BELTON, Texas – Hardin-Simmons’ football team never trailed until there was no time left on the clock in a heartbreaking 15-14 loss at top-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Hardin-Simmons took an early lead in the second quarter when Jaquan Hemphill capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. All 10 plays were on the ground for the Cowboys. HSU would never trail until the game’s final play.
Jase Hammack put the Cru on the board with 1:28 to play in the first half when he hit Jonel Reed on a 32-yard touchdown pass. Anthony Avila’s PAT hit the upright.
The Cowboys added to the lead with 3:48 to play in the third quarter when Gatlin Martin executed a fake field goal from the 2-yard line to score a touchdown and make the score 14-6.
The Cru cut the deficit to 14-12 with 11:26 to play when Hammack hit Gary Ruckman on a 30-yard touchdown pass and the 2-point conversion was no good.
The teams then traded punts and the Cowboys went 12 plays and took 6:05 off the clock but had to punt with 1:17 to play and the Cru took over at the HSU 47. The Cru picked up a first down. After a short pass and a three-yard loss it was 3-and-13 and Hammack hit Ruckman for 11 yards to the Cowboy 26-yard line and then the drama started.
The Cru did not have any timeouts remaining and after some indecision on if the field goal team or offense would take the last play the Cru rushed the field goal unit out as the clock was running down and snapped the ball just in time to get the Avilla kick off that was good from 43 yards out.
The two biggest questions – did the ball get snapped in time and did HSU have an opportunity to substitute after the Cru made an offensive substitution. In the game official’s opinion, the answer to both questions was yes and the field goal stood after a short discussion among the officiating crew.
The game was a defensive battle from the start as the Cowboys had 234 yards of offense and the Cru had 211. The two teams combined for 18 punts in the contest and neither team turned the ball over.
Hemphill ran for 148 yards on a career-high 36 carries and Jo’Vel McDaniel had 93 yards on the ground for the Cru. Kyle Jones completed 6-of-7 passes for 53 yards and Hammack was 10-of-17 for 119 yards and two scores.
Terrell Franklin led the Cowboys with nine tackles in the contest and Tevin Jones had 20 stops for the Cru.
HSU is now 5-2 on the year and 4-2 in ASC play. UMHB improved to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in league play. The Cowboys return home next week for the Wilford Moore Trophy game against McMurry at 1 p.m. at Shelton Stadium.