Urias makes game winner, sets school record to lead WT past UTPB

West Texas A&M’s Nick Gerber (15) runs with the ball in a Lone Star Conference game against UT Permian Basin, Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium in Canyon.  West Texas A&M won, 28-27.
West Texas A&M’s Nick Gerber (15) runs with the ball in a Lone Star Conference game against UT Permian Basin, Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium in Canyon. West Texas A&M won, 28-27.

CANYON — West Texas A&M needed a drive.

Following a crucial stop by the defense that forced the UT Permian Basin Falcons to punt with just over two minutes to play, WT senior quarterback Nick Gerber and the Buffs offense set up shop from their own 34-yard line trailing 27-25 and in need of a field goal to win.

On that final possession, WT converted a 4th-and-2 with a 3-yard scurry by Gerber and had back-to-back catches by Tyree Sweet for a total of 23 yards. Gerber used his legs again for an 18-yard rush to set up senior kicker Gage Urias with a 34-yard attempt that would send the big leg out of Lubbock Coronado into the Buffaloes' record books.

Money.

"Once we went down there and stepped out, I was thinking that it's just an extra point," Urias said.

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Urias would drill the long "extra point" and go on to finish the night 5-of-6 on field goals and redeemed himself with the game-winner — after whiffing on a 36-yard attempt with 2:26 to play. He sent the ball through the uprights from 33, 49, 20, 45, and 32 yards out to set the individual record as the Buffs secured a 28-27 victory.

To West Texas A&M coach Hunter Hughes, his kicker missing the late field goal may have been somewhat of a blessing in disguise.

"We had some adversity," he said. "Gage misses the field goal and you know the bottom line is I'm kind of glad he did because if he had made it we would've had to go back on the field on defense again. The guys were gassed, we were tired. … It's bittersweet that [Urias] set a school record because we should've been in the end zone all those times in all honesty.

West Texas A&M used great resilience and fought through adversity to pull out a tough Lone Star Conference win that moves them to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in league play on the season.

West Texas A&M’s Sosa Sokimi (55) and Christopher Thomas (31) make a tackle against UT Permian Basin, in a Lone Star Conference game, Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium in Canyon.  West Texas A&M won, 28-27.
West Texas A&M’s Sosa Sokimi (55) and Christopher Thomas (31) make a tackle against UT Permian Basin, in a Lone Star Conference game, Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium in Canyon. West Texas A&M won, 28-27.

Gerber put the team on his back during the final offensive drive by the Buffs on the way to finishing the game by completing 27-of-43 passes for 271 yards to go along with a team-high 105 rushing yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts. His top target throughout the night was senior Noah Bogardus, who reeled in 11 catches for 195 yards. Senior running back Jarrod Compton scored the only other touchdown for WT on an 18-yard rush in the second quarter that put the home team up 16-0.

After jumping out to that big early lead, the Buffs squandered the hot start and eventually had to come from behind to win in the end. Gerber was exactly the experienced veteran that the maroon and white needed inside Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium on Saturday night in order to stay even-keeled and confident.

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"You look at all the stats and there's only one that matters," said Hughes, whose squad dropped UTPB to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in conference. "That's that we had more than they do on the top line."

West Texas A&M’s Isaiah Smallwood (18) runs with the ball against UT Permian Basin, in a Lone Star Conference game, Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium in Canyon.  West Texas A&M won, 28-27.
West Texas A&M’s Isaiah Smallwood (18) runs with the ball against UT Permian Basin, in a Lone Star Conference game, Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium in Canyon. West Texas A&M won, 28-27.

Up next: West Texas A&M (3-2, 1-2) will hit the road next week and head for Wichita Falls to challenge Midwestern State (3-2, 2-1) in an LSC rivalry game. The Mustangs are coming off of a 30-27 overtime loss against Western New Mexico on Saturday and will be aiming to get back on track against the Buffs.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Gage Urias makes game winner, sets school record to lead WT past UTPB