ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – In the final game of 2018, the Black Hills State University football team defeated NAIA foe, Robert Morris University, 28-20, on Saturday afternoon. Payten Gilmore rushed for 218 yards, his second game going over 200 yards this season.
“We had to fight for this one. We did a lot of great things today, but we had to overcome some turnovers,” said head coach John Reiners. “The seniors are a great group of guys. We wanted to send them out with a win and we did.”
The Yellow Jackets (3-8, 2-8 RMAC) got the ball first on a chilly afternoon. They were able to move the ball, but were stymied deep in Eagle (2-9) territory, and missed a 47-yard field goal. The BHSU defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out in response, giving the ball back to the Yellow Jacket offense with just over 10 minutes to play in the first quarter. A big rush by Payten Gilmore moved the visitors into RMU territory, and Ryan Hommel then marched the team down the field, eventually using a 14-yard quarterback draw to put BHSU up, 7-0, with 7:59 left in the period.
BHSU relied on Gilmore on its first drive in the second quarter, as he rattled off rushes of three, eight, and 21 yards to give the Yellow Jackets first-and-goal at the one yard line. Gilmore then ran the ball in himself to put the Green and Gold up, 14-0. With 1:28 left in the first half, a Hommel pass was intercepted by the Eagles’ Rashod Richards to give the home team a short field at the BHSU 25-yard line. Two plays later, RMU got on the scoreboard, and trailed 14-6.
However, the Yellow Jackets would not be satisfied heading into the locker room up just 10 points. Using all 1:03 left in the half, BHSU drove 69 yards down the field in eight plays, culminating in an 18-yard pass from Hommel to Tanner Gambleas time expired. The Green and Gold took a 21-6 lead into halftime.
The Eagles got the ball first in the second half and drove down to the BHSU 4-yard line, taking almost seven minutes off the clock. However, Josh Gurnaby intercepted a fourth-and-goal pass, keeping RMU out of the end zone. The Yellow Jackets immediately took advantage, as Gilmore ripped off a 74-yard touchdown run two plays later to give the Green and Gold a 28-6 lead.
The Eagles scored with 6:41 to play, and successfully went for two, cutting the lead to 28-14. On RMU’s next possession, quarterback Quinn Kelly found Omari Ferguson for an 89-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, and the Yellow Jackets led, 28-20, with 2:23 left in the game. After turning the ball over, BHSU’s defense held firm, not allowing the Eagles to get a first down, and the Green and Gold were able to assume victory formation to seal the win.
Hommel threw for 159 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a score. Gilmore finished with 218 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The junior didn’t have a negative run until late in the fourth quarter. Defensively, Jarrell Ganaway led the Yellow Jackets with seven tackles, including two solo sacks. He also had an interception. Lathen Stevens and Josh Gurnaby each tallied a pick as well, while Austin Goddard recorded two sacks.
For the Eagles, Kelly threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Ferguson had 130 receiving yards. Defensively, Justin Olokun led RMU with nine tackles.