First-year head coach Roger Geise was unable to send off his 12 seniors with a lasting memory Saturday at Gordon Wood Stadium as the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets were pummeled by the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs, 47-6, in the season finale.
With the loss, the Yellow Jackets (1-9, 1-6) completed their second consecutive one-win campaign and finished tied for seventh place with Mississippi College (2-8, 1-6) ó which they defeated ó in the final American Southwest Conference standings.
Howard Payne answered Texas Lutheranís initial touchdown with a score of its own Saturday, then yielded 40 unanswered points to conclude the contest. The Yellow Jackets trailed 14-6 after one quarter and 30-6 at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets manufactured just 199 yards of total offense and lost one turnover, while the Bulldogs racked up 562 yards ó 307 passing and 255 rushing.
TLU quarterback Brent Peavy connected on 21 of 34 passes for 237 yards with three touchdowns, while Trenton White was 5 of 8 for 70 yards with a scoring toss in relief. Casey Davis hauled in nine receptions for 76 yards with a pair of touchdowns, while Cameron Peavy caught five passes totaling 101 yards with two trips to the end zone.
On the ground, the Bulldogs received 88 yards and a touchdown from Dominique Hardaway, while Brent Peavy chipped in 52 yards and six points.
For Howard Payne, quarterback Thomas Head completed 13 of 26 pass attempts for 100 yards with an interception, while rushing for a team-high 87 yards and a touchdown. The rest of the Yellow Jackets ground game combined for negative 1 yards on 14 carries.
Top receivers for Howard Payne were Karl Stewart with four grabs for 35 yards followed by John Williams with three for 29, Tristian Fuentes with three for 13 and Astin Murray with three catches for 12 yards.
Defensively for the Yellow Jackets, J.D. King collected 14 tackles followed by 11 from Josh Eppler, eight from Keifer Wilson, seven from Adrian Hopkins and six from Victor Gonzales.
Eppler also set a new NCAA Division III record with a 92-yard punt, which occurred with 3:13 left in the first half and HPU pinned at its own 8 with a strong south wind at the punterís back. The booming kick launched the pigskin over the head of the TLU returner at the Bulldog 35 and bounced the rest of the way into the end zone.
Texas Lutheran opened the game with a seven-play, 77-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 47-yard Hardaway touchdown run at the 11:17 mark of the opening period.
The Yellow Jackets struck for their only points with 3:28 left in the first quarter as Head scored on a 43-yard quarterback keeper to end a six-play, 69-yard drive. Joshua Martinezís extra point was blocked and TLU remained in front, 7-6.
The Bulldogs added their second touchdown with 1:45 left in the first quarter on a 37-yard scoring toss from Brent Peavy to Cameron Peavy. The duo connected again on a 7-yard strike just seven seconds into the second period, while Davis caught an 11-yard touchdown from Brent Peavy at the 8:27 mark of the quarter. Allen Cain booted a 26-yard field goal with 4:30 left in the second period to increase the TLU advantage to 30-6.
Cain opened the second half scoring as well with a 33-yarder with 7:13 left in the third period, then Brent Peavy scored on a 14-yard carry with 37 seconds left in the frame.
The final points for the Bulldogs came with 10:28 left in the contest as Davis hauled in a 15-yard touchdown reception from White.
No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-0, 7-0) finished as the ASC champion for the eighth consecutive season trailed by Louisiana College (8-2, 6-1), Hardin-Simmons (6-4, 5-2), Sul Ross (5-5, 4-3), Texas Lutheran (4-6, 2-5) and East Texas Baptist (3-7, 2-5), then Mississippi College and Howard Payne.