The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets trimmed a 21-point deficit down to seven in the fourth period, but could not complete their comeback as the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs prevailed with a 27-14 American Southwest Conference victory at Gordon Wood Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The victory was the fifth in a row for Texas Lutheran (5-1, 5-0), while Howard Payne (2-4, 1-4) suffered a fourth consecutive setback.
Trailing 21-0 when the fourth quarter began, the Yellow Jackets completed a 13-play, 63-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown carry by second-string quarterback McGwire Martin that closed the gap to 21-7 with 13:21 left.
After limiting Texas Lutheran to one first down on the next possession, the Yellow Jackets took over at their own 22 and marched 78 yards in just six plays as Shannon Warren's 1-yard dive made the score 21-14 with 8:38 left. A 40-yard scramble by Martin set up Warren's touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets defense was unable to make another stand, however, as Texas Lutheran ventured 68 yards in eight plays as quarterback Wade Freeman's 10-yard touchdown scamper with 5:35 left essentially put the game out of reach.
The Bulldogs finished with 478 yards of total offense — 269 rushing and 209 passing.
Freeman completed 16 of 28 passes for 204 yards with three scoring tosses, while rushing for 77 yards and another touchdown. Chris Monroe rushed for a team-best 132 yards, while Mason Perkins grabbed five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown, Charles Robinson caught four passes for 57 yards with a trip to the end zone, and C.J. Romero made two grabs for 45 yards and scored once.
Britt Boler and Austin Killgore registered 16 tackles apiece for the Yellow Jackets, while Zeno Barnum added 12.
Howard Payne generated 252 yards — 138 through the air and 114 on the ground – and committed just one turnover against a Texas Lutheran defense that forced 18 through the first five games, and 10 the past two weeks.
Martin completed 6 of 9 passes for 94 yards and rushed for a team-high 55 yards and a score, while Caleb Estes was 7 of 16 for 44 yards.
Billy Reagins chipped in 35 yards on the ground, Warren added 17 and Ryan Hirt rushed for 10.
Thomas Williams caught six passes for 66 yards, DunTayviun Gross added five receptions for 25 yards, and Jake Parker finished with two grabs for 30 yards.
Howard Payne trailed just 14-0 at halftime as Texas Lutheran scored on a 5-yard toss from Freeman to Romero with 5:59 left in the first period, while Robinson scored on a 39-yard reception from Freeman just 2:44 later.
The Bulldogs didn't reach the end zone again until the 7:21 mark of the third period on a 2-yard scoring toss from Freeman to Perkins.
The Yellow Jackets will attempt to snap their skid at 2 p.m. Saturday at East Texas Baptist (3-3, 3-2), which slipped past winless McMurry, 21-19, Saturday.