ABILENE -- West Texas A&M running back Keithon Flemming scored three of his for touchdowns in the second half Saturday afternoon as the Buffaloes upset No. 1-ranked Abilene Christian, 32-21, at Shotwell Stadium, snapping the Wildcats' 17-game regular-season winning streak.
The Wildcats (7-1 overall, 5-1 in the Lone Star Conference and 2-1 in the LSC South Division) were playing as the No. 1 team in NCAA Divison II for the first time since moving from NAIA to NCAA Division II in 1981.
The Buffaloes improved to 3-5 overall, 3-3 in the LSC and 2-2 in the LSC South.
ACU held a shaky 14-12 lead at halftime, but saw that lead disappear with 5:05 left in the third quarter when running back Flemming capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive when caught an 8-yard pass from Taylor Harris, giving the Buffs an 18-14 lead.
The Wildcats, however, answered quickly, moving 74 yards on 11 plays to regain the lead at 21-18 when Daryl Richardson scored from four yards out.
After the ACU defense forced a punt, the Wildcat offense went back to work trying to put the game away. Instead, on third-and-18 from his own 27, redshirt freshman quarterback Mitchell Gale was intercepted by Caleb Randolph, who returned the ball to the ACU 29.
Flemming handled the ball on the first and last plays of the drive as he capped the drive with a 4-yard run to give the Buffs a 25-21 lead with 7:49 to play.
The Wildcats then went three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Buffs, who had their own chance to put the game away.
And the Buffs, unlike the Wildcats, delivered.
Taking over on their own 23 with 6:08 to play, the Buffs went after the ACU defense as Harris completed passes of eight and nine yards to Flemming and Brittan Golden, respectively, on the first two plays. Flemming then ripped off runs of 34 and 11 yards to mmove the ball to the ACU 15 with 3:59 to play.
On third-and-4 from the ACU 9-yard line, Harris threw incomplete for Tyson Williams, but the play was nullified by a pass interference penalty on ACU's DuMaurier Jordan, giving the Buffs a first-and-goal at the ACU 5-yard line. Three plays later, Harris hit Flemming for a 6-yard score to make it a 32-21 game with 2:10 remaining.
The WT defense -- which allowed 810 yards and 93 points to the Wildcats on the same Shotwell Stadium turf last November in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs -- recorded three straight sacks of Gale on ACU's final possession to put an end to the game and ACU's stint atop the NCAA Division II poll.
Harris finished 34 of 48 for 358 yards and two scores, whle Flemming ran for 72 yards and two scores and caught eight passes for 101 yards and two more touchdowns.
Richardson ran for 101 yards and two scores to lead all ballcarriers in the game.