SEGUIN, Texas - The Southwestern University football team used a huge second half and a pair of big turnovers that turned into points to roll past the Texas Lutheran in their season finale, 51-33, and finish third in the American Southwest Conference.
It was an impressive day for the SU offense, racking up 501 yards of total offense including 302 through the air. Texas Lutheran had a nice offensive day themselves, going for 586 total yards, but the Pirates were able to force five turnovers in the win.
After both teams exchaged punts, the Pirates took over from their own 39 and got a 25 yard burst from junior Markell Henderson followed by an 11 yard run from freshman David Brandenburg to set up a Frederick Hover touchdown pass to freshman Jaxon Borowski from 25 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
After exchanging possessions, the TLU offense moved it deep into Southwestern territory, but a strip sack by junior Sir Spencer Majors halted the drive and gave SU the ball back. On TLU's next possession, they again moved into Pirates territory but this time sophomore Josiah Minnifield picked off a pass in the endzone to keep the score at 7-0 at the end of the quarter.
Southwestern took advantage, going 80 yards in six plays thanks in part to a 48 yard run by Hover and a 15 yard completion from Hover to junior AJ Daniels. Hover rushed in from one yard out and gave Southwestern a 13-0 lead.
Texas Lutheran had a response this time, going 66 yards in three plays as Zach Galindo connected with Reggie Jackson from 14 yards out to make it 13-7. The Pirates would fumble the ensuing kickoff and Galindo capped a four play drive with a one yard plunge to suddenly take the lead at 14-13.
The Pirates again fumbled the ensuing kickoff and TLU looked to increase their lead. However, this time the Southwestern defense had an answer as sophomore Garrett Womack came off the edge and blindsided Galindo, forcing the ball lose and finding the hands of freshman Yusuf Sham, who rumbled 68 yards to paydirt and put the Pirates back on top 20-14.
Texas Lutheran got two Tyler Hopkins field goals to even the score at 20 going into the break.
The Bulldogs moved deep in Southwestern territory to start the second half, but Hopkins missed the field goal wide. The Pirates only needed one play as Hover found junior Landry Bray in stride for an 80 yard score to shift the momentum and take a 27-20 lead.
A three-and-out got the Pirates the ball back and a 56 yard completion from Hover to Henderson set up SU deep in TLU territory. It would set up a 25-yard field goal from sophomore Luke Fierst to make it a 30-20 game.
Texas Lutheran cut the deficit to three on a touchdown pass from Galindo to Jekovan Holmes from 26 yards out, but Southwestern continued to use the deep ball on their next drive and Hover again found Bray, this time for 45 yards to set up a five yard touchdown run by Hover and a 37-27 lead.
On the next drive, Galindo was picked off for the second time by senior Nik Kelly at midfield. As the game moved into the fourth quarter, Hover threw his third touchdown of the game, finshing Henderson for a 17 yard score and a 44-27 lead.
TLU moved it inside the Southwestern 20, but the Pirate defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs. When the Bulldogs regained possession, Southwestern closed the book on this game for good as freshman Donovan Conley stepped in front of a screen pass and dashed 15 yards into the endzone to make it 51-27.
A late TLU touchdown was a non-factor as the Pirates pulled out an impressive victory, 51-33, in the final game of the year.
Hover was outstanding, going 10 of 16 for 302 yards and three scores as well as 30 carries for 121 yards and two scores. Henderson added three carries for 42 yards. Bray caught three balls for 130 yards and a score while Henderson caught a pair of passes for 73 yards and a score. Daniel and Borowski each had a pair of catches while Kelly also had a catch for 36 yards.
Galindo was 39 of 59 for 449 yards, three scores, and two interceptions. Ian Leslie added 13 carries for 63 yards while Jackson caught 11 for 125 and a touchdown and Holmes added seven catches for 110 yards and two scores.
Defensively, freshman Ben Brockman had 14 tackles and a sack while sophomore Christopher Crawford had 10 tackles. Senior Joshua Scoggin had nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while senior Preston Bass had eight tackles and a pass breakup. Senior DeeJay Johnson had seven tackles and three pass breakups while Kelly had seven, two tackles for loss, and the interception.
For TLU, they were led by James Bell with nine tackles. The SU offense had no turnover on the day as both Pirate turnovers came on special teams.
Southwestern concludes the season at 6-4 including a 6-3 record in the tough ASC. The Pirates finish behind two top teams in the nation in No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor, who won the conference this afternoon, and No. 5 Hardin-Simmons, who is a sure bet as an at-large bid to the NCAA Playoffs.