12/13 Hardin-Simmons (7-0, 2-0 ASC) vs. 2/3 Mary Hardin-Baylor (7-0, 2-0 ASC)
1 p.m. | Oct. 31, 2015 | Shelton Stadium
Radio: 100.7 FM
Internet Broadcast: www.hsuathletics.com
Play-by-play: Al Pickett
Color Commentary: Travis Jones
Hardin-Simmons and Mary Hardin-Baylor have been playing since 1998 and every year the winner of the game has won at least a share of the American Southwest Conference title. The teams both come into the game nationally ranked and undefeated for the first time since 2005. HSU comes into the game riding its longest winning streak since 2004 at seven games. UMHB has won 51 straight regular season games.
On The Air
You can hear Saturday's game on 100.7 in Abilene and on the internet at www.hsuathletics.com. You can also listen on your mobile phone using the HSU Athletics app. Al Pickett will be in his 11th season in the Cowboys' play-by-play chair and 13th overall on the broadcast team. Travis Jones will handle the color commentary.
The Cowboys will hit the road to Marshall to play East Texas Baptist in the final road game of the season. The Tigers are currently one of the three unbeatens in league play at 2-0.
Last Time Out
The Cowboys rolled to a 63-7 win over Howard Payne on homecoming last Saturday. Jessie Ramos caught four touchdown passes and Kylon Mills and Reggie Davis returned interceptions for touchdowns as the Cowboys moved to 7-0 for the first time since 2004.
About Mary Hardin-Baylor
The Cru come into the game riding a 61-game regular-season winning streak and has won 39 straight American Southwest Conference games. The Cru has been its typical dominating self on the season outscoring opponents by an average of 53.3-12. The Cru has become a more balanced offense over the last two or three years and this season they are averaging 239 yards per game on the ground and 240.3 through the air. They allow just 263.1 yards per game.
Zach Anderson is the quarterback and he is completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,329 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wykeyhe Walker and Marcus Wimby are the big receiving threats. Walker has 24 catches for 416 yards and eight touchdowns. Wimby has 23 catches for 441 yards. The Cru has used a three-headed approach at running back with Malcolm Miller, Duane Thompson and Michael Carpenter. Anderson also has 226 yards rushing at quarterback.
The Cru has a suffocating defensive line. End Teidrick Smith has 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, Jon Isom has 15 tackles for loss and also 10 sacks and defensive tackle Haston Adams has 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. They have 43 sacks on the season. Pierce Thedford has 58 tackles to lead the team and Baylor Mullins has 40 tackles. The Cru has forced 21 turnovers, including 13 interceptions on the year.
The Cowboys led 14-10 at halftime, but a 28-0 run by the Cru in the third quarter opened up the game and UMHB held on for a 41-28 win. Wykeyhe Walker scored on an 86-yard pass on the opening play of the second half and Dana Taylor had a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown. HSU had 14 tackles for loss in the game and limited the Cru to 79 yards rushing in the contest.
In The Polls
The Cowboys are ranked No. 12 in this week's American Football Coaches Association poll and are No. 13 in the D3football.com poll. The Cru are ranked No. 2 by the AFCA and No. 3 by D3football.com.
An HSU Win Would
• push its winning streak to eight games.
• snap the Cru's 61-game regular season winning streak and 39-game ASC winning streak.
• break a 13-game losing skid to the Cru.
• give HSU its first win over a top 5 team since 2004, which is the last time HSU beat the Cru. In that game HSU was ranked No. 3 and UMHB No. 4.
Scoring In Different Ways
HSU has scored nine different times (seven TDs and two safeties) on non-offensive plays this season. Kylon Mills and Reggie Davis each had interception returns for touchdowns against Howard Payne. Cory Ward has an interception return for a TD as well. Jessie Ramos has a pair of punt returns for touchdowns, Alex Bell has returned a punt for a touchdown and Jeremy Harris has a blocked punt for a touchdown.
The Cowboys and Cru have both done a good job of starting fast this season. HSU has outscored its opponents 104-14 on the year in the first quarters and 219-28 in the first half. UMHB has outscored its opponents 74-3 in the first quarter and 212-27 in the first half.
Winning Third Down
The Cowboys have done a great job of winning third down this season. Opponents are converting just 30 percent of the time and the Cowboys have converted 36-of-82 third-down opportunities for a 44 percent conversion rate. HPU went just 3-of-17 on third-down last week. Teams are just 11-of-54 on the Cowboy defense in the first half this season.
Odd But True
The Cowboys have not had a field goal attempted on them this season...Opponents have converted just six times in the red zone this season on the Cowboy defense... Korey and Kyle Zavala are the first brothers to start the same game at HSU since the Galusha brothers (Rob and Will).
Big Legged Weapon
Nico Francino is known for his big leg and he has produced 26 touchbacks on 55 kickoffs this season. The next best team in touchbacks is UMHB with seven. He also leads the league and is third nationally with a 43.5 yard per punt average. He has also made a league-best 41 PATs.
Jessie Ramos has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season. He has caught 53 passes for 1,011 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is the first 1,000-yard receiver at HSU since ZaVious Robbins had 1,271 yards in 2010. Kirk Rogers' single-season record of 1,528 is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Freshman Reese Childress has proved to be a big play man for the Cowboys this season. He has 19 rushes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 13 receptions for 328 yards and five scores. In his 32 touches from scrimmage he is averaging 16.2 yards per touch and scoring on every 4.6 touches. He had the game-winning catch in the Texas Lutheran game.
The Cowboys had a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns last week. Kylon Mills went 34 yards for a TD. Mills leads the team with three interceptions on the season. Reggie Davis, playing in just his second game of the season after a preseason injury, returned his interception 67 yards for a touchdown against Howard Payne. Cory Ward also had a pick six earlier in the season giving HSU three defensive scores.
HSU and UMHB are the top two scoring offense and scoring defense teams in the ASC. UMHB allowed 12 points and scores 53.3 per game. HSU allows just 11.4 points and is scoring 46.7 per game. HSU leads the league in total offense and UMHB leads the conference in total defense. Both teams are also efficient when passing. HSU has completed 70.1 percent of tis passes for 2,205 yards and 23 TDs with just four interceptions. UMHB has completed 60 percent of its passes for 1,682 yards and 16 TDs with only six interceptions. The teams are at the top of the league in turnover margin. UMHB is +11 and HSU is +10.