Your weekly summary of the weekend’s action in American Southwest Conference Football
Hardin-Simmons prevails in highly-anticipated matchup against UMHB
In a matchup of the ASC’s top two teams, Hardin-Simmons pulled away in the second half against UMHB, and emerged with a 24-14 win. It gave HSU an inside track to the conference title and the ASC’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA playoffs, while UMHB saw its playoff hopes crumble. The win was HSU’s first over UMHB since 2015.
Isaac Phe’s rushing touchdown put UMHB ahead 7-0 early, and an HSU field goal cut the deficit to four at halftime. But after punting on their first drive of the second half, the Cowboys scored three straight touchdowns, going up 24-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Solid defense kept the double-digit lead intact as UMHB scored once in the fourth but never got any closer than a 10-point deficit.
A pair of missed field goals in the first half, and a slew of penalties throughout the game hurt UMHB’s chances at victory. Meanwhile, HSU overcame early offensive woes, established its rushing attack, and seized its opportunity. HSU is now 4-0 in league play and 7-1 overall. UMHB drops to 4-4, with a 3-1 record in the ASC. It is UMHB’s first season with at least four losses since 1999.
Read more in Riley Zayas’ postgame story from Abilene: In ASC showdown, Hardin-Simmons defeats UMHB, 24-14, for first win over UMHB since 2015
ETBU extends win streak to three games against Sul Ross State
ETBU continued its winning ways in Marshall on Saturday, notching its third straight victory in a 27-10 win over Sul Ross State. The Tigers are now 4-3 overall under head coach Calvin Ruzicka, who is in his first year at the helm of the program.
The game played out fairly evenly through the first half and into the third quarter, with a 3-3 halftime score. Defense dominated the storyline throughout the contest, especially for ETBU, as SRSU mustered just nine completed passes and an average of 2.8 yards per rushing attempt. The Tigers took a 10-3 lead with 4:48 in the third quarter on Kylin Jackson’s short touchdown run, but SRSU’s Bobby Williams tied the score 13 seconds later. He took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a score, knotting the game at 10-10.
ETBU, however, saw its offense kick into high gear, with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Carlos Garibay completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Zay Thomas with 8:21 in the fourth, as the Tigers took advantage of an SRSU interception. SRSU went for it on 4th down from their own 15-yard line with under two minutes left, and quarterback Andrew Martinez was sacked in the backfield. It led to a three-yard rushing score from Carldell Beard for ETBU’s eventual 24-10 win.
Howard Payne gets back in win column, edges past Texas Lutheran
Howard Payne avoided consecutive losses on Saturday afternoon, edging Texas Lutheran, 31-27, after falling behind 11-0 in the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets had just one first quarter possession, as TLU used up a good portion of the clock on each of its first two drives. HPU took the ball with 1:59 left in the opening quarter on its own 22-yard line and marched down field, capping the six-play drive with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Landon McKinney.
HPU took its first lead six minutes later, as McKinney’s 1-yard rushing touchdown gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-11 advantage. TLU knotted the score at 14-14 on a field goal heading into halftime.
The lead changed hands five times over the course of the second half, with the intensity building as the fourth quarter drew to a close. Joaquin Rodriguez capped a nine-play drive for TLU with a 45-yard field goal with three minutes remaining, as the Bulldogs led 27-24. But McKinney led the HPU offense down the field, in an 83-yard drive that ended in Gus Charles’ six-yard, go-ahead touchdown catch with 36 seconds left.
HPU is now 6-2 overall, 3-2 in ASC play, while TLU remains winless at 0-4 in ASC play.
McMurry reaches 4-win mark for first time since 2016 in defeat of Austin College
On homecoming weekend, McMurry put on a show, dominating in a 51-13 win over Austin College. The Warhawks shut out AC in the second half after leading by just three at halftime. McMurry has now won four games in a season for the first time since 2016.
The visiting ‘Roos took the first lead, on Jaylon Talton’s 37-yard touchdown pass, but McMurry countered with a three-play, 48-second drive. Phazzon Washington scored from five yards out, tying the score.
After McMurry took a 16-13 lead at the intermission, the Warhawks opened the second half with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jess Hoel that gave the hosts a double-digit lead. Kristopher Martin pulled in another touchdown pass from Hoel five minutes later, and Tristen Hall caught another before the third quarter ended.
Hoel finished 33-of-46 passing for 376 yards and four touchdowns. Martin had eight receptions for 114 yards.