ALPINE, Texas – The Southwestern University Pirates football team scored 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back, defeating the Sul Ross State Lobos 55-7.
Pirates defensive back Kalon Heim set the tone early on special teams, scooping up the opening kickoff off the second bounce, finding the seam, and exploding down the field for an electrifying 78-yard return before being pushed out of bounds.
Two plays later, quarterback Frederick Hover took a snap out of the shotgun, feinted at a draw to bring the linebackers in towards the line of scrimmage, then found AJ Daniels wide open for a 22-yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the game.
Hover finished the game passing 14-for-22 for 224 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He also carried the ball 18 times for 45 yards and a touchdown.
"I told Fred during the week, these last five games he's got to be our best player," Head Coach Joe Austin said after the game. "And if he's our best player, we're going to do well. He distributed the ball well, ran the ball well, and made great decisions."
Southwestern's Ta'Von Gwynn had a season-high 85 yards receiving with two touchdowns on a night Pirates' quarterbacks targeted eight different receivers with two others recording at least three receptions.
The Pirates also controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, rushing for 225 yards led by Heim's 148 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns, and holding Sul Ross to negative 10 yards rushing.
"It's the most consistent part of our football team, it's what we're really good at. We commit a lot of guys to it, so we better be good at it," Austin said. "We make sure we take care of that to try and make teams one-dimensional."
Defensive backs Hayden Smith and Aaron Robinson flew to the ball, with Smith recording a team-high four solo tackles and seven total and Robinson a team-high eight total tackles and one interception. Smith was able to get into Sul Ross' backfield, pushing the Lobos back 21 yards in tackles for losses, recording one of the Pirates' three sacks.
Southwestern boasted a 31-13 advantage in first downs, consistently moving the ball down the field and torching the Lobos for over 300 yards of offense in the first half, taking a 42-0 lead into the break.
With the win, the Pirates improved to 3-3 on the season and 2-3 in conference. They'll return home next week for a game against Belhaven on Sat. Oct. 13 at 1:00 p.m.