PINEVILLE, La. - Sophomore Luke Fierst connected on a 36 yard field goal with 42 seconds to give the Southwestern University football team an exciting 37-34 win over Louisiana College on Saturday afternoon at Wildcat Field.
The win puts Southwestern at 2-2 and 2-1 in the ASC. It was SU's first road win in the ASC in the first meeting between the two programs.
The Pirates were unbelievable offensively, racking up 607 yards including 329 on the ground and 278 through the air. The Wildcats racked up 501 yards of offense with 381 coming through the air. However, Southwestern was able to force three turnovers on the day.
After exchanging punts on the first drive, the Pirates went 94 yards in six plays as sophomore Chris Demny broke open a 37 yard run to paydirt for the early 7-0 lead.
The SU defense forced another Wildcat punt and the Pirates offense went right back to work, this time going 83 yards in four plays capped off by a 54 yard touchdown pass from junior Frederick Hover to junior AJ Daniels to increase the lead to 14-0.
Southwestern got the ball back late in the quarter off an interception from senior DeeJay Johnson and marched into LC territory, but a fumble gave the Wildcats the ball back and two plays later, they struck for their first touchdown of the game from 54 yards out to make it a 14-7 game.
The Pirates took the ball back going into the second quarter, moving 74 yards in six plays. Hover had a 45 yard run deep into Louisiana College territory and freshman David Brandenburg rushed in from 11 yards out to make it a 21-7 game.
From there, both defenses took on a classic "bend, but don't break" approach as most of the quarter saw the score remain 21-7. Late in the first half, SU went 56 yards in seven plays and got a field goal from 20 yards out from Fierst to make it a 24-7 game with just 48 seconds to play.
However, Louisiana College responded with a 43 yard field goal at the buzzer to go into the break at 24-10.
The third quarter was all Wildcats as they roared back to tie the game at 24, and even took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter to move ahead 27-24.
Louisiana College looked to added more early in the fourth quarter, but senior Nik Kelly jumped intercepted a deep pass and gave the Pirates great field position around midfield.
The Pirates went 57 yards 11 plays as Fierst connected on his second field goal of the day to tie the game at 27. On the ensuing kickoff, the Pirates forced a fumble on the return and took over in LC territory.
Hover only needed one play as he fired a 26 yard touchdown score to junior Landry Bray to move back ahead 34-27. However, Louisiana College responded with a 60 yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes to play to tie it again, this time at 34.
Southwestern used a heavy run attack to go 50 yards in 10 plays and set up the 36 yard go-ahead field goal from Fierst with 42 seconds to play. The SU defense held strong and prevented the Wildcats getting anymore points as they picked up the 37-34 victory.
Hover went 15 of 28 on the day for 278 yards and two scores while also rushing for 87 yards on 17 carries. Freshman Elijah Smith rushed for 100 yards on 20 carried while sophomore Devin Shaw rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries. Demny added 47 yards rushing on three carries and a touchdown.
Bray had a huge day receiving, catching three balls for 116 yards and a score while Daniles caught five for 93 yards and a score. Southwestern absolutely dominated time of possesion, 40:25-19:35.
Defensively, Sophomore Christopher Crawford and freshman Rosario Hernandez, Jr. each had six tackles while Crawford adding a half a tackle for loss. Freshman Ben Brockman had six tackles as well to go with a tackle for loss. Kelly and Johnson each had interceptions while sophomore Josiah Minnifield and senior Joshua Scoggin each had five tackles.
Southwestern will return home next Saturday night as they prepare to welcome in the No. 1 team in the nation in Mary Hardin-Baylor. Kickoff is set for 6 PM from Birkelbach Field at Georgetown ISD.