Hardin-Simmons 27, Whitworth 7

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SPOKANE, Wash. — While Hardin-Simmons' highly-touted offense was good, it was the visiting Cowboys' defense that made the difference in a 27-7 win over Whitworth on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Pine Bowl. It was the season opener for both schools.

HSU, ranked 15th in the preseason poll, got what it needed from All-American QB Justin Feaster and All-American WR ZaVious Robbins. Feaster completed 18 of 23 passes for 236 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for two scores. Robbins caught 10 passes for 134 yards. The pair helped the balanced HSU offense finish with 436 yards - with 200 of those coming on the ground.

But outstanding defensive end Hank Hornsby led the Cowboy defense with six tackles, including two key first half sacks. HSU limited Whitworth to 225 yards of total offense.

Whitworth's Adam Anderson passed his first test back from an ankle injury that ended his 2009 season. He ran for 97 yards and one touchdown and caught five passes for 40 more yards.

HSU got on the board first when Feaster ran in from seven yards out to complete a 64-yard drive with 3:13 left in the second quarter.

Feaster's one-yard sneak with 1:51 left in the half put HSU ahead 14-0. It looked like the Cowboys might add a third score before halftime, but Whitworth's Robert Schaefer intercepted Feaster at the goal line with four seconds to play in the period.

The Pirates tried to turn the tide by converting an on-sides kick to start the second half. But after the Bucs gained one first down HSU held on downs when Roy Gamboa knocked away a pass intended for Zack Clow on fourth and two.

After Jeff Erlenmeyer forced an HSU fumble Whitworth gambled again on its next possession when Adam Anderson was stopped for no gain while running on a fake punt at the Whitworth 29 yard line. The Cowboys scored three plays later when Feaster connected on a nine-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Labian from nine yards out. The extra point was blocked and the lead was 20-7.

Devon Lind returned a short kickoff 22 yards, setting up Whitworth's most productive drive of the day. The Pirates went 60 yards in nine plays, scoring on Anderson's 10-yard run.

Whitworth stopped HSU and looked like it might get back into the game early in the fourth quarter. But the Cowboy defense came up big again when L.C. Cisneroz returned an interception up the Pirates' sideline 47 yards for a touchdown.

Steven Rockwell ran for 92 yards on 17 carries, while Derrick Grant added 73 yards on 12 attempts to lead a balanced HSU ground attack.

For Whitworth, Taylor Eglet completed 14 of 21 passes for 113 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Anthany Lessier spelled Anderson in the backfield and finished with 28 yards on nine carries. Anderson was also Whitworth's leading receiver with Connor Haley adding four catches for 19 yards and Clow catching two passes for 25 yards.

Paul Werhane led the Whitworth defense with 12 total tackles. Schaefer finished with nine stops, in addition to his interception. The Pirates did not sack Feaster.

Whitworth will hit the road next Saturday for the first of two straight trips to California. The Pirates will take on Pomona-Pitzer at noon.

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