GEORGETOWN – Despite similar total numbers, the Southwestern University football team could not cash in on their opportunities as they fell to East Texas Baptist on Saturday evening, 28-10, at Birkelbach Field.
The Pirates racked up 358 yards on the evening with an even 179 through both the air and the ground. However, Southwestern put the ball on the ground six times, losing two. On the other side, ETBU had 434 total yards including 333 through the air.
It was a tough start for the Pirates as a fumble on the first play from scrimmage gave the Tigers a 1st and 10 from the SU 22. ETBU quickly made it a 7-0 game on a 10 yard touchdown pass.
Southwestern caught their first break on the following possession. Setting up to punt, the ball hit a gunner on ETBU and freshman Ben Brockman jumped on it to give SU possession at the ETBU 27. Freshman Elijah Smithrushed it down to the eight yard line where the drive eventually stalled. Sophomore Phillip Keys put a 22 yard field goal through the uprights to make it a 7-3 game.
The rest of the quarter would be a defensive battle with neither team able to add points to the board. The Tigers had an 11 play drive that got all the way down to the SU 6 yard line. The Pirates got a key turnover on downs, stopping ETBU on 4th and 1 to keep the score at bay.
In the second quarter, Southwestern put together a big drive, getting a big run from freshman David Brandenburg and a 20 yard pass from sophomore Chris Demny to junior Landry Bray. The Pirates got it down to the 1, but fumbled, give ETBU a big change of possession midway in the second quarter.
The high-powered ETBU offense finally hit on a big play late in the first half as a 66 yard touchdown pass from Dru Smith to Xavier Gray gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead.
The Pirates answered fast, going 65 yards in six plays including a 13 yard run from Smith and 20 yard pass from junior Frederick Hover to Bray to get into the redzone. On the next play, Hover found junior Zac Richards for a 15 yard score to cut it to 14-10 with 1:04 to go.
However, the Tigers looked at that as plenty of time as they marched down the field in seven plays, going 79 yards, and scoring to take a 21-10 lead into the break, carrying all of the momentum in a game-changing drive.
Despite getting into ETBU territory three times in the second half, Southwestern just could not find a way to get back into the game. A seven yard touchdown run by Terance Hargest early in the fourht put the game on ice as they went ahead 28-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Hover finished 14 of 23 for 154 yards and a touchdown pass, also adding 69 yards rushing on 17 carries. Smith carried 10 times for 60 yards while Brandenburg had 28 yards on six carries. Bray led all receivers with 78 yards on six catches while Brandenburg hauled in seven passes for 63 yards.
Smith went 26 of 42 on the evening with 333 yards passing and three touchdown throws. Gray led all receivers with four catches on 133 yards and two scores while Jaquavian Dabbs had eight catches for 86 yards.
Defensively, sophomore Josiah Minnifield had 10 tackles and two pass breakups while senior Joshua Scoggin added nine tackles and sophomore Christopher Crawford had eight tackles and two tackles for loss. Sophomore Hayden Smith, junior Sir Spencer Majors, and Brockman all had six tackles and a tackle for loss while Smith had an interception.
For ETBU, Caleb Taylor had a monster game with 17 tackles, three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles while Ty Parsons added 13 tackles.
Southwestern moves to 1-2 on the season and 1-1 in the ASC. They will hit the road next weekend as they head to Pineville, La. for an ASC matchup against Louisiana College. Kickoff is set for 1 PM from Wildcast Field.