Hardin-Simmons (6-0, 1-0) vs. Howard Payne (0-6, 0-1)
1:30 p.m. | Oct. 24, 2015 | Shelton Stadium
Radio: 100.7 FM
Internet Broadcast: www.hsuathletics.com
Play-by-play: Al Pickett
Color Commentary: Travis Jones
Hardin-Simmons is playing host to Howard Payne for the 2015 Homecoming game. The two teams have met 65 times and Hardin-Simmons leads 37-24-4 all-time. HSU has won seven straight in the series. However, Howard Payne's last win in the series came in 2007 and it was very similar to 2015. The Yellowjackets came into the HSU homecoming winless and won 48-47 in overtime when the Cowboys missed not one but two extra points after scoring first in overtime. HPU then scored and made the extra point.
On The Air
You can hear Saturday's game on 100.7 in Abilene and on the internet at www.hsuathletics.com. You can also listen on your mobile phone using the HSU Athletics app. Al Pickett will be in his 11th season in the Cowboys' play-by-play chair and 13th overall on the broadcast team. Travis Jones will handle the color commentary.
The Cowboys will host Mary Hardin-Baylor for a crucial ASC showdown. The winner of the HSU-UMHB game has won at least a share of the ASC title every year since 1998. The game is slated for a 1 p.m. start.
Last Time Out
HSU jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and cruised to a 41-13 win at Sul Ross State on Saturday evening in Alpine.
About Howard Payne
The Yellowjackets come into the game with a record of 0-6 and they are on a 10-game losing streak dating back to last season. Head coach Roger Geise has announced his retirement at the end of the season and offensive coordinator Hunter Sims has been named as his replacement. HPU is led offensively by Richard Young at quarterback. He has thrown for 1,322 yards and nine touchdowns with 12 interceptions. His favorite target is Colby Mica, who has 46 catches for 571 yards and five touchdowns. Jason Disney leads the ASC in tackles with 79 and Donald Preston has 5.5 sacks on the year.
HSU jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 51-20 win last season in Brownwood. Weston Garner completed 20-of-26 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns and Kerry Sloan ran for 142 yards and two more scores in the win. Jessie Ramos had eight catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Hawkins led the Cowboy defense with nine tackles, including two sacks.
In The Polls
The Cowboys are ranked No. 12 in this week's American Football Coaches Association poll and are No. 14 in the D3football.com poll.
• push its winning streak to seven games.
• give HSU an eight-game winning streak against Howard Payne.
• push the Cowboys to 41-13-5 all-time on homecoming.
• make HSU 38-24-4 all-time against Howard Payne.
Ramos Hits 5K
Senior wide receiver and kick returner Jessie Ramos added to his ASC record in career kick returns with his eighth return for a score on Saturday at Sul Ross State. He had an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown in the win. He also eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark in career all-purpose yards. He now has 5,038 yards (2,690 receiving, 2005 kickoff returns, 251 punt return and 92 rushing). His next catch will be his 200th of his career.
The Cowboys rank last in the conference in kickoff return yardage at 14.2 per return on the year. On the surface, one would think that is bad thing. A closer look shows the Cowboys' average starting field position for the year is almost the 42-yard line. That is because teams are totally kicking away from the Cowboys' deep men. Sul Ross State finally kicked a ball deep on Saturday and Jeremy Harris had the Cowboys longest return of the year at 31 yards. Jessie Ramos has just two kickoff returns on the season for 17 yards. He has 2,005 yards and six touchdowns on kickoff returns in his career. The most common kick has been a pooch kick to the Cowboy up men.
Hall of Fame
HSU will induct four new members into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday evening at 6:30 in the Johnson Building Multi-Purpose Room. Dewey Bohling, Matt Carroll, Dr. Barry King and Dr. Merlin Morrow will be the inductees. Carroll is the all-time leading rusher for the Cowboys with 3,988 yards, Bohling is also a former football player from the 50's and Morrow was instrumental in bringing football back to the Forty Acres in 1990. King was a basketball player.
Going For 300
The Cowboys got the running game churning in the win at Sul Ross State. The Cowboys ran for a season-best 303 yards. Kerry Sloan ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns, Reese Childress had a career-best 98 yards on the ground and Jeremy Harris had 82 yards on eight carries and scored a touchdown.
The Cowboy offensive line continues to get better each and every game. They paved the way for 300 yards on the ground and did not allow a sack for the first time this year. The Cowboys have three new starters on the offensive line and they have continued to learn on the fly, while still being productive. Sophomores Riley Owens and Vic Rodriguez and freshman Kyle Zavala are all in their first season as a starter. Seniors Marshall Agan and Daniel Edwards are the experienced Cowboys up front.
Third Down Success
The Cowboys have excelled on third down on both sides of the ball this season. HSU leads the league converting 43.1 percent (31/72) on offense and teams have converted only 31.6 percent (31/98) on third down.
HSU has scored 12 times this season on drives of three plays or less...The Cowboys have only allowed nine trips to the red zone this season by the opponents and teams are 6-of-9...HSU has not allowed more than 13 points in the last four games, the last time HSU had such a streak was in 2000 when they allowed six straight opponents to score 13 or less. That team went to the NCAA Semifinals...HSU has non-offensive points this season - Ramos has two punt returns, Alex Bell has a punt return, Jeremy Harris returned a blocked punt, Cory Ward has an interception return and HSU has two safeties.
The Cowboys show up all over the NCAA stats this week both individually and as a team. Here is the top 20 rankings for the team nationally.
• HSU leads the nation in blocked punts with three, completion percentage (.718), team passing efficiency (197.82).
• The Cowboys are fifth in the nation in net punting (38.83).
• HSU is 10th in punt returns, averaging 17.9 yards per return.
• The Cowboys are also ranked 10th in sacks with 3.83 per game and 16th in tackles for loss.
• HSU is ranked No. 17 in scoring defense, allowing 12.2 points per outing and No. 19 in scoring offense at 44 points per game.
• The Cowboys are one of 22 unbeaten teams in the nation.
• Weston Garner leads the nation in yards per pass attempt with 11.52, completion percentage at 76.9 percent and passing efficiency at 201.9.
• Nico Francino ranks second in the nation in punting at 43.9.
• Jessie Ramos leads the nation in punt returns for TD with two. He is fourth in receiving yards per game, 17th in receptions and 18th in all-purpose yards.
• Ryne Lewis is ninth nationally with 1.2 sacks per game.