Cowboys Set For Home Opener Under The Lights

Cowboys Set For Home Opener Under The Lights
No. 6/8 Hardin-Simmons 
2-0, 1-0 ASC 
Howard Payne 
1-1, 1-0 ASC 
Saturday, Sept. 22 • 6 p.m. • Shelton Stadium • Abilene, Texas 
Play-by-Play Al Pickett
Color Commentary Travis Jones 
Radio Kool FM, 100.7
Internet Web Cast - 
Series History: HSU leads, 40-24-4
Streak: HSU, 10
in Brownwood: HSU leads, 18-13-1
in Abilene: HSU leads, 17-11-2
Neutral sites: HSU leads, 5-0-1
First Meeting: HSU won 15-5 in 1907
Last HSU Win: 63-3 in 2017
Last HPU Win: 48-47 in 2007
Burleson Era: HSU leads, 7-0
HSU has won 10 straight games in the series between the two Texas Baptist rivals...The Cowboys rolled 63-3 last year in Brownwood as the Cowboys won the yardage battle 654-168.
Last Time Out
The Cowboys outscored Louisiana College 51-7 after the second lightning delay and rolled to a 57-21 win in Pineville. Howard Payne won a two overtime thriller against McMurry. 
What To Watch For 
• Senior Ty Hooper will get his fifth career start after Marc Reed went down with an injury at Louisiana College. Hooper is 3-1 in his career as a starter. 
Jaquan Hemphill is averaging 204 yards per game on the ground. He continues to race up the record books in yards and touchdowns. 
Reese Childress has three receiving touchdowns this season and also continues to move up the career charts in TDs and receptions. 
• The Cowboy defense has been battling the injury bug as well but hope to have captain Chris Miller back this week. 
• The home game under the lights is the first-ever night game scheduled at home in American Southwest Conference play. However, it is not the only other night conference game. in 2011 against Howard Payne, the game actually started in the day time and was finished under the lights at Shelton Stadium against Howard Payne after several hours of weather delays. 

Next Up 

Hardin-Simmons will stay in Abilene to host East Texas Baptist in a 6 p.m. game on Saturday. Howard Payne will host Belhaven next week. 
In The Polls 
The Cowboys are No. 8 in this week's poll. The Cowboys are also No. 6 in the first American Football Coaches Association poll. 
Third-Down Shutdown 
Early in the game, Louisiana College had some success converting four third downs, but the Cowboys held the Wildcats without a third-down conversion on 10 straight drives after that. The Cowboys opponents are just 8-for-28 on third down in the first two games. 
Move The Sticks
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys lead the nation in third-down conversions at 64 percent. HSU has converted 14-of-22 third downs on the season. 
Moving It In A Different Way 
The Cowboys are once again one of the top offenses in the nation, but it has come differently than usual. HSU ranks fourth nationally in rushing offense at 389 yards per game. Overall, HSU ranks eighth in total offense with 571.5 yards per contest and ranks 11th in scoring offense at 49.5 per game.  
To The House 
Freshman Rae Millsap took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown in the win over Louisiana College. It was his first collegiate touch. The last Cowboy to take his first collegiate touch for a score was Jessie Ramos. Ironically, both donned the 83 jersey which has long been the jersey number of outstanding wide receivers for the Cowboys - including Hall of Famer Kirk Rogers, who holds the HSU receiving yards and touchdown records.   
Dominant Up Front  
Championship teams are usually built around strong offensive and defensive lines and the Cowboys have both. The offensive line is paving the way for the running backs to average 7.3 yards per carry. On the flip side, the Cowboy defense is allowing just 2.9 yards per rush on the year. The offensive line has allowed just two sacks on the year and even though the defense only has two sacks they have lived in the backfield the first two weeks.    
Defense Showing Off The Depth   
HSU has shown off its depth in the first two weeks. The Cowboys have played with injuries to starting linebackers Bohner Cottongame and Chris Miller. Eriq Mitchell has been the mainstay in the middle, but Kelton McGee, Zach Goodson, Heriberto Elizondo, Cottongame, Miller and Keaton Dennis have all played significant snaps at linebacker. The Cowboys have also used six different cornerbacks and 14 different defensive linemen.
Different Faces Showing Up    
The Cowboys have had some different faces show up on offense. Jaxson Money had his best game of his career with three catches for 51 yards and Bryson Hammonds had three catches for 74 yards, including a touchdown. The Cowboys' depth at receiver has taken a hit as Devonte' Walker is no longer with the team after losing his eligibility appeal to the NCAA after his 10-semester clock ran out. Matthew Sandoval is battling a slight injury and Alex Bell is still recovering from knee surgery. 
Back At QB1   
Senior Ty Hooper has always been an unselfish teammate and done what is best for the team. He was the Devo quarterback, a varsity backup and last year he stepped up and started four games for the Cowboys. He battled for the starting job in the fall camp that eventually went to Marc Reed, but showed once again he was ready when called upon on Saturday in the second half when Reed was injured. He completed 11-of-14 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown and will now get the start under center again.
Give Me That  
Junior safety Dedrick Strambler has an interception in each of the first two games and last week returned his interception 64 yards to get the defense out of a bad spot. He now has six career interceptions from his safety position.  
Stable of Running Backs   
Jaquan Hemphill gets the deserved headlines as the Cowboys' feature back, but the Cowboys have shown they have plenty of depth at running back. Johnny Morales had six carries for 82 yards and a touchdown last week in his first major collegiate action. Zai Zai Smith has 94 yards on the year and a touchdown and Kavan Johnson has 42 yards rushing. The Cowboys have ridden behind their big offensive line and are averaging 7.3 yards per carry on 53 totes per game.  
Let There Be Lights 
Thanks to a generous donor, Hardin-Simmons had new lights installed at Shelton Stadium this summer. HSU will host night kickoffs against Howard Payne and East Texas Baptist this season. A lift to the press box has also been installed at the Stadium and with the new Fletcher Fitness Center overlooking the field in the south end zone Shelton will have a new look and feel this season.   
Scoring In Other Ways
The Cowboys have scored plenty on offense in the Burleson era, but they have also found ways to score in other areas of the game. The Cowboys have 39 non-offensive touchdowns. HSU had as many as nine in the 2015 season. Last year the Cowboys had three – two punt returns by Reese Childress and an interception return by Dedrick Strambler. Rae Millsap has the only one so far this year with a 91-yard kickoff return to start the game against Louisiana College. 
The Streak
HSU has scored a touchdown in 254 straight games dating back to a 10-0 loss to Westminster (Pa.) in the 1993 NAIA Semifinals. HSU has scored in double figures in all but seven of those 252 games and has averaged 38.2 points per game.
Team Captains 
The Cowboys will have five team captains this season with Alex Bell, Reese Childress and Jaquan Hemphill representing the offense and Chris Miller and Eriq Mitchell leading the way for the defense. 
HSU Head Coach Jesse Burleson 
Head coach Jesse Burleson is starting his eighth season at the helm of the Cowboys. He has a career record of 51-23 and has led the Cowboys to three straight trips to the NCAA playoffs. He has produced a 14 All-Americans as the head coach and last year Vic Rodriguez was named the Rimington Award recipient as the top center in Division III. Burleson also coaches the offensive line.