SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College football team had two critical third quarter turnovers, and visiting Southwestern University took advantage en route to handing the 'Roos a 35-28 loss on Saturday afternoon at Jerry E. Apple Stadium. The 'Roos are now 3-2 overall this season with the defeat.
Southwestern started out strong with a 12 play, 70 yard drive culminating in a six yard touchdown run by Markell Henderson with 10:49 left in the first quarter, but Austin College scored 14 straight to grab the lead after one quarter of action. The first touchdown of the day came on a 60 yard strike from Cooper Woodyard to Kevin Ray, as the 'Roos covered 69 yards in just two plays to square things up midway through the opening quarter.
Austin College got an interception from Delmas Hoye on the ensuing Southwestern drive, and four carries and 34 yards for Madison Ross ended with a 10 yard jaunt for the senior running back to make it a 14-7 game with 3:37 left in the first quarter. Southwestern would respond with 14 unanswered of their own, as Nik Kelly returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to knot things up, and on the next Pirate possession, Bryan Hicks found Matt Gillen for a 26 yard touchdown to give Southwestern a 21-14 lead with 8:47 left in the opening half.
The lead wouldn't last long, as Woodyard connected with Shawn Slowinski for a 73 yard touchdown less than a minute later to tie things up again and the teams would head into the break square at 21-21.
The third quarter proved to be the turning point in the game as Southwestern clamped down defensively, with the Pirates recovering a Woodyard fumble when the Austin College quarterback was sacked inside his own 10. Three plays later Hicks found Kenneth Wynn for a five yard touchdown pass to make it 28-21 with 5:39 left in the quarter. The Pirates would again get to Woodyard inside his own 10 for another sack fumble, only this time linebacker Zach Cole would scoop it up and return it six yards for a touchdown to make it a 35-21 game heading into the fourth.
After being held to just 27 yards with three turnovers in the third quarter, Austin College finally started to get back on track in the fourth but it proved to be too late despite a one yard touchdown plunge from Ross to make it a 35-28 game with 3:39 left to play. The score came at the end of an eight play drive that covered 84 yards and included a pair of completions from Woodyard to Brennan Ellis covering a total of 58 yards. Southwestern picked up a pair of first downs on the ensuing possession and was able to run out the clock and head out with the victory.
Woodyard finished the game completing 17-of-36 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, adding 35 rushing yards on 13 carries. Ross rushed for 66 yards on 19 carries, scoring twice and adding 11 receiving yards. Ray finished with 86 yards on five catches. Charles Eneh led the 'Roos defensively with 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss with a forced fumble.
Hicks completed 22-of-29 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, and Dylan Wilburn paced the Southwestern ground game with 64 yards on 17 carries. Micah Sherman had 50 yards on seven catches, while Gillen finished with 64 yards on five catches and Wynn added five catches for 56 yards. Justin Broussard had nine tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss to lead the Pirates defensively.
Austin College is off next week, and will return to action on October 17 when the team heads to San Antonio to take on Trinity University.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.