SEGUIN — Trailing 10-7 after one period, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets surrendered 38 points in the second quarter as the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs went on to cruise to a 53-7 American Southwest Conference football victory Saturday afternoon.
Howard Payne (1-7, 1-6), coming off a one-point loss at Sul Ross last week, was saddled with its sixth consecutive defeat while Texas Lutheran (6-2, 5-2) won for the fifth time in its last six outings.
The Yellow Jackets managed just two first downs and 78 yards of total offense — 77 passing and 1 yard rushing on 27 carries — with four turnovers, all fumbles. Defensively, Howard Payne forced three turnovers but was still shredded for 601 yards — 318 through the air and 283 on the ground.
Caleb Estes completed 6 of 7 passes for 53 yards for HPU while Gage McClanahan was 6 of 9 for 24 yards. DunTayviun Gross caught three passes for 14 yards, Benjamin Greene finished with two grabs for 32 yards, Tariq Gray added two catches for 14 yards and Eric Haverstock had two receptions covering 10 yards.
On the ground, Kaidrion Latson was the leading rushing with 16 yards and a touchdown, while Stephen Willis was the only other Yellow Jacket with positive yardage, picking up 10 yards on the ground.
For Texas Lutheran, Kyle Grona connected on 13 of 19 passes for 281 yards with four scores and one pick. Austin Mathews rushed for 213 yards and one score, while Charles Robinson caught four passes for 147 yards and a trip to end zone, and C.J. Romero hauled in four receptions for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively for HPU, Jalen Powdrill led the way with nine tackles followed by seven each from Anthony Lindsey and Connor Day and six apiece from Dylan Zeno and Collin Wright. Aaron Alderete and Trishawn Townes recovered fumbles while Zeno Barnum intercepted a pass.
Texas Lutheran grabbed a 7-0 lead just 2:07 into the game on a 44-yard pass from Grona to Romero, but Howard Payne answered at the 9:49 mark on a 4-yard touchdown run by Latson to knot the score at 7. The Yellow Jacket touchdown was set up when Wright sacked Grona, who fumbled at the 4 where Alderete recovered. HPU scored on the next play.
After the Yellow Jackets’ tying touchdown, TLU dominated the rest of the way.
Juan Ocampo booted a 26-yard field goal to push the Bulldogs in front for good, 10-7, at 5:37 in the first period, and the game got away from the Yellow Jackets in the second quarter.
Texas Lutheran scored on a 7-yard pass from Grona to Pearce Loth, a 75-yard pass from Grona to Robinson, a 29-yard Mathews run, a 42-yard pass from Grona to Romero, a 41-yard fumble return by Manny Longoria and a 36-yard field goal by Ocampo to open a 48-7 halftime lead.
Ocampo tacked on his third field goal, a 26-yarder, 3:11 into the second half and the Bulldogs recorded a safety after blocking a Howard Payne punt out of the back of the end zone with 14:02 left in the game to round out the scoring.
The Yellow Jackets host the Southwestern Pirates (4-4, 3-4) at 4 p.m. next Saturday in both their homecoming game and home finale. Southwestern dropped a 49-35 decision to No. 8 Hardin-Simmons Saturday.