East Texas Baptist (2-1, 2-0 ASC)
Hardin-Simmons (3-0, 2-0 ASC)
Saturday, Sept. 29
Countdown To Kickoff
▶ No. 8/7 Hardin-Simmons (3-0, 2-0 ASC) plays its second straight game at home and the fourth straight night game to open the season when it hosts East Texas Baptist (2-1, 1-0 ASC).
▶ The Cowboys are 16-2 all-time against East Texas Baptist. The two teams have played some memorable games since the Tigers added football in 2000. The two teams were part of three-way ties for the league title in both 2003 and 2015. HSU is 9-0 all-time against the Tigers at Shelton Stadium.
▶ HSU has won 17 straight games against ASC teams not named Mary Hardin-Baylor. The last loss was the mud bowl at ETBU in 2015.
▶ The Cowboys have now been ranked 39 straight weeks in the in-season D3football.com poll. HSU has been ranked inside the top 10 for 18 of those weeks and haven't been lower than No. 13 since week No. 8 of the 2015 season.
▶ HSU is coming off a 65-14 win over Howard Payne on Saturday. The game was never in doubt as HSU jumped out to a 35-7 lead early in the second quarter. Seniors Jaquan Hemphill and Reese Childress combined for seven first-half touchdowns.
▶ The Cowboys will look to go to 4-0 against East Texas Baptist. ETBU, HSU and Mary Hardin-Baylor are the only undefeated teams left in ASC play after just two weeks of action. HSU will play at Mary Hardin-Baylor next week. The winner of the HSU-UMHB game has won at least a share of every ASC title since 1998.
▶ The Cowboys lead the nation in third-down conversions on the year at 63 percent and defensively the Cowboys rank 20th allowing teams to convert only 24 percent of their third-down opportunities.
▶ The Cowboys are playing the fourth of five night games to start the season. HSU is 22-4 all-time under Jesse Burleson in night games.
▶ The Cowboys are 19-1 in their last 20 regular-season games at Shelton Stadium. The only loss was a 17-7 loss to UMHB last year.
▶ HSU has won 15 straight games in September.
▶ The Cowboys are one of just 11 teams in Division III with nine or more wins each of the last three seasons. The others are Delaware Valley, Huntingdon, Johns Hopkins, Linfield, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Mount Union, Saint John's, St. Thomas, Wesley and UW-Oshkosh.
▶ Ty Hooper looked sharp in his first start of the season. He completed 18-of-24 passes for 274 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 35 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown.
▶ Jaquan Hemphill ran for 225 yards on just 13 carries on Saturday. He has been over 150 yards in all three games this season and over 200 yards twice. He went over the 2,500-yard mark for his career and moved past Lance Moore and Steven Rockwell into fourth on the career rushing charts.
▶ The defense held its third-straight opponent under 300 yards of total offense. HSU has allowed less than 400 yards to 13 of its last 14 opponents. The only team to break that streak was East Texas Baptist who had 656 in a crazy 80-42 game in Marshall.
▶ The Cowboys averaged 10.3 yards per play in the game against Howard Payne and rolled up 803 yards. It was the second time this season the Cowboys had over 450 yards rushing as HSU finished with 474 yards on the ground.
▶ Kevi Evans made his varsity debut with a bang. He had a 50-yard reception on the first play of the game and finished with three catches for 121 yards.
▶ The Cowboys have had five rushing efforts over 400 yards under offensive coordinator Jeff Whitehead. Last week's 474 yards were the second-most in school history. HSU has gone over 400 yards three times in the last two seasons and twice already this season.
▶ The three best offensive outputs in school history have come under Jeff Whitehead. The Cowboys have gone over 700 yards five times under Whitehead. Last week's 803-yard effort was the third-best game in school history.
▶ The Cowboys lead the ASC at 648.7 yards per game and rank second nationally. HSU is also second nationally in rushing yards per game.
▶ HSU is averaging 8.5 yards per play and 8.2 yards per rush on the season.
▶ HSU has had 14 different players record a carry so far this season and five different Cowboys have thrown a pass.
▶ Senior left tackle Patrick Riley has been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy given to the top senior student-athlete in the nation. He was one of 179 players named on Wednesday. The list will be narrowed to 12-14 in October.
▶ The Cowboys have had nine of the 10 best games in school history in fewest yards allowed in the Zach Wilkerson era. The 233 for Howard Payne last week was the seventh-best game since bringing back football in 1990.
▶ HSU has allowed just 2.3 yards per rush on the year and just 4.5 yards per play. The Cowboys have allowed just one run this season of 20 yards.
▶ The Cowboys are allowing just 268.7 yards per game. The Cowboys have allowed 10 passes of 25 yards or longer. Those plays have totaled 356 yards. If you take those plays away, the opponents are averaging just 2.6 yards per play on the season.
▶ HSU has played a lot of players on the year and it shows as 25 players are averaging one or more tackles per game.
Special Teams Notes
▶ Reese Childress was named the ASC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning his third career punt for a touchdown. He also added a touchdown run and a touchdown reception.
▶ Jamie Pogue leads ASC kickers in points per game at 8.7. He has hit 20-of-23 PATs and two field goals.
▶ The Tigers are 2-0 in league play and could easily be 3-0 on the year. The Tigers only loss came to UW-Platteville and ETBU led in that game in the second half 37-17 before falling 59-44. ETBU had three punts blocked in the game, one for a touchdown, one that set-up a short touchdown and a third that was eventually turned into a touchdown.
▶ ETBU has one of the most potent offenses in the conference and Brian Baca has thrown for 1069 yards and nine touchdowns in three games. The Tigers average over 22.2 yards per catch. Richard Johnson leads the way with 15 catches for 329 yards and four touchdowns.
▶ The Tigers have 10 sacks in three games on defense and have forced 11 turnovers in those three games.
▶ Former Navarro College head coach Brian Mayper is in his first season at the helm of the Tiger program. It is the fourth straight year for the Tigers to have a new head coach.
▶ ETBU has been 7-3 in each of the last three seasons.
Last Year In Marshall
▶ Jaquan Hemphill broke or tied 11 HSU, ASC or NCAA records as he ran for a school-record 293 yards and scored eight touchdowns as HSU defeated ETBU, 80-42, at Ornelas Stadium.
▶ Hemphill had seven rushing touchdowns on runs of (1, 4, 1, 4, 89, 3 and 78 yards) and added a 64-yard touchdown reception. Other Hemphill records from that game.
■ 293 yards rushing (broke Doc Mobley's record of 278 from 1942)
■ 357 total yards (broke his own school record of 342)
■ 8 TDs (school record and ties Dominique Carson's ASC record)
■ 7 Rush TDs (school record and ASC record broke his record of six).
■ 48 points tied an NCAA record (broke his school record of 36)
▶ The game was a battle of unbeatens and the Cowboys exploded for 806 yards and 80 points and ETBU countered with 656 yards.
▶ In the third quarter, Hemphill took the first play from scrimmage and went 89 yards for a score. ETBU then scored back-to-back touchdowns to cut the HSU lead to 49-35 on 20 and 77-yard touchdown passes by Dru Smith.
▶ HSU then put the game away. Hemphill scored from three yards out and then scored an amazing 78-yard run and then Dedrick Strambler had a 15-yard interception return for a TD to make it 70-35.
▶ The Cowboys are No. 8 in the D3football.com poll and No. 7 in the American Football Coaches Association poll this week.
▶ HSU will play at Mary Hardin-Baylor next week to end a five-game run of night football. The Cowboys are 22-4 all-time under the lights under Jesse Burleson.
▶ HSU is 37-1 all-time under Burleson when scoring 40 or more points and 25-1 when the opponent scores less than 20 points.
▶ 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 40 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 a 91-yard kickoff return this season and Reese Childress has a 60-yard punt return.
▶ The future is bright. Under head coach Jesse Burleson the Cowboys have made a concentrated effort in recruiting bringing in players that fit their style and schemes and also have made recruiting the Big Country a priority. Both have paid dividends and the program is loaded with depth all through the system. The developmental squad is 3-0 and several of the freshmen have worked their way into Saturday roles.
▶ HSU has scored a touchdown in 255 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 38.3 points per game.
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 52-23 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.