San Antonio – Trinity's football team opened up the 2019 season with a convincing 41-10 victory over McMurry (TX) University on Thursday night.
Despite a punt and three consecutive turnovers by the two teams to start the game, the Tigers raced out to a 20-0 lead after one quarter of action and never looked back.
Trinity went three-and-out to start the game, but the Tiger defense was ready for a trick play by McMurry, and Nic Hover came down with an interception on the first play of the drive.
That started an unfortunate string of action that saw the two teams commit three turnovers in just six plays.
Messex found Stewart for another short touchdown pass on the next drive, and then Messex hooked up with Tommy Lavine from five yards out to make it a 20-0 game after one quarter of action.
Trinity's defense forced two turnovers, two punts, and a turnover on downs during the quarter, sparking the Tigers to the big lead.
McMurry got on the board early in the second quarter, taking advantage of Trinity's second turnover of the night, but the Tigers immediately answered with a score of their own to make it 27-3.
This time Austin Bertness was on the end of a 31-yard touchdown throw by Messex that ended the first-half scoring, and Trinity went to the locker room with a commanding 27-3 lead.
McMurry drove into the red zone on its first drive of the second half, but turned the ball over on downs at the 14 yardline. The Tigers needed just one play to light up the scoreboard once again, as Messex and Stewart combined for their third touchdown of the game from 86 yards out.
McMurry got its only touchdown of the night midway through the fourth quarter, scoring on a 49-yard pass play that turned out to be the game's final points.
Trinity piled up 453 yards of total offense in the game, while the defense held McMurry to just 271 yards overall and forced two turnovers.
Trinity moves to 1-0 after beating McMurry in the season opener for the second straight season. The Tigers defeated the War Hawks 44-0 last year.
Wyatt Messex threw for 250 yards and a career-high five touchdowns on 18-25 passing, as well as rushing three times for 43 more yards. He became the 15th Trinity quarterback to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a career and he stands alone in 10th place all-time with 26 touchdown passes in his career.
The five touchdown passes by Messex are the most by a Tiger quarterback since Nyk McKissic threw for six touchdowns against Howard Payne (TX) University in 2012.
Chris Stewart was the favorite target, catching six passes for 125 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. It marks just the fourth time since 2012 that a Trinity receiver caught three or more passes. Stewart also became the 27th player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career receiving yards.
The 86-yard touchdown throw from Messex to Stewart is the third-longest pass play in school history and is the second play of 80 or more yards that the two Tiger teammates have produced. Last season, Messex found Stewart for an 80-yard touchdown pass - also against McMurry.
Austin Bertness finished with five receptions for 76 yards and a score, while Tommy Lavine had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Lavine's biggest play might have been his tackle after an interception, though, as he ran nearly the entire length of the field to stop a sure touchdown.
With his evening, Lavine became the eighth player in school history to reach 2,000 career receiving yards. He also moved into seventh place all-time in total receptions and tied for sixth place in touchdown receptions.
Gerald Daniels came on late in the game, but led the Tigers in rushing with 54 yards on just nine carries.
First-year Mac Douglass made the most of his first collegiate game, recording five total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and his first career interception. He returned the pick 18 yards to set up Trinity's first touchdown.
Trinity will head to Abilene, Texas, to face off against ninth-ranked Hardin-Simmons (TX) University on Saturday, September 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.