, and the Aggies needed only two plays to score from there. Holbrook found Jamal White on a 40-yard bomb, which set up a 5-yard pass to J.B. Frontz who made an electrifying catch in the back of the end zone to score. McClendon would then get in on the action scoring from 9 yards out on the next Aggie possession.

After a touchback kicked by Gabriel Ortega, the Bison's first ensuing drive saw a mishandled snap by their quarterback, and Derrick Williams chased it down and recovered it in the end zone for a defensive touchdown making the score 45-17. The Darkside wasn't finished; the next OBU possession resulted in an interception by John Libby which set up a one-play, 41-yard touchdown pass from Holbrook to the up-and-coming receiver Andrew Hernandez. The last score for the Aggies then came with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter when Holbrook found Backstrom again, this time from 13 yards out. The score ballooned to 59-17 heading into the final quarter.

To honor the hard work and dedication from the Aggie seniors, Coach Gaskamp used a timeout early in the fourth quarter which allowed the team to show their love for the seniors as they walked off the field for the last time as Aggies. OBU managed to score one last touchdown, but the Darkside intercepted their fourth pass of the game with one minute left giving Dominique Johnson his first INT of the season. The final score from Shawnee was 59-24.

Leading the offense once again was quarterback Caleb Holbrook who finished 18-33 with 328 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added another score on the ground to go with his 50 yards rushing. McClendon finished the season strong with 148 yards rushing on 21 attempts and one touchdown. Backstrom led all receivers with his career day of 152 yards on 5 receptions to add to his two touchdown receptions. For the defense, Allen Maxime and Nate Leota combined for six of the Aggies' eight total QB sacks in the game with three apiece. The Darkside Defense forced five turnovers, adding to their national top 10 total.

Coach Gaskamp said he was "proud of how the team finished after a good week of practice" and "happy to send the seniors off with a victory. A win like this creates momentum for everyone, especially going into recruiting and planning for the off-season."

The Aggies finish the season 4-7, but look to build on the success and RISE to the occasion this off-season and prepare for a successful 2014 campaign.


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