BROWNWOOD, Texas – The Southwestern University Pirates football team hit Howard Payne with one big play after another, scoring 20 points in the first quarter and winning 54-17.
After Howard Payne connected on a 32-yard field goal on its second possession to take a 3-0 lead, Southwestern answered with two touchdowns scored within a span of 13 seconds, following Frederick Hover's three-yard touchdown run with a Jackson Reese interception to setup an 86-yeard touchdown from Markelle Henderson.
On the Pirates' next possession, David Brandenburg broke free for a Southwestern University record 91-yard run to put Southwestern up 20-3. The Pirates' extra point was blocked.
Reece finished with two interceptions (his second and third of the season) and returns for a combined 25 yards with five tackles, including four solo tackles and Anfernee Stephens caught his first collegiate touchdown pass for 60 yards.
Frederick Hover directed a brutally efficient ground game that picked up 407 rushing yards, carrying the ball 21 times for 120 yards and four touchdowns. Jules Williams carried six times for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Hover also passed for two touchdowns and 221 yards.
"We didn't play great but our offense was able to create some big plays and overwhelm them schematically," Head Coach Joe Austin said. "The story tonight was the big plays. We have good young players, they're just young. The freshmen are doing a really good job and a couple of guys had a good night."
The Pirates continued their strong run defense, holding Howard Payne to 99 yards and forcing a fumble near the goal line recovered by Hayden Smith to setup Brandenburg's 91-yard run. They also forced five punts.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 5-4 on the season while Howard Payne falls to 1-8. Southwestern will finish its season at home against Texas Lutheran University on Saturday, No. 10 at 1 p.m.