Another warm and muggy day in Houston Texas for University of the Incarnate Word at Houston Baptist University. HBU came into this game ranked #25 in the Southland Conference and was looking to start the season 5-0. UIW, the defending conference co-champs, came in limping at 2-2 and 1-1 in conference play.
HBU Jr. QB, Bailey Zappe had a career day last week against Texas Southern and came into the game having completed 150 out of 209 passes for 1,817 yards and 21 touchdowns. He leads the nation in both categories and with his performance last week earned his second Conference Offensive Player of the Week as well as FCS STATS National Offensive Player of the Week awards.
UIW took the opening kickoff and went right to work. QB Jon Copeland completed seven straight passes to go along with a nine-yard run to cap a nine-play 75-yard drive. The key play was a 32-yard touchdown pass from Copeland to Lamont Johnson to make it 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, HBU got the score right back when Gamar Girdy Brito caught the ball at his 13 and raced 87 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
Unlike last week, Zappe was off early throwing an interception that would lead to a UIW score that made it 14-7. Later in the first quarter, he would throw the ball deep in the end zone and was almost picked off again. Luckily the defender never had control of the ball.
The teams would go back and forth for the first half of the second quarter with the only score being a 49-yard field goal by HBU freshman kicker Gino Garcia. Bailey would continue to have his issues throwing the football and the running game just could not get started.
UIW would get another score on an 11-play 65-yard drive that would end with a six-yard run by Marquez Perez. On the drive, Copeland mixed up the run with the pass to keep the Husky defense off balance. The score was now 21-10 UIW.
Zappe and the Husky offense would finally get on track thanks to the hard running of Ean Beek. Bailey would also get on track completing 7-8 including an eight-yard scoring pass to Ben Ratzlaff to make it 21-17. There was some questionable play-calling on the drive for HBU. A three-wide set looked like it could work but the Huskies ran on the play. The drive would go 15 plays for 65 yards taking up 6:08.
Each team would score before the half and they would go into the locker room with UIW in front 28-20. Penalties (seven for 68 yards) and a lack of a running game (12 carries for 28 yards) really hurt HBU in the first half.
The Huskies took the second-half kickoff and Brito took it 22 yards to set his team up at their own 45. From there they moved the football but Bailey could not connect with his receivers and another penalty pushed them back. HBU would have to settle for another Garcia field goal to make the score 28-23 at the 10:50 mark of the third.
Once again the teams would go back and forth trading scores. The problem for HBU was they just could not stop the UIW running game. Kevin Brown (11 carries for 105 yards) just kept grinding out yards and finding or creating holes. Penalties continued to haunt the Huskies and by the end of the third quarter, it was 38-30 UIW and they were in scoring position again.
As they were getting ready to score again, the Cardinals fumbled the ball at the HBU one-yard line. The crowd began to stomp and scream encouraging their team on. With just over 14 minutes left, all HBU had to do was drive 99 yards to come within one or maybe even tie the game. Two huge penalties by UIW, followed by two big Zappe completions put the ball on the Cardinals 40. But a crushing personal foul on Zappe made it third and 30 for HBU and they could not capitalize.
A punt put UIW deep in their territory, but hey failed to advance the ball. HBU began with the ball close to midfield. Penalties called on the Cardinals would put the Huskies in scoring position again, but Zappe threw another pick. This time it was in the end zone giving the ball back to UIQ with just over 8:30 to go in the game.
The Huskies would not give up and got the ball back at their 35. Beek (20 carries for 108 yards) would step up again with some nifty running and four timely first downs on the ground. HBU would finally hit paydirt when Zappe hit Brito from 17 yards to make it 38-36. The two-point conversion would fail and it was a one-possession game with 3:24 left.
There would not be enough time as UIW was able to keep the ball long enough to run out the clock for the 38-36 win. It was the first loss of the year for HBU and they are now 4-1 and 1-1 in conference play on the year. The Cardinals pushed themselves over .500 on the season and are now 3-2 and 2-1 in conference play.
HBU Game Notes
Zappe would end up having a good game and finished 49-69 for 390 yards, three touchdown passes, two interceptions, and a lost fumble. Unlike last week, he felt the UIQ defensive pressure all game long and would be sacked twice. WR Jerreth Sterns had a monster of a game with a school-record 18 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. HBU would really get hurt by the yellow flag as they amassed 16 penalties for 153 yards. So. LB Brennan Young was all over the field and finished with 12 tackles. He was helped by Sr. DB Malik Johnson’s 11 tackles and a forced and recovered fumble.
The Huskies visit Abilene Christian Saturday looking to bounce back into the win column.