Four Downs: Houston Christian shocks Southland preseason favorite

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Week 4 of the Texas Non-FBS season saw Houston Christian stun preseason Southland favorite Southeastern La. on the road, multiple teams pick up needed victories, the ASC take a hit to their playoff hopes, and a wild fourth quarter between UTPB and West Texas A&M.

First Down: Houston Christian stuns preseason Southland favorite

Houston Christian coach Braxton Harris has stressed the need for his Huskies to get off to a fast start this season. HCU followed the direction of their coach in defeating Southland Conference preseason favorite Southeastern Louisiana 34-19. The Huskies scored on four of their five possessions in the first half, including touchdowns on their opening two drives.

Harris preaches the need for his team to start fast to help build positivity for a program that has struggled in recent years. It wasn’t easy for HCU in the second half, with SLU pulling within five points late in the third quarter. However, the Huskies showed an ability to close out games by scoring 10 points on their final two offensive possessions of the game.

Second Down: Needed positivity

Other programs across the Texas Non-FBS landscape that needed positive results earned much-needed wins on Saturday. Prairie View A&M earned a significant 23-20 victory over Alcorn with a 46-yard field goal from Guillermo GarciaRodriguez as time expired to keep the Panthers undefeated in the SWAC. Lamar secured its first win under Peter Rossomando with a 38-0 win over Lincoln (Calif.).

Ritse Vaes nailed a 54-yard field goal with one second remaining to give Midwestern State a 34-31 win over Eastern New Mexico. Mary Hardin-Baylor’s defense held McMurry to two yards rushing in a 50-9 victory over the War Hawks, while Austin College went on the road and defeated Crown (Minn.) 34-23 to give Tony Joe White his first victory with the Kangaroos.

Third Down: Playoff hopes dashed?

Not all Week 4 results were positive. Hardin-Simmons went on the road Friday night and left with a 37-10 loss to Endicott. Reports are that HSU quarterback Gaylon Glynn was injured during the first half. His status is unconfirmed. However, HSU’s loss likely eliminates any hope of the American Southwest Conference earning one of four at-large bids to the Division III playoffs.

Texas Wesleyan lost a chance to cement a bid to the NAIA playoffs following a 38-20 loss to St. Thomas. The Rams remain the favorite to win the Sooner Athletic Conference, but NAIA doesn’t have automatic bids. However, while the loss to the Bobcats stings, the Rams are likely a playoff team if they win their remaining games.

Fourth Down: Crazy finish

Possibly the craziest fourth quarter Saturday belonged to UTPB and West Texas A&M. The Buffs held a 24-10 lead over the Falcons after three quarters. UTPB quickly cut the Buffs lead to 24-17 early in the fourth quarter. Preston Gregg added to the WT lead with a field goal with 6:37 left in regulation. It only took the Falcons two minutes to cut the lead to 27-24 with 4:28 remaining on the clock. One minute later, freshman quarterback Kanon Gibson extended the Buffs lead to 34-24 with a 74-yard run.

UTPB responded with a field goal with 1:52 on the clock. The Falcons perfectly executed an onside kick, and quarterback Kenny Hrncir tied the game at 34 after scoring with 15 seconds in regulation. Hrncir gave UTPB a 41-34 lead with a rushing touchdown to open overtime. WT answered the score and chose to go for the 2-point conversion and the win. Gibson’s pass to the back of the end zone was incomplete, allowing the Falcons to celebrate a 41-40 victory.

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