MARSHALL, Texas – In a back-and-forth battle, it was the second half that became the difference as Howard Payne University pulled away with a strong fourth quarter handing East Texas Baptist University their second loss of the season, 49-38. HPU scored 35 points in the second half after trailing, 17-14, at the half. ETBU is now 2-2 on the year and 1-2 in the American Southwest Conference.
ETBU finished the game with 455 yards of total offense passing for 358 yards. Howard Payne finished with 541 yards of total offense as 405 yards came in the air. Troy Yowman went 27-of-52 for 358 yards and two touchdowns while Tariq Gray caught 12 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Lister finished with 65 yards rushing. Chase Thompson led the defense with seven tackles while Robert Williams had a pick-six. James Wright IV and Jahkamian Carr each had a sack.
ETBU struck first when Yowman rushed in from 14-yards out for the 7-0 lead (7:08). The 12-play, 81-yard drive included two passes to Gray and three rushes from Lister. Less than five minutes later, HPU tied the game at seven on a 47-yard pass to Otis Lanier. The two play drive took just seven seconds. After each team had a defensive stand, ETBU pushed their lead to 10-7 at the 10:36 mark in the second quarter. Alberto Garcia hit a 27-yard attempt to put ETBU up by three. ETBU’s defense came up with another big stop and just over a minute later the offense scored again. Yowman answered HPU’s quickest drive with one of their own going 47-yards on two plays ending with Gray’s first touchdown of the day at the 9:03 mark. Garcia’s extra point made it 17-7. HPU fought back with 7:21 to go in half when Jake Parker caught a 46-yard pass to pull within three, 17-14. Getting the ball back with just under a minute to play, HPU drove to the ETBU three-yard line only to be denied on the final play as ETBU kept the lead, 17-14.
It took less than a minute in the third quarter for HPU to take the lead after a deep kickoff. Two plays in, the HPU defense forced a safety to pull within one, 17-16. HPU then took the lead on the ensuing free kick going 61-yards on a return for a 22-17 (14:34). It took two possessions later but ETBU answered right back as Yowman found Gray for the second time on the day for a touchdown. This pass came from nine-yards out with 9:58 to go on six plays going 71-yards to make it 24-22. Five minutes later, though, HPU’s McKinney rushed in from four yards out retaking the lead, 28-24, after missing the two-point conversion.
The fourth quarter became the difference as HPU scored 21 points as seven came on a pick-six to move ahead, 49-31. ETBU’s only score in the fourth quarter came on a pick-six from Robert Williams as he went 56-yards for the score. Yowman made one final push for a score rushing seven yards out with 2:29 left to make it 49-38.
ETBU will take to the road next week as they head to Georgetown, Texas, to face Southwestern University at 6:00 p.m.