If you weren’t able to make it to all the games, or even if you did, we’ve got a recap of the season for you. At the time this magazine went to print, the season was nearly complete. For the latest on Cardinal football, visit www.cardinalathletics.com.

Week 1 – Aug. 29
Opponent: Monterrey Tech Borregos (Monterrey, Mexico)
Location: At UIW

Incarnate Word 42
Monterrey Tech 39

Despite Benson Stadium’s capacity topping out at 3,000, more than 6,200 spectators flocked to UIW to watch the first Cardinal football game. Fans spilled out onto temporary stands, and some watched from the tailgating area.

During play, junior quarterback Thomas Specia had a direct hand in five of Incarnate Word’s six touchdowns as the Cardinals went on to victory. He threw three touchdown passes and scored twice himself. The Monterrey Tech Borregos had won 26 consecutive contests and had captured the last five consecutive titles in Mexico’s national league of American football before falling to the Cardinals.

Week 2 – Sept. 5
Opponent: Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (Russellville, Ark.)
Location: At Russellville

Incarnate Word 10
Arkansas Tech 40

Arkansas Tech, of the Gulf South Conference, scored three early touchdowns on the way to a 34-3 halftime lead. In the first half, the Wonder Boys rolled up 383 yards on 44 attempts while Incarnate Word managed only 113 on 25 plays.

Arkansas Tech scored touchdowns twice on drives of less than two minutes each in addition to an 88-yard kickoff return.

For the Cardinals, Thomas Specia made 10 completions for 23 attempts with one interception. He also made the lone UIW score. Derrick Walls caught three passes for 53 yards. Walker caught only two passes but one went for 73 yards and the other for the 14-yard score.

Week 3 – Sept. 19
Opponent: Midwestern State Mustangs (Wichita Falls, Texas)
Location: At UIW

Incarnate Word 7
Midwestern State 49

Cardinal fans filled Benson Stadium to capacity and beyond once more.

Midwestern State arrived ranked No. 24 in the nation in the football coaches Division II poll. The Mustangs were 3-0 and had put up an average victory margin of 39 points. They won the game 49-7.

But the Cardinals put up more of a fight than the Mustangs’ other early opponents. “Midwestern held their first three opponents to field goals. Our touchdown was the first in their first four games,” Coach Mike Santiago said.

Week 4 – Sept. 26
Opponent: Langston Lions (Langston, Okla.)
Location: At Langston

Incarnate Word 14
Langston 17

For the second consecutive week, the Cardinals ran into a nationally ranked team. Langston was No. 7 in the nation according to the NAIA Division I poll, and the university finished 10-3 and reached the third round of the NAIA championship playoffs in its 2008 season.

UIW’s defense was the talk of the game through three quarters. Defensive end Alan Ford had 12 tackles on the night including two for losses and two sacks. Overall, the Cardinals stopped Lions ball carriers 11 times for losses. However, Incarnate Word also had six turnovers, four interceptions and a pair of lost fumbles.

Week 5 – Oct. 3
Opponent: Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies (Goodwell, Okla.)
Location: At Goodwell

Incarnate Word 38
Oklahoma Panhandle 35 OT

Down 35-7 in the third quarter, the Cardinals rallied to tie the game against Oklahoma Panhandle at 35-35 at the end of regulation. In the huddle before overtime, Head Coach Mike Santiago told the Cardinals they would win because before this game, he had eight wins and no losses in extra periods during his career. He is now 9-0.

UIW won the coin toss in overtime and opted to kick off. Oklahoma Panhandle managed one first down after starting at the UIW 25 yard line. UIW’s Matt Sanders broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone, and the Cardinals went on offense.

A short one-yard run by UIW quarterback Eric Massoni was followed by an incomplete pass, which set up another carry by Massoni for a two-yard gain. UIW’s Thomas Rebold made a 39-yard field goal for the win.

Week 6 – Oct. 10
Opponent: East Central University Tigers (Ada, Okla.)
Location: At UIW

Incarnate Word 38
East Central Oklahoma 20

East Central got on the scoreboard first with a 40-yard dash from the line of scrimmage but missed the extra point for a 6-0 lead in the second quarter. Shortly thereafter, UIW quarterback Eric Massoni, making his first start, threw 58 yards to wide receiver Dominic Hamilton for a score. Thomas Rebold kicked the extra point and the Cardinals were on top 7-6 and would never trail again.

Hamilton caught seven Massoni passes on the day for 188 yards and a pair of scores. For the game, Massoni was 16 of 25 for 278 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions.

UIW had 398 total offensive yards to 277 for the Tigers. The Incarnate Word totals included 105 on the ground and 293 through the air. Defensively for the Cardinals, safety Chaz Pavliska led all with his 11 tackles including one sack and two for losses. In the second quarter, safety Aaron Hernandez scooped up a Tiger fumble and headed 43 yards down the UIW sideline for a score.

Week 7 – Oct. 10
Opponent: Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs (Seguin, Texas)
Location: At UIW

Incarnate Word 53
Texas Lutheran 18

UIW held its first Military Appreciation game with more than 1,500 Cardinal football tickets distributed to troops and their families stationed at San Antonio-area military installations as well as to area high school junior ROTC programs.

In this three-game winning streak, Dominic Hamilton has caught two passes for touchdowns in all three. He did it again against TLU with a 41-yarder from quarterback Thomas Specia in the second quarter and then again in the third on a 38-yard throw and run from quarterback Eric Massoni.

The Cardinals amassed 479 yards on offense, 213 rushing and 266 through the air. Massoni threw for the first two scores of the game.

For the second straight week, the Cardinal defense scored a touchdown. UIW’s defense, in limiting TLU to 125 yards and two points through three quarters, also came up with two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.