Courtesy of McMurry Athletics
. - McMurry posted its first winning season since 2000 with a 28-17 victory over Mississippi College Saturday at Robinson-Hale Stadium. The McMurry defense held the Choctaws to just 190 yards of total offense in the win while Landry Gunter threw four touchdown passes and had 279 passing yards in his first start of the season.
Gunter, stepping in for the injured Stephen Warren who broke his elbow Saturday against Louisiana College while Warren had filled in for the injured Jake Mullin who suffered a season-ending injury Oct. 30 against Hardin-Simmons.
In 2009, Gunter was in a familiar position as he filled in for Mullin who acquired the swine flu prior to last season’s season finale against Louisiana College in Pineville, La. However, in 2010 Gunter’s fortunes were much better. Other than an interception in the first series, Gunter finished 27 of 38 as he passed touchdown throws to R.J. Long twice, Eric Shaffer and Marcus Franklin.
For Long, his two touchdown receptions made him the single-season school record holder for touchdown catches in a season with 15. He passed Ryder Peacock’s 1999 mark of 13, and Long had already become the first 1,000-yard receiver in school history for a single season.
The defense, as it has all season, kept McMurry in the game allowing just 78 rushing yards and 112 yards through the air. The unit had a season-high eight sacks and Corey Hall and D.J. Baiza each recorded interceptions.
McMurry took a 14-0 lead with a 31-yard touchdown catch from Long and Shaffer’s 48-yard catch in the first quarter. The Choctaws struck back with a 11-play 75-yard drive capped with a 2-yard passing touchdown from Austin Gray to Randal Pharr. McMurry’s Long caught his second touchdown pass with 2:57 left in the first half to regain a two-touchdown lead for McMurry. However, Chris Campbell’s 47-yard field goal as time expired for intermission put the Choctaws within striking distance again at 21-10.
In the second half, the team’s matched each other with a touchdown, but McMurry held the Choctaws at bay to hold on for the win. Senior Marcus Franklin caught the final touchdown pass of his career with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter on a 31-yard strike from Gunter. Franklin finished the season with 11 touchdown catches and 19 for his two-year career.
The last score of the game came in the fourth quarter with 11:31 remaining when Briand Richardson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Reyer.
McMurry finished 6-4 overall and 4-4 in American Southwest Conference. The 4-4 mark matches last season’s league record for McMurry, however they tie for fourth place with East Texas Baptist after finishing fifth last season.