SAN DIEGO – The USD Toreros opened up their 2017 campaign with a solid 34-20 victory over visiting Western New Mexico before 2,247 fans at Torero Stadium. The win marks the seventh straight year for the Toreros to defeat the Mustangs in the season opener. Junior QB Anthony Lawrence passed for 187 yards and two touchdowns, and freshman running back Emilio Martinez totaled 96 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown.
USD had to overcome a 13-0 first quarter deficit as the visiting Western New Mexico Mustangs showed off their athleticism and energy in their quick paced offense. WMNU opened the scoring with D’Angelo Bowie hauling in an 8-yard TD pass from Javia Hall that culminated a 10-play, 86-yard drive with 7:37 to go in the first period. Hall then connected with Sean North for a 44-yard pass play with 3:10 left to put the Mustangs ahead, 13-0. The Toreros answered on their first play from scrimmage as Lawrence connected with senior Justin Priest for a 58-yard touchdown play at the 2:59 mark. Senior kicker Patrick Murray connected on a 32-yard field goal with 30 ticks left in the period to pull the Toreros within 13-10.
In the second period USD was the lone team to score as fullback Zach Nelson burst in from one yard out with just 56 seconds left before the halftime break to give the Toreros a 17-13 edge at the break. Nelson’s touchdown finished off an impressive 12-play, 61-yard drive for the Toreros.
In the third period Lawrence connected with senior TE Ross Dwelley for a 2-yard score and Murray added a 34-yard field goal to push USD’s lead to 27-13. Early in the fourth period Hall tossed his third touchdown of the game, this time for 86 yards to Bowie to make it 27-20 with 11:06 to go. Freshman running Emilio Martinez iced the game for USD with a 13-yard sprint to the endzone with 8:43 to go.
For the game the Toreros totaled 339 yards of offense (152 rush, 187 pass), but were outdone by the visitors who totaled 506 yards of offense with 464 coming through the air. Martinez was followed in the running department by senior Blake Martin (14 rushes, 54 yards). Priest finished with a team-high four receptions for 95 yards and one score. Lawrence completed 15-of-28 passes for his 187 yards.
Defensively the Toreros were led by sophomore corner David Tolbert and senior safety Ray Clark, each with 9 tackles. Junior linebacker Kim Mahoney turned in a solid effort with eight stops, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The defense finished with four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and eight tackles for loss.
WNMU was paced by quarterback Javia Hall (39-62 for 464 yards, 3 TDs) and receiver D’Angelo Bowie (19 catches for 263 yards, 2 TDs). Dominic Barry paced the defense with eight tackles.
The Toreros are now on the road the next two weeks beginning with UC Davis on September 9th (6:00 p.m.).
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