A Share of the SCAC: TLU Bulldogs overcome miscues, drop Austin College for 36-24 road win

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TLU, the defending champions of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, improved to 8-1 overall and to 2-0 in league play.


The Bulldogs registered the university's 300th win in football. TLU also won for the 17th time in the last 19 games.


Austin College dropped to 5-4 overall and to 1-1 in the SCAC.


"We are proud of the victory, and again it was a complete team victory," said Danny Padron, TLU's fifth-year head coach. "We had to be able to rely on the defense, rely on the offense and rely on special teams."


"We didn't play our best ball game, but I think that is a tribute to Austin College and their coaches. They did a great job and got after our rear-ends. We didn't take care of the football, and it is a wonder we won. We turned the ball over four times, and you are not going to win many games like that."


TLU fumbled three times and threw an interception and watched the Kangaroos strike early with a pair of scores in the first 2:55 of the game.


Madison Ross rumbled 55 yards for a score at the 12:19 mark of the first quarter. TLU then fumbled on its very next play from scrimmage, giving AC the ball at the TLU 21.


One play later, Austin College senior quarterback Noah Jesko hit Cooper Woodyard for a 21-yard touchdown.


The Bulldogs did not get on the board until the 2:32 mark of the first quarter, with a 12-yard White run. The touchdown capped an eight-play, 64-yard drive.


Neither team scored in the second quarter until TLU's Tyler Brandenburg hit a career-long 51-yard field goal as the horn sounded to end the half.


The Bulldogs took momentum into the half and came out for the start of the second half with a stop on defense and a six-play TD drive on offense. White finished off the drive with a 14-yard strike to freshman J.B. Brown.


After AC re-took the lead on a Javi Reynoso 21-yard field goal, White and the Bulldogs put together a five-play, 54-yard scoring drive that ended with a 36-yard pass to Caleb Oliver. The touchdown gave Oliver six consecutive games with at least one touchdown catch.


Oliver and White hooked up again midway through the fourth quarter on a nine-yard touchdown. Oliver finished the day with seven catches for 98 yards.


Oliver added a key third-down reception in the fourth quarter with TLU clinging to a 29-24 lead with 2:46 to play. White found Oliver for 19 yards on 3rd-and-6. The completion took the Bulldogs to the Austin College 47.


Four plays later, with the Bulldogs needing one more first down to run out the clock, White took a quarterback keeper to the right side, found the edge and scampered 27 yards for the clinching score.


"He is a difference maker," Padron said of White. "Again, they elect to stack the box. He has to make decisions. He did a great job. We were just trying to improvise on that last touchdown and have him keep the ball and run out the time. But he got outside of containment and then scored. That is a tribute to him. He is an athlete, a great player."


On a day when the offense turned the ball over four times, the TLU defense made plays in the fourth quarter that kept the team in front. After a Bulldog fumble at the TLU 21 in the fourth quarter, the TLU "D" forced a rush of zero yards on first down, a pass completion of minus 11 yards on second down, and a sack of 11 yards on third down.


Those three plays forced AC out of field goal range and into a punting situation. AC punted into the TLU endzone for a touchback.


Thirteen plays and 80 yards later, White connected with Oliver to cap a drive that took 4:52 off the clock and extended the Bulldogs' lead to 29-17.


TLU converted on third down twice on that drive. On 3rd-and-4 from the TLU 26, White hit Oliver for nine yards. On 3rd-and-4 from the AC 45, A.J. Saucedo broke loose for 23 yards to the AC 23.


White ended his day with 20 completions in 35 attempts for 237 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a career-high 94 yards on 12 carries.


The Bulldogs rushed for 297 yards and threw for 237, out-gaining AC in total offense 534 to 398.


Marquis Barrolle, DIII's second-leading rusher, produced 105 yards on 17 carries, with a long of 43. Saucedo added 98 yards on 16 carries, with a long of 23.


TLU, ranked 22nd in the latest AFCA Coaches' Poll, returns to Bulldog Stadium for next Saturday's 1 p.m. kickoff against SCAC opponent Southwestern. The Bulldogs can clinch the outright SCAC Championship with a win over the Pirates.


TLU, fifth in the first NCAA DIII South Region ranking, needs another win to put itself into a favorable position for an at-large bid to the NCAA DIII playoffs. The Bulldogs have never advanced to the NCAA playoffs in football.

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