SEGUIN, Texas - The Victory Bell rang out across the Texas Lutheran campus for the start of the 2011 football season as the Bulldogs held off Austin College Saturday at Seguin's Matador Stadium.
TLU junior quarterback Mitchell Bunger (McAllen/Memorial) rushed for 117 yards and threw for two scores in the win.
TLU won its season-opener for the first time since Sept. 1, 2007. It was the second straight season that TLU won its home-opener, making second-year Head Coach Danny Padron 2-0 in that regard.
"You never are satisfied with the way you play, but we are excited about the victory," said Padron. "We are 1-0. You have to celebrate that, and that is important. We rang that bell. We know we have a lot of room for improvement, and we knew that coming into the game."
The Bulldogs (1-0) received two rushing TDs from redshirt freshman transfer Patrick Johnson (Spring/Klein/Stephen F. Austin) and scoring grabs from Ryan Jones (Baton Rouge, La./Katy (Texas)/Riverside Community College), and Cameron Peavy (Houston/St. Pius X).
Austin College (0-1) battled back from 17-6 and 31-21 deficits in the second half but never had the lead against the Bulldogs. TLU led 10-6 at the half.
Senior quarterback Travis Zambiasi threw for three scores for Austin College. Jordan Schell, Gregory Millerick, and Braydon MaQuar each recorded a receiving TD. Schell had seven catches for 93 yards.
TLU rushed 55 times for 302 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Bunger carried the ball 18 times. Johnson and Dominique Hardaway (Lockhart/Lockhart) each rushed 13 times. Johnson had 59 yards, and Hardaway collected 54 yards.
Lewis Williams II led TLU in receiving with six grabs for 54 yards. Peavy added five grabs for 30 with the TD.
TLU place-kicker Allen Cain (San Antonio/Stevens) made a 52-yard field goal in the first quarter. The TLU school record is 53 yards, set by Jose Zarate against Cameron (Okla.) in 1986.
Freshman safety Travis Bell (Cypress/Cypress Fairbanks) led all TLU tacklers with 14 total stops. He had eight solo tackles and six tackle assists. He also recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Kyle McNally (Cocoa Beach, Flor./Randolph (Texas)) added nine tackles.
Freshman defensive end James Fowler III (San Antonio/Churchill) posted the Bulldogs lone sack of the night.
The TLU defense recovered two fumbles and had five tackles for loss. Austin College averaged only three yards per rush and ended the night with 95 net yards rushing.
TLU out-gained AC 445 to 323 and out-rushed the Kangaroos by 183 yards (278 to 95).
The Bulldogs fumbled the ball three times and lost one. The Kangaroos fumbled three times and lost two. TLU tossed the lone interception of the night.
TLU hits the road next Saturday for a 6 p.m. kickoff in San Antonio against Trinity.
TLU will have live radio and video webcasts from E.M. Stevens Stadium. KWED 1580 AM will provide the audio call. Pre-game coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. Links to all broadcast can be found at www.tlubulldogs.com.