Ground Game Propels Austin College Past SAGU
The Austin College football team picked up its second straight home victory with a 27-17 win over Southwestern Assemblies of God on Saturday afternoon, with both Bryce Murphy and James Nwankpah eclipsing 100 yards to lead a potent rushing attack. The 'Roos are now 2-5 overall this season with the victory.
A pair of turnovers helped keep the 'Roos off the board early on, with fumbles on their first two possessions including one at the SAGU goal line to keep the game scoreless through most of the first half. However, Austin College managed to score 14 points in a span of just nine seconds with under a minute left before halftime to take a two touchdown lead heading into the break.
On the first score, Nwankpah plunged in from a yard out to cap off a 15 play, 75 yard drive with 52 seconds left, and on the ensuing kickoff the Lions botched the return and the 'Roos pounced on the loose ball, and on the very next play Noah Jesko found Kyle Crawford for an 18 yard touchdown with 43 seconds on the clock.
The Lions got on the board midway through the third quarter with a 35 yard field goal from James Gish to make it 14-3, but Austin College marched 86 yards in nine plays later in the quarter ending with a six yard touchdown run from Nwankpah. After a blocked extra point the 'Roos led 20-3 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
Southwestern Assemblies pulled within 10 points after a 10 play, 50 yard drive that was kept alive when Dylan Moore caught a deflected pass 20 yards downfield on third and 18, and Reid Golson found Josh Goodwin from 14 yards out to make it 20-10 with 8:50 left to play.
It did not take long for Austin College to strike again, however, as Jesko twice found Crawford for 21 yard connections on third down and Murphy rushed in from eight yards out to make it 27-10 with 4:22 on the clock. On the ensuing SAGU possession, the Lions faced fourth and 19 from the Austin College 48 when Golson somehow managed to connect with Goodwin for a 43 yard Hail Mary to the five yard line, and three plays later Golson found Goodwin again, this time from three yards out, for the touchdown to make it 27-17 with 1:42 to play.
However, the onside kick attempt by the Lions would fail as the 'Roos held on for the victory, with the Lions getting the ball back one more time with less than 20 seconds to play but a Scott Loy interception icing the win for Austin College.
Murphy carried 22 times to gain 122 yards and Nwankpah had 24 carries to finish with 102 in the game, and Jesko finished the game completing 11-of-16 passes for 158 yards. Crawford had five catches for 84 yards to lead the Austin College receivers, and Logan Estes made 10 tackles and had five pass breakups from his cornerback spot to lead the 'Roos defensively. De'Andre Holmes and Brooks Ward each made seven tackles for Austin College.
Golson completed 20-of-39 passes for 212 yards with two touchdowns and a pick and also rushed 15 times for 78 yards, and Goodwin finished with 71 yards on four catches with a pair of scores. Rodney Johnson led the Lions with 11 tackles.
Next week the 'Roos will be looking to earn their third win in four weeks when they host Hendrix College on Homecoming Weekend in Sherman with kickoff set for 1:00 p.m.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
About Austin College
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges That Change Lives.