Led by a career day from senior running back James Nwankpah, the Austin College football team piled up 305 rushing yards on their way to a 31-0 victory over visiting Southwestern University on Saturday afternoon at Jerry Apple Stadium. Nwankpah ran for 149 yards as the ‘Roos improved to 1-4 overall on the season with the victory.
The ‘Roos established the ground game early with a seven play, 60 yard driving ending in a one yard touchdown dive by Nwankpah with 11:11 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0, and added another score midway through the first half on a quarterback sneak by Noah Jesko following a blocked punt and recovery by Josh Uland at the Southwestern 1-yard line. Andrew Klink’s 31 yard field goal with 48 seconds left in the first quarter made it 17-0, and that is how things would stay heading into halftime.
Austin College got on the board early in the third quarter after a 25 yard rush from Nwankpah got the ball inside the 5-yard line, and after being unable to find anyone open on a play action pass attempt, Jesko tucked the ball and dove in from two yards out to make it a 24-0 game with 10:51 on the clock.
Neither team was able to get any more points on the board for the remainder of the third, but the ‘Roos once again struck pay dirt in the fourth when Bryce Murphy capped off a 13 play, 66 yard drive when he took a pitch and went 10 yards untouched into the endzone to make it a 31-0 game with 12:36 left to play. Each team would threaten but neither was able to put the ball into the endzone the rest of the way and it would stay 31-0 with the ‘Roos earning their first victory of the season.
Nwankpah carried 23 times on the way to his career high single game total, and Murphy finished the game with 19 carries for 96 yards. Devin Smith added 65 yards on 18 carries as the ‘Roos used a balanced rushing attack to dominate the game and the time of possession. Austin College held the ball for 36:19 while also holding Southwestern to 155 yards of total offense, 100 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Logan Estes led the Austin College defensive effort with nine tackles and Scott Loy added six stops and an interception. Uland blocked two punts in the game and added a sack, and Brooks Ward added an interception and 1.5 tackles for loss.
For Southwestern, Bryan Hicks completed 11-of-22 passes for 101 yards and a pick and Dylan Wilburn rushed 15 times for 44 yards, while Tate Taylor led the team with three receptions for 40 yards. Tyler Frisby and Justin Broussard each had nine tackles and Gregory Reeves had six stops and a 24 yard interception return for the Pirates.
The ‘Roos head out on the road next week when they take on Texas Lutheran University with kickoff time set for 1:00 p.m.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.