ARKADELPHIA — It wasn’t the best of performances, but No. 9 Henderson State still managed to come away with a 75-14 beating of McKendree, Saturday night at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium at home.
The Reddies totaled 675 yards of offense while the defense was stellar allowing McKendree just 128 total yards and 10 first downs.
It was a sloppy first-half as Henderson fumbled three times, including twice in the red zone.
McKendree struck first when Kevin Rodgers lost the football on a sack by Lucky Baar on the first-play from scrimmage. The Bearcats scored three plays later on a 5-yard run by Ryan Herring.
The Reddies, 2-0 on the season, scored 27 unanswered points as Rodgers connected with Robert Jordan on touchdown passes of 26 and 16 yards.
Ryan McDonald then sparked the Reddie offense with a 36-yard scoring jaunt, while Kevin Nichols plunged in from 1-yard out to give Henderson a 27-7 halftime lead.
The defense was superb limiting the Bearcats to just 62 yards offense in the opening 30 minutes with the Bearcats managing just six first downs in the half. In fact, McKendree did not break 100 yards of offense until 8:18 remaining in the game.
The Bearcats, 1-1 on the season, opened the second half with a 97-yard kick return by Cameron James. That would be the last of the scoring for McKendree as they were held to 3-plays and out four times and were forced to punt eight times in the half.
Rodgers added three more touchdown passes in the second half including a 54-yard strike to Darius Davis, a 32-yard toss to Dustin Holland and a short 7-yarder to Corey Chappell before calling it a night.
Rodgers’ five touchdown strikes on Saturday gives him 11 scores in two games this season and a total of 61 scores in a career that spans 20 games.
Redshirt- freshman Dallas Hardison entered the game and tossed his first collegiate touchdown as he hooked up with Chappell for a 43-yard score.
The defense finally put points on the board as Triston Crook picked up a loose ball and scampered 38-yards for a touchdown, 17 seconds after Chappell’s touchdown.
Henderson State added another touchdown with 7:44 remaining in the game as Al Lasker returned a punt 75-yards to make the score 68-14.
The Reddies tacked on a late touchdown after a short punt by McKendree as McDonald scored on a 4-yard run.
The Charleston product ended the night with 118 yards on 14 carries. It was the second consecutive week that McDonald eclipsed the 100-yard plateau.
Defensively, the Reddies totaled 11 tackles for lost yardage and forced three turnovers.
Ricardo Mendez led the way with nine tackles, while Ricky Cortes and Zack Richardson both had seven stops.
Glennon Bobo also had a big night with two tackles for losses and a forced fumble, while Keaton Stigger, and Bryant House also having fumble recoveries.
Rodgers ended the game completing 31-of-45 passes for 380 yards and 5 touchdowns. It was the 11th time in his career that the Rockwall, Texas product has gone over 300 yards. Rodgers also went over the 6,000-yard passing mark for a career increasing his total to 6117 yards.
Davis finished with 10 catches for 142 yards and became the 15th player in Henderson State history to gain 1,000 career receiving yards.
The Reddies return to Great American Conference play when they travel to Durant, Okla. to face Southeastern Oklahoma next Saturday with kickoff slated for 6 p.m.