ABILENE — No. 6 Hardin-Simmons prevented the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets from starting American Southwest Conference football action with two consecutive victories, as the Cowboys rolled to a 65-14 home victory Saturday night.
Howard Payne (1-2, 1-1), coming off last week’s 37-31 double-overtime conference victory over McMurry at Gordon Wood Stadium, struggled for the second time in as many road outings. Down 14-0 after one quarter, the Yellow Jackets yielded five touchdowns to Hardin-Simmons (3-0, 2-0) in the second period alone, as the Cowboys built a 49-14 halftime advantage.
The Cowboys finished with 803 yards of total offense and 33 first downs, rushing for 474 yards and passing for 329 yards. On 79 snaps for the game, Hardin-Simmons averaged 10.1 yards per play.
HSU’s Jaquan Hemphill, a Coleman product, rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
Howard Payne, meanwhile, followed its 411-yard outing against McMurry with 233 yards against Hardin-Simmons, and a mere 26 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Gage McClanahan completed 12 of 24 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown, but was sacked four times. Jordan Bryant grabbed four catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, Thomas Williams added two catches for 32 yards, Kaidrion Latson finished with two receptions for 29 yards and Tariq Gray hauled in two passes for 19 yards. On the ground, Latson finished with a team-best 37 yards.
Bryant scored HPU’s first touchdown on a 75-yard pass from McClanahan, which cut Hardin-Simmons’ lead to 21-7 at 13:38 of the second quarter.
Then, at the 10:27 mark of the second, DunTayviun Gross returned a kick 86 yards for a Howard Payne touchdown, which shaved the Cowboys’ advantage to 28-7.
Hemphill scored Hardin-Simmons’ first two touchdowns on runs of 25 and 58 yards, then Reese Childress caught a 15-yard touchdown for all the points the Cowboys would need.
Childress added another 15-yard scoring catch and a 60-yard punt return for a score, while Hemphill chipped in two more touchdown runs of 14 and 33 yards before halftime.
Carries of 27 yards by Ty Hooper and 6 yards by Johnny Morales and a 35-yard Jamie Pogue field goal accounted for HSU’s second-half points.
The Yellow Jackets are back home at 1 p.m. Saturday as they host Belhaven (0-3, 0-2) — which is coming off a 46-20 loss to East Texas Baptist. Howard Payne’s lone win in the 2017 campaign came at Belhaven, 45-37.