SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College football piled up 605 yards of total offense and pulled away in the fourth quarter to win a 55-41 shootout over visiting Hendrix College to open up the 2015 campaign on Saturday afternoon. The 55 points are the most the 'Roos have scored since putting 58 on the board against Sul Ross in 1998.
Both teams came out hot offensively early, with Madison Ross plunging in from a yard out to get the 'Roos on the board with 11:53 left in the first before Hendrix countered with an 18 yard touchdown pass from Seth Peters to Nate Hodapp two minutes later. Cooper Woodyard put the 'Roos ahead 14-7 after the first quarter with a three yard touchdown run, his first of two rushing touchdowns on the day to go along with a pair of passing scores.
Things started getting wild in the second quarter, as the two teams combined to score 56 points in that 15-minute span. Kyle Crawford hauled in a seven yard touchdown pass from Woodyard to get things going, but Peters answered back with his second throwing touchdown to make it a 21-14 game. On the ensuing possession for the 'Roos, Madison Ross took a screen pass from Woodyard, and after reversing fields took it 68 yards to the house to make it a 28-14 game with 12:06 left before halftime.
Hendrix responded with a 56 yard touchdown pass from Peters to Hodapp just over a minute later, but once again Austin College had an answer with a five yard touchdown from Ross to make it 35-21 with 7:13 left in the second. A 13 yard touchdown run by Mike Goodrich cut it to a 35-28 game two minutes later, and after Hendrix got the ball back following a punt, Peters tossed his fourth touchdown of the half, this time finding Caleb Brake from 20 yards out to square things up with 1:36 left before the break.
It looked like that's how things would end in the first half, but after a 22 yard gain from Madison Ross and a 12 yard completion to Crawford, Woodyard rushed 45 yards for a touchdown to make it a 42-35 game heading into halftime.
The second half was a much different story, as both defenses began making plays to keep things tight. Both defenses picked off passes, including a Delmas Hoye pick at the goal line to keep the Warriors from knotting things up. The 'Roos also forced a fumble, this time deep in Hendrix territory, but were unable to get any points out of the turnover as neither team scored in the third quarter.
Peters rushed for a six yard touchdown to open up the fourth quarter, but the point after attempt went wide right to keep Austin College on top 42-41. That'd be the last points scored for the Warriors, while Ross added one more touchdown from a yard out to put Austin College ahead 49-41 with 6:33 left, and a pair of 43-yard field goals by Javi Reynoso iced the game for the 'Roos.
Ross carried 36 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns, adding 68 yards and a score through the air. Woodyard, making his first collegiate start at quarterback after switching from wide receiver, completed 15-of-30 passes for 311 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and added 86 rushing yards on 13 carries with two more touchdowns. Crawford finished with 81 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Brooks Ward paced the defense with 13 tackles and Charles Eneh had 10 stops, while Darlon Chandler had a fumble recovery and an interception.
Peters completed 28-of-50 attempts for 378 yards with four touchdowns and three picks and also rushed for 17 yards and a score, and Dayton Winn carried 19 times for 118 yards. Hodapp finished with 105 yards on six catches with two touchdowns, and Caleb Shannon had 12 tackles to lead the Warriors defensively.
Austin College is home again next week as the 'Roos host Southwestern Assemblies of God University with kickoff set for 1:00 p.m. in Jerry Apple Stadium.