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Defense Stands Strong Late, Fierst Kicks Pirates Past Sul Ross

Defense Stands Strong Late, Fierst Kicks Pirates Past Sul Ross

GEORGETOWN - The Southwestern University football team stuffed Sul Ross State on fourth-and-one to force a turnover on downs with 2:10 to play while sophomore Luke Fierst kicked his second game-winning field goal of the season, this time as time expired, to give the Pirates a 29-27 win over the Lobos.

The Pirates racked up 325 yards on Saturday night while holding Sul Ross to 277 yards. The Pirates racked up 237 yards on the ground and were 6 of 14 on third downs. 

Southwestern came out and dominated the first half as they began the game with a 14 play, 56 yard drive, taking 7:17 off the clock and leading to a 36-yard Fierst field goal for a 3-0 lead.

On the Lobo's second offensive play, quarterback James Davis was picked off by sophomore Chris Crawford, rumbling down to the Sul Ross 37. Junior Frederick Hover connected with junior Landry Bray for a 20 yard gain to get inside the five. One play later, Hover bulldozed it in from a yard out to go ahead 10-0.

The Pirate D got another stop, but Sul Ross got a big play from their defense, forcing a fumble around midfield as Job Mason picked it up and ran 53 yard to the house to cut the deficit to 10-7.

Sul Ross got the ball back early in the second quarter, but the Pirates defense continued to domiante, allowing no first downs in the first three drives. The Lobos went back to punt and it was blocked by freshman Clay Anthony as the ball went flying out of the endzone for a safety.

Southwestern got the ball back and went 44 yards down the field in eight plays capped by a two yard rushing score from Hover to increase the lead out to 19-7. The Pirates rode the backs of their defense, who only allowed 44 total yards in the first half, to take the 19-7 lead into the break.

The Pirates got a three-and-out to start the second half and Hover used his legs to get deep into Lobo territory. He would score his third rushing touchdown of the game from seven yards out to increase teh lead to 26-7.

In a game that looked to be in total control by the Pirates, Sul Ross got a spark on a big 50 yard kick return from Jerome Stevens. Four plays later, Jordan Batson found a crease and rushed 37 yards to paydirt to cut the deficit to 26-14.

Southwestern went three-and-out and the Lobos went to work again, using a nice punt return from Wesley Moss to get great field position. Davis completed a deep pass to Byron Jones for 38 yards to get inside the 10, but the defense stood tall and forced a 20 yard field goal from Eli Lopez to keep the lead at 26-17.

However, a Lobo interception and return to the 10 yard line gave the Lobos a short field to work with as one play later, Davis found Josh Lopez on a tight end throwback and suddenly, in the blink of an eye, the game stood at 26-24.

Southwestern looked as if they got the offense moving again, getting into Sul Ross territory, but another interception gave the Lobos the ball back at their own one.

Moving into the fourth quarter, Sul Ross went 91 yards in 12 plays, eating up 5:12 of clock to take their first lead of the game on a 25 yard Lopez field goal.

Southwestern started with good field position and moved into Sul Ross territory, but a bad snap resulted in a loss of 17 yards, all the way back to midfield, and forced the Pirates to punt. 

With 7:45 remaining, the Lobos looked to eat clock, mixing a solid running attack with pass completions to eat up over five minutes of clock and move to the SU 44 with 2:14 remianing. Facing fourth down and a yard to go, the Lobos elected to go for it as a first down would end the game. Batson was stuffed and dropped for a three yard loss and freshman Lawson Pyles dragged the running back down for the huge turnover on downs.

Hover got it into Sul Ross territory and a face mask penalty moved the ball to the 25. Freshman Kalon Heim busted open a 17 yard run deep into Sul Ross territory as Southwestern managed the clock, getting all the way down to the one and calling a timeout with three seconds to play.

Fierst, calm and cool, was asked if the Pirates wanted to take a penalty for five yards of cushion.

Fierst didn't need it. He wanted to go home now.

He connected on an 18 yard field goal at time expired to send the crowd at Birkelbach Field into a frenzy for the wild 29-27 win.

Hover finished 10 of 17 for 88 yards to go with 23 carries for 100 yards and three scores. Freshman Elijah Smith added 14 carries for 57 yards while Heim carried five time for 43 yards. Bray caught four balls for 58 yards while freshman David Brandenburg hauled in four catches as well for 22 yards.

For Sul Ross, Davis was 12 of 26 for 190 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Batson carried 13 times for 58 yards while Darrell White led all receivers with three catches for 64 yards.

Defensively, senior Preston Bass along with Pyles each had nine tackles while Pyles added 1.5 tackles for loss and two QB hurries. Crawford had seven tackles with an interception and tackle for loss while senior Joshua Scoggin had four tackles and three QB hurries. Seniors Nik Kelly and DeeJay Johnson each had two pass breakups.

Jacques Wisner led the Sul Ross defense with 11 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Mason had an interception and fumble recovery while Jakorey Richard also had an interception.

Southwestern moves to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in ASC play. They will prepare to head to Jackson, MS next weekend as they prepare to do battle with the Belhaven Blazers. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM from Belhaven Bowl Stadium.