The Austin College football team got out to a hot start and went into halftime leading No. 22-ranked Texas Lutheran University, but the Bulldog offense kicked into gear after the break and the 'Roos were unable to hold on in a 36-24 loss on Saturday afternoon at Apple Stadium. The 'Roos are now 5-4 overall and 1-1 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Madison Ross broke a 55 yard touchdown run with 12:19 left in the opening quarter to put the 'Roos on the board early, and after a TLU fumble on their very first play on the next possession Austin College struck again with Noah Jesko finding Cooper Woodyard for a 21 yard score, putting the 'Roos up 14-0 in a span of just 14 seconds of game time.
However, the Bulldog defense would begin to clamp down, and the TLU defenders harassed Jesko throughout the rest of the game with nine quarterback hurries and 3.0 sacks on the day. The Bulldog offense finally got on the board when quarterback Trenton White went up the middle 12 yards to cap off an eight play, 64 yard scoring drive with two minutes left in the first quarter, making the score 14-6 after the kick hit the upright.
With time expiring in the opening half and a strong wind at his back, Tyler Brandenburg made up for his missed PAT by hitting a 51 yard field goal to make it 14-9 heading into the break.
Texas Lutheran grabbed its first lead of the game early in the third quarter when White found JB Brown for a 14 yard touchdown to make it 16-14, but Austin College would put together a 10 play, 71 yard drive that culminated in a 21 yard field goal by Javi Reynoso to give the 'Roos the lead back at 17-16 with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive for TLU, the Bulldogs found themselves facing a fourth and eight situation at the Austin College 36, and White managed to scramble long enough for Caleb Oliver to get free in the endzone for a 36 yard touchdown. The two point conversion failed, making it 22-17 with 4:35 left in the quarter. TLU had one more chance to score in the third after a 43 yard run by Marquis Barrolle and a 32 yard completion to Lewis Williams but the defense held strong and Scott Loy broke through to block a 24 yard field goal attempt by Brandenburg.
The TLU lead grew to 29-17 midway through the fourth quarter on a nine yard touchdown pass from White to Oliver, but Austin College battled back on the next possession, with Jesko finding Kyle Crawford for a 41 yard gain and Ross picked up 14 quick yards, and after a roughing the passer penalty moved the chains to the five yard line, Ross carried up the middle for the score to cut it to a 29-24 game with 5:26 left to play.
However, Texas Lutheran would put together a 10 play, 86 yard drive, picking up a pair of third down conversions along the way, and with the Bulldogs facing second and seven from the Austin College 27, White kept the ball around the right end and raced down the sideline for the game sealing touchdown with 42 seconds to play.
Ross finished with a game high 139 rushing yards on 17 carries, marking three times in the last four games he's gone over the century mark. Bryce Murphy added 71 yards on 12 carries as the 'Roos finished with 237 rushing yards as a team. Jesko finished the game 9-of-24 for 161 yards, and Crawford led the 'Roos with five catches for 103 yards. Loy finished with a game-high 12 tackles, and Jantzen Foster added 10 stops.
White finished the game completing 20-of-35 passes for 237 yards and three scores, and added 94 rushing yards and two more touchdowns. Barrolle led the Bulldog ground attack with 105 yards, and AJ Saucedo added 98. Oliver caught seven passes for 98 yards, and Poodie Strong made 11 tackles for TLU.
Austin College closes the season on the road next week, as the 'Roos head to San Antonio to take on Trinity University with kickoff 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.