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It was a beautiful sunny evening in Houston Texas for the third meeting between Texas Southern and Houston Baptist University. The series began in 2016 and HBU held a 2-0 advantage heading into this matchup.

HBU has surprised many with their 3-1 start to begin the season. Their offense ranks third in FCS play with 541.3 yards per game. They are also ranked third in passing with 365.3 yards per game and second in scoring at 48.3 points per game. After a season-opening loss to UTEP, HBU has reeled off three straight wins.

TSU has yet to win a game yet and has been outscored 184-73 including a 77-6 blowout loss the Louisiana two weeks ago. They were also looking for their first win versus a Southland Conference team since a 26-20 win over Sma Houston back in 1996.

TSU took the opening kickoff and went right to work. A 64-yard completion to Tren’Davian Dickson set the Tigers up early at the HBU 11. Unfortunately, a backward pass by DeAndre Johnson was recovered by HBU setting them up at their own six. On the drive, Sophomore Jerreth Sterns caught the 100th pass of his career and passed the 1,000-yard mark as well. HBU moved the ball and then Dreshwawn Minniweather hit the hole for 30 yards. A few plays later, he would bounce off tackles to score from 22-yards out to make it 7-0 HBU. Minniweather would have 64 yards rushing on the drive.

HBU got the ball back after a TSU punt and moved the ball down the field quickly. On third and six, Bailey Zappe completed a pass to Gamar Girdy Brito good for 16 yards and a first down. Three plays later, Zappe would hit Jaylon Johnson from 15-yards out to make it 14-0 HBU and the rout was on.

The rest of the first half would not get any better for TSU. HbU would score four more times on three touchdown passes from Junior quarterback Zappe. He would finish the first half going 30-45 for 335 yards with one pick. The HBU offense would amass 438 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.

But just when you thought this would be a blowout, TSU started to get rolling. An eight-play, 75-yard drive would see them get to within 37-14. A key play was a third and 15 for TSU at their own 20. On the play, Johnson would avoid some defenders and hit Corley for a huge 14-yard completion to set up fourth and one. TSU would go for it and make the first down on a 14-yard run by Domin Franklin. Another big play would be Johnson hitting for the 32-yard touchdown.

The Tigers would strike again but not before they muffed a punt to give the Huskies great field position. But a Zappe pass was picked off in the end zone by Bryson Edwards and TSU would capitalize once again. On third and 14, Johnson would let go on a bomb down the right sideline and hit Corley in stride for 84 yards and a touchdown. It was now a ballgame as the HBU lead was cut down to 16, at 37-21 going into the half.

HBU got the ball to open the second half and wasted no time doing what they had done most of the first half. In fact, they would blow the game wide open by scoring 29 points in the third quarter. Zappe would throw for three more scores and the defense would limit TSU to just 10 second-half points.

The win gets HBU to 4-1 with a home game coming up next week against Incarnate Word. The loss puts TSU at 0-4 and they travel to Alabama A & M  next week seeking their first win of the season.

Game Notes

HBU

Zappe set school records with 43 completions, 59 attempts, 498 yards passing, and seven touchdown passes. He was protected well as his offensive line did not have much of a challenge from the TSU defensive front.

Sophomore wide receiver Jerreth Sterns tied a school record with 12 catches for 104 yards and two touchdown catches. Fellow WR, Ben Ratzlaff chipped in eight catches for 131 yards and two scores of his own while senior Trevor Larkin caught nine passes for 87 yards.

Junior running back Minniweather was a terror as he gained yards up the middle as well as to the right and left of the TSU defense. He would finish with 125 yards on 14 carries to go with two scores.

The HBU defense terrorized TSU as they were able to get pressure all night long. They finished with three players in double figures in tackles and had four sacks and recovered four fumbles.

TSU

Johnson would finish 25-37 for 420 yards with two touchdown passes and added 50 yards on 17 rushing attempts. But he could not do it all. He faced so much pressure that several times he had to just get rid of the football.

Corley would catch 12 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown as one of the few bright spots on offense for the Tigers.

The running game just never got untracked and was led by Tyler Cook’s 61 yards on 16 carries. He did add two of TSU’s four touchdowns.

The defense really struggled as they could not stop the HBU running or passing game. There too many times that HBU receivers were way too open and the lanes were just too big in the running game. They also did a poor job of tackling as HBU ball carriers and receivers were able to get yards after the catch.

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By Ralph Garcia

CEO NGSC Sports

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