SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College football team struggled to get things going offensively and Southwestern Assemblies of God gained 423 yards of total offense, as the Lions handed the 'Roos a 20-17 loss on Saturday afternoon at Jerry Apple Stadium. The 'Roos had a chance to tie the game late but Javi Reynoso's 47-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 10 seconds remaining. Austin College falls to 1-1 on the year.
After piling up 436 yards in the first half of the season opener against Hendrix last week, the 'Roos were stifled by a stout SAGU defense throughout the first half as the Lions limited Austin College to just 41 yards of offense heading into halftime. The 'Roos took advantage of five turnovers by the Lions, including two early muffed punts that were both recovered by Austin College, to keep things close throughout the game.
The Lions got on the board first when Ricky Bickham scored on an eight yard touchdown run, but a failed point after attempt kept it 6-0 with 1:03 left in the first quarter. Austin College got on the board early in the second quarter as defensive tackle Brett Vaughn picked off a pass and returned it 10-yards for a pick six to put the 'Roos ahead 7-6 with 12:50 on the clock.
SAGU regained the lead midway through the second quarter as the Lions took advantage of a muffed punt by Austin College, giving the visitors the ball just 20 yards from the endzone. Four plays later, CJ Collins found Chris Jenkins for an eight yard touchdown to head into the locker room leading 13-7.
Austin College cut it to a three point margin on a 23 yard field goa by Reynoso with 6:34 left in the third, and that would be the only scoring in that frame and send the teams into the fourth quarter with SAGU on top 13-10. After Charles Eneh forced a fumble to get the ball back to Austin College early in the fourth, Cooper Woodyard found Madison Ross down the middle for a 50-yard touchdown to put the 'Roos ahead 17-13 with 13:38 left to play.
On the ensuing possession for SAGU, the Lions covered 76 yards on 13 plays, with Bickham picking up a key 20-yard gain with his team facing third down and three to go from the Austin College 23-yard line. Bickham scored on the next play to put SAGU back on top with a 20-17 lead and under eight minutes left to play.
Austin College would get the ball back with 2:38 left on the clock, and after being backed up into a 4th-and-19 from their own 36-yard line, Brennan Ellis drew a pass interference penalty to keep hope alive for Austin College. A 13-yard completion to Ross and a seven yarder to Kevin Ray put Austin College into field goal range, but Reynoso's effort was blocked and the Lions recovered to end the game.
Austin College gained 223 yards in the second half to finish with 264 for the game, with Woodyard completing 22-of-38 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ross carried 20 times for 62 yards as the Lions shut down the Austin College rushing attack, holding the 'Roos to just 75 rushing yards overall. Ray had a career-best 10 receptions for 65 yards, and Brooks Ward finished with 11 tackles to lead the defense. Eneh finished with seven stops, including 2.5 for loss and a forced fumble.
Collins completed 23-of-31 passes for 240 yards with a touchdown and a pick and Bickham gained 135 yards on 22 carries with a pair of scores to pace the Lions, and Andrez Brewster caught five passes for 104 yards. Deonte Morrison had 14 tackles to lead SAGU on defense.
Austin College heads west next week as they travel to California to take on Whittier College.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.