KINGSVILLE, Texas -- The Saginaw Valley State University Football team opened the 2019 season with a big 35-14 victory on the road over Texas A&M-Kingsville, using five defensive turnovers and four touchdowns from senior quarterback Ryan Conklin to claim the win.
After a scoreless first quarter, SVSU outscored the Javelinas 14-0 in the second to take that lead into halftime. Conklin found a wide open Chad Gailliard down the left sideline for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 3:37 left in the first half to make the count 7-0. The second score came after Jacob Dorn recovered a fumble at the Kingsville 3--yardline and Conklin promptly found Nysir Minney-Gratz for a 30-yard touchdown strike to push the count to 14-0.
Kingsville opened the scoring in the second half, trimming the Cardinal lead to 14-7 with 5:19 showing in the third quarter on a 22-yard pass play.
It didn't take long for the Cardinals to respond, as SV found paydirt for the third time with 4:23 left in the third quarter as Conklin hit Casey Williams on a route and Williams took over and finished-off a 79-yard touchdown play. That pushed the visitors' lead to 21-7.
The Cardinal defense got into the action to start the fourth quarter, as Marvin White picked-off a pass and brought it back to the house 71 yards for a pick-six and 28-7 Saginaw Valley lead just 18 seconds into the final frame.
The Javelinas scored again with 10:30 left to make the count 28-14 in SVSU's favor but the nail in the coffin came when Conklin rushed the ball into the endzone from 13 yards out with just 4:33 left to push the lead out to 35-14.
That is where the final score remained, as SVSU sealed the deal and moved to 1-0 to begin the season.
Inside the Boxscore
- Saturday night's win marks the first career victory for new Cardinal head coach, Ryan Brady.
- Conklin had a hand in on four of the five Cardinal touchdowns, passing for three and running for another. He finished the game 13-29 through the air for 259 yards.
- Williams had a career-high four catches for 132 yards and the score.
- Gailliard had a receiving touchdown with 61 yards on four catches while Minney-Gratz had two catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.
- White, David Still and Donnell Alexander all had interceptions for the Cardinal defense, with Alexander and Dorn recovering a fumble each.
- Still added a team-high eight tackles while While and Justin Whitted each had seven. Whitted and Still each had a forced fumble.
- Nick Whiteside, Alexander and Aaron Berry each added five stops for SVSU.
- Heath Williams had three tackles with two sacks.
- The defensive unit as a whole earned Meijer "Player of the Game" honors after its performance in the victory.
Postgame Interview - Ryan Brady
Postgame Interview - Marvin White
SVSU hosts Tiffin University on Saturday (Sep. 14) in the 2019 home opener at Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. The Dragons defeated Northwood University by a 22-19 score on Saturday afternoon. It will be the annual Red Feather Classic Game at SVSU, sponsored by The Fordney Club.
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