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Around The ASC: Hardin-Simmons overcomes halftime deficit, Arreola the hero for Sul Ross State

UMHB may not have been in action on Saturday, but seven of the ASC’s teams were, and we recap all four of those matchups right here in “Around the ASC”. It is our goal to keep you updated and informed on both UMHB and the American Southwest Conference as a whole. Each week, we will bring you short summaries of the week’s football contests within the league. 

Instant classic in Abilene: Hardin-Simmons holds off Howard Payne

In a battle between two of the ASC’s leading contenders, Howard Payne’s upset bid against No. 18 Hardin-Simmons came up short, as HSU defended its home turf in a 40-33 victory. 

With starting quarterback Gaylon Glynn out due to injury, HSU started AJ Hawkins, who completed 14 passes for 168 yards. The rushing attack accounted for 253 yards, and scored four of its five touchdowns on the ground. 

Landon McKinney’s touchdown pass to Jordan Carroll with three seconds left in the second quarter gave the visiting Yellow Jackets a 17-14 halftime lead, but HSU outscored HPU 26-16 over the final two quarters of play. 

Midway through a back-and-forth third quarter, Noah Garcia found his way into the end zone for HSU, scoring on a 19-yard touchdown run that put the Cowboys in front, 21-17. Three plays later, it was the Yellow Jackets who scored, on McKinney’s third passing score of the contest. 

The 70-yard touchdown reception by Gus Charles briefly gave HPU a 24-21 advantage, but HSU’s KJ Peoples erased that lead on the ensuing kickoff. The speedy returner went 81 yards for a kick return score, as a combined 21 points were scored in just under 80 seconds. 

With eight minutes left in the fourth, HPU opted to try for a two-point conversion, following Javian Myles’ 36-yard rushing touchdown. But the pass from McKinney to the end zone fell incomplete, keeping HSU in the lead by a slim 34-33 margin. The Yellow Jackets had a chance to tie it late, taking possession with two minutes left after HSU took a 40-33 lead. But the first play from scrimmage–a pass from McKinney–was intercepted. 

There was a glimmer of hope left for the Yellow Jackets, as long as the defense could come up with a stop. But on a 4th & 1 play with 1:30 remaining, HPU defensive lineman Nicholas Acker was called for an offsides penalty, giving HSU an automatic first down as the Cowboys sealed their first conference victory of the year. 

24 unanswered points and a game-winning field goal in Alpine

In a thrilling duel in West Texas, Sul Ross State pulled out its second straight victory on Saturday night, taking down Texas Lutheran, 37-34. 

The Lobos wasted no time in taking a lead, scoring the game’s first 21 points as TLU’s defense struggled to contain SRSU’s rushing attack. The first score for SRSU came courtesy of its defense, as Quincy Blair intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards to the end zone for a pick-six. 

Entering the fourth quarter, SRSU led 34-10, but TLU did not go away easily. The Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points, with the late rally capped by Joshua Muncrief’s 21-yard touchdown reception with 49 seconds left. 

But TLU left too much time on the clock. SRSU took possession on its own 30-yard line and marched up the field with quarterback Andrew Martinez operating a no-huddle offense. Martinez completed passes of 16, 19, and 14 yards, getting into the red zone with just two seconds left. 

That set kicker Carlos Arreola up with an opportunity to win the game as time expired, and the senior came through, converting on a 38-yarder that gave the Lobos the victory. 

McMurry gets back in the win column as passing attack takes center stage

Facing Lyon College in its final non-conference game of the year, McMurry found itself back in the win column in a 52-14 victory in Abilene. The Warhawks’ offense found its rhythm early, and tallied 642 yards of offense, with 503 of those coming on passing plays. 

Starting quarterback Jess Hoel threw for 293 yards with three touchdowns, and Tray Walton completed six passes for 188 yards in the win. Receiver Kristopher Martin pulled in three touchdown passes, and finished the day with 150 receiving yards. 

McMurry jumped out to a 21-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, and led 38-7 at halftime.  Walton’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Corinthean Coleman with 1:09 in the second went down as McMurry’s longest play of the contest. 

The Warhawk defense also turned in a notable performance, with 12 of Lyon’s 16 possessions ending in punts. The Lyon offense tallied a mere 21 rushing yards on 35 attempts and had just 157 yards of offense. 

Banks throws four touchdown passes as ETBU defeats Austin

Coming out of a bye week, ETBU notched its second victory of the year, winning at home, 35-7, over Austin College on Saturday night. The Tigers shut out the ‘Roos offense in the second half, and scored at least one touchdown in all four quarters. 

Quarterback Cornelius Banks was a key part of that offensive success for ETBU, as he completed 20 of 28 passes for 240 yards and tossed four touchdowns in the win. It helped that he had a deep and reliable receiving corps, as 10 different players caught at least one pass, challenging Austin College’s pass defense. 

ETBU got on the board first, scoring with 4:01 in the first quarter, but Austin tied the score three minutes into the second, as Ben Meraz’s nine-yard touchdown pass was caught by Jaylon Talton. The tie did not last long, as Banks completed his first touchdown pass of the night at the 7:50 mark. By halftime, ETBU led 21-7.

A pair of touchdown passes widened the margin for ETBU through the second half, while the Tiger defense held the ‘Roos to just seven first downs in that span. Colton Gerken had a solid day for the Austin defense, registering 11 tackles (the most by a player for either team) and two tackles for loss. 

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