Some 8,300 purple-clad fans attended the home opener Saturday night for the Abilene Christian University football season, which the No. 5-ranked Wildcats celebrated by manhandling the Tigers from East Central (Okla.) University, 47-7.
The Tigers have worn two entirely different uniform designs in the last three years, even one not unlike the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, but the attire seems to make little difference: ACU just has ECU’s number. The Wildcats won 66-7 in 2008 and 43-6 in 2009. ECU was 0-11 in 2009 and is now 0-3 for this season, its last in the Lone Star Conference before it and four other Oklahoma state universities leave for a yet to be determined conference.
ACU held the Tigers to -12 yards of rushing and 119 yards of total offense in Saturday night’s game, and led in first downs, 27-6. Wildcat head coach Chris Thomsen substituted liberally in the second half, playing three quarterbacks and seeing 10 different ACU players carry the ball on rushing plays and another 12 catch passes to power an attack totaling 559 yards of offense. Sophomore quarterback Mitchell Gale threw for 263 yards and five touchdowns in a little more than two quarters of work.
Fans enjoyed a tailgate meal before the game in the Shotwell Stadium parking lot, and the Big Purple’s halftime routine led off with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” while the lights of the midway at the West Texas Fair and Rodeo sparkled in the distance.
Clear skies, a pleasant September evening breeze and another win for the 3-0 Wildcats – what better way to begin another promising football season? And you can do it all over again next Saturday, Sept. 25, when ACU hosts rival Tarleton State at 6 p.m.