SHREVEPORT, La – The second half magic must only occur in Mississippi.
The Oxford Chargers never led in the contest as the Ruston Bearcats were able to run it well and often in their 28-14 victory at the Independence Bowl Stadium Saturday afternoon at the Battle of the Border Showcase.
Ruston (1-1 overall) found the end zone on their second possession of the contest using a 50-yard run from quarterback Jaden Osborne on the opening play. Seven plays later, Dyson Fields runs the ball into the end zone from seven yards out to give Ruston a 7-0 lead with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bearcats attempted an onside kick but Oxford (2-1) was able to fall on it. Trip Maxwell led the Chargers’ most successful drive of the first half driving the ball 36 yards, but Omar Howell was stuffed on fourth-and-short to turn the ball over on downs.
Ruston was able to put together long drives consistently on the afternoon, but a 12-play 79-yard drive on the ensuing Bearcat possession ended with a blocked field goal that kept the game at 7-0 early in the second quarter.
After failing on fourth down on Oxford’s first second half possession, Ruston drove the ball six plays and traveled 38 yards, capped with a Fields 22-yard touchdown run to give Ruston a 14-0 lead with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
Oxford finally broke through with a Roman Gregory 57-yard run on the lone bright spot on the ground of the contest to cut the lead in half at 14-7 with 5:18 left in the third quarter. The Chargers finished with 53 total rushing yards, meaning outside of that one run, Oxford had minus-four yards on the ground.
On the next Ruston possession, Oxford forced a three-and-out, but a roughing the punter penalty kept the drive alive and ended up being the turning point of the contest as Ruston continued to run 16 plays on the drive capped with a Fields two-yard dive on the opening play of the fourth quarter to give the Bearcats a 21-7 lead.
After Oxford was forced to punt on fourth-and-long, Ruston capped the game with a four-play, 60-yard drive, aided with a 57-yard run from Fields and capped with a two-yard run from Jadon Mayfield to give Ruston a 28-7 advantage with 7:37 left in the contest.
Michael Harvey was able to grab a three-yard rushing touchdown to inch closer and the Chargers were able to get the onside kick, but turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession to stop any other comeback attempt.
Harvey finished 12-for-28 for 102 yards and a rushing touchdown. Gregory finished with five rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Fields for Ruston finished with 28 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Neither team had a turnover in the contest. Osborne was 11-for-17 for 72 yards and had 15 rushes for 85 yards for the Bearcats.