KINGSVILLE (Javelina Athletics) - The Texas A&M-Kingsville football team had its chances to snap its three-game losing streak on Saturday but untimely penalties and turnovers proved costly in a 21-16 loss to North Alabama at Javelina Stadium.
With the loss, the Javelinas fall to 2-4 on the year in the Lone Star Conference after starting the season 2-0. It is the first time since 2007 that they have lost four games in a row. North Alabama improves to 5-1 on the season.
The Javelinas had one touchdown nullified by a holding penalty and two interceptions deep in Lions territory that hindered their comeback.
Down 14-6 at the intermission, the Javelinas took the opening possession of the second half and raced down the field for their first touchdown of the game. Nate Poppell was 4-of-5 passing on the drive with Anthony Johnson carrying twice for 20 yards including a 17-yard run for a score at the 12:45 mark of the third.
Darnell Hicks returned the ball right back to the Javelinas as he recovered a fumble by Lamonte Thompson. However, Matt Stoll, who had two first half field goals, missed wide left from 34 yards.
After Marquis Singleton sacked Chris Alexander for an 8-yard loss at the UNA 18, Kingsville, which outgained the Lions 393 to 244, drove again towards the end zone.
Randall Toney's run to the 16 gave the Javelinas a first down. Johnson appeared to pick up his second score of the game and of his Kingsville career when he broke free for a 16-yard run off the right tackle. A holding call however nullified the penalty. Three plays later, Caleb Massey intercepted Poppell at the seven and returned the kick 93 yards for a touchdown and a 21-13 advantage with just over a quarter remaining.
After the sides traded possessions, TAMUK took over at the 21 and drove as deep as the UNA nine. A penalty on first down pushed the Javelinas back to the 14. Stoll would kick his third field goal of the game with 4:14 remaining to make it 21-16.
Kingsville got the ball back at its own 22 with 28 seconds left after a missed field goal by the Lions. On the first play, Poppell hit Clyde Lee for a 20-yard gain to the 42. The Javelinas could get no closer.
In the first half, UNA took the lead on its first drive going 82 yards on 13 plays with quarterback Chris Alexander scoring from the two.
Stoll put Kingsville on the board late in the first with a 30-yard kick after a Javelina drive stalled at the Lions 12.
Thompson pushed his team ahead 14-3 early in the second when he scored on a 4-yard run with 11:29 left in the half. Luke Wingo's 32-yard run to the four set up the run.
Kingsville responded by driving down to the Lions 24 but a penalty pushed them back to the 40. Poppell got most of the yards back on 16-yard pass to Patrick LaFluer, but was intercepted at the 10 on the next play.
Stoll made it 14-6 with a 25-yard field goal with less than two minutes to go in the half.
Poppell finished the game with 287 yards passing on 28-of-47 passing, but threw a pair of interceptions. Christian Taylor had four catches for 70 yards and Robert Armstrong had seven for 68. Johnson finished with 56 yards on 13 carries.
Defensively, Marquis Singleton had 10 tackles to lead the way with a sack and two tackles for loss, while Jeremy Aguilar had eight.
Thompson had a game-high 71 yards rushing on 17 carries. Chris Alexander and Luke Wingo passed for a combined 99 yards on 7-of-13 passing. Massey had a team-high 13 tackles and Tavarius Wilson added 11.