PRAIRIE VIEW – Two of the best offensive units in college football lit up the scoreboard Saturday afternoon at Blackshear Field as Abilene Christian University outlasted Prairie View A&M, 65-45, as the Wildcats finished off the 2013 season by recording their eighth straight winning season.
ACU (692 yards of total offense) and Prairie View (572 yards of total offense) combined to post 1,264 yards of offense and 110 points as two of the top offenses at the NCAA Division I FCS level moved up and down the field seemingly at will. ACU entered the game as the 10th-highest scoring team in all of Division I football with 436 points (43.6 ppg) and Prairie View entered as the 15th-best FCS scoring offense in the country at 38 points per outing.
The Wildcats' win – led by senior quarterback John David Baker's 485 passing yards and senior running back Charcandrick West's four rushing touchdowns and 155 yards on the ground – helped ACU finish its first season as an NCAA Division I FCS program at 6-5. The Wildcats haven't endured a losing season since a 4-6 campaign in 2005.
The Wildcats never trailed as Baker got them on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run just 2:46 into the game. After Prairie View A&M got the game tied on a Greg Thurmond touchdown reception, West scored three straight touchdowns for the Wildcats on runs of 60, 2 and 3 yards to give ACU a 28-17 lead in the second quarter.
After the Panthers were able to cut the lead to 28-24 late in the first half, the Wildcats drove 78 yards on nine plays to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Baker to DeMarcus Thompson to make it a 35-24 game at the half. The Wildcats scored on their second possession of the second half on a touchdown pass from Baker to Noah Cheshier to push the lead to 42-24. After Nik Grau's 10th field goal of the season gave the Wildcats a 45-24 lead with 2:14 left in the third quarter, the Panthers weren't able to get closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Baker's 485 passing yards are the third-most in a game in ACU football history, and he finished his only season as the Wildcats' starter with 3,376 passing yards in 2013, which is the fourth-best single-season total in school history. Baker also accounted for five touchdowns Saturday (four passing and one rushing) to give him 40 touchdowns accounted for in 2013 (35 passing and five rushing), which is a new single-season school record.
West's career-best 155 yards leave him 10th on ACU's career rushing list with 2,062 yards, and his four touchdowns give him 35 for his career (fourth on the all-time touchdown list). His 210 career points are sixth on the all-time ACU list.