Oklahoma Panhandle collected only seven points on Thursday night in what is likely the rarest scenario possible – two safeties and a field goal.
The Aggie offense struggled and the result was a 23-7 loss at Adams State.
Gabriel Ortega connected on a 45-yard field goal in the first half and the OPSU team was credited with both safeties in the second half.
It is the 10th consecutive year OPSU has lost its season opener.
The Aggies out-gained the Grizzlies and had 390 yards of total offense, but couldn’t get that to translate to points. OPSU coach Russell Gaskamp pointed out that area of the game as key.
“I thought that in the first half we missed a lot of opportunities offensively,” Gaskamp said. “We missed three or four fourth down conversions.
“We struggled a little bit in the first half with the quarterback run, but our defense played really excellent in the second half.”
OPSU was 5-of-19 on third down and converted only once in six attempts on fourth down. There were also three interceptions and a fumble lost by the Aggies.
“It really came down to the fact that we couldn’t get anything going offensively. We were kind of in a funk and just turned the ball over too much. It was kind of surprising with the experience we had coming back on that side of the ball.”
Senior quarterback Caleb Holbrook passed for just less than 50 percent, completing 28 of 57 passes. He connected with 11 different receivers, but none made it across the goal line and there were those three picks.
Junior tailback Chris McClendon had five of those receptions, as did junior wideout Deandre Perry.
“We really thought going into the season offensively that we would be pretty good, and I still think that we have a chance to be that. We just didn’t do very well tonight. We’ve got to go back and see what we’re coaching and see what we can do to get those guys to play at a higher level. We’ve got some pretty good guys on that side of the ball.”
McClendon didn’t get much going on the ground, though, gaining only 48 yards on 13 carries.
“That’s our fault as coaches,” Gaskamp said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get McClendon touches in the game. We didn’t make enough explosive touches in that regard.”
But Gaskamp’s assessment of the game was that it simply was the first game. He said in college football, there is no preseason and it’s the first chance to really see what is there.
“Sometimes that first one is a little rough.
“The most amount of improvement you can do all year is between Game One and Game Two and we expect to come back and play really well.”
OPSU’s next game is at Carl Wooten Field on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. It is the Aggies’ home opener and they will host Fort Lewis College.