GEORGETOWN, Texas — The Southwestern University Pirates football team unleashed the full range of its depth on the Louisiana College Wildcats, beginning conference play with a 50-3 victory in the Pirates' home opener.
Playing without starting quarterback Austin Emery, who was an injury scratch late in the week, the Pirates turned their attack into a committee approach, distributing carries with three players receiving at least 10 touches and six racking up at least 20 yards on the ground.
"Our depth is essential to our game plan. We like to run a lot," Elijah Smith said after carrying the ball 12 times for 38 yards and a touchdown. "We have so many running backs, we're able to spread the ball around, get everyone touches and stay fresh."
The Pirate defense kept Louisiana College at bay early, producing back-to-back Wildcat three-and-out possessions to open the game while the offense found its footing under the direction of sophomore quarterback Coleman Kerr, making his first career start.
Southwestern found its spark on an early third-and-five with a little misdirection, sending Kerr rolling out to his right while tight end Joey Robinson leaked out to the left flat for a pass on a 33-yard play. Smith followed with a nine-yard run to put the Pirates on the board.
The offense continued to trickle early, picking up a 20-yard field goal from Wil Herbst early in the second quarter. Louisiana College responded with a seven-play, 58-yard drive but missed the 32-yard field goal attempt wide left.
It was all the Pirates needed to seize momentum and open the floodgates with big plays from the offense, defense, and special teams.
On his second carry of the game, first year quarterback Landry Gilpin faked an option to his right and cutback to his left, breaking free up the middle for a 43-yard run. Three plays later, Gilpin broke free once more in an almost mirror image run, going left to right for a 29-yard touchdown to put the Pirates up 17-0.
Louisiana College fumbled the ensuing kickoff, with Christopher Crawford recovering on the Wildcat 29. Senior David Brandenburg followed with a 14-yard run on a reverse, hitting a Wildcat defensive back with a nasty juke, sending his opponent to the ground on a 14-yard run. Several plays later, Gilpin punched the ball in from the two-yard line to give the Pirates a 23-0 lead with Southwestern fumbling the snap on the extra point.
The defense held strong on the next Louisiana College possession, forcing a three-and-out with Ben Brockman exploding from the right side to block the fourth down punt. Kerr, back under center at quarterback, found wide receiver Anfernee Stephens wide open in the end zone on the next Pirate play to give Southwestern a 31-0 lead after Herbst's extra point.
Louisiana College finally got on the board with a 28-yard Wade Simmons field goal but the Pirates closed the quarter with a 66-yard pick six on an interception return by Rosario Hernandez, Jr. to give Southwestern a 37-3 lead at the half.
The Pirates took to the air on the first play of the third quarter with Kerr finding Brandenburg on a play action pass rolling out to his right for a 57-yard touchdown of Brandenburg's own design.
"David actually drew it up at halftime," Head Coach Joe Austin said. "He's smart and knew exactly how they were playing him, so he said, 'coach, we should run this play.'"
Southwestern kept the ball on the ground for much of the second half, picking up another touchdown near the end of the third quarter on a two-yard run from Kerr for the 50-3 score.
Southwestern's two young quarterbacks offered contrasting styles with Kerr completing six of his nine passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns and Gilpin running for 91 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.
"We're recruiting quarterbacks who fit our system and they're talented," Austin said. "Coleman was our no. 2 all spring and Landry, we're giving him a few things at a time and building on what he can do every week."
Austin Castilleja added 42 yards on two carries with a long of 33 yards, Brandenburg had 30 rushing yards on five carries and 64 through the air with the one touchdown. Kalon Heim had 27 yards on six attempts.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in conference play while Louisiana drops to 1-2 on the year and 1-1 in conference play. The Pirates will hit the road next week to face Texas Lutheran University, who defeated East Texas Baptist tonight to improve to 1-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play.