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Whitworth University - Football

Huge second half lifts No. 5 Hardin-Simmons past Whitworth

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Whitworth running back Adam Anderson scores the second of his two touchdowns (Photo: Whitworth Athletics) Whitworth running back Adam Anderson scores the second of his two touchdowns (Photo: Whitworth Athletics)
Whitworth defensive end Nick Ashley sacks HSU QB Justin Feaster in the first half (Photo: Whitworth Athletics) Whitworth defensive end Nick Ashley sacks HSU QB Justin Feaster in the first half (Photo: Whitworth Athletics)
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by Whitworth Athletics

ABILENE, Texas - Hardin-Simmons University used a big third quarter to turn the tide and avoid an upset at the hands of visiting Whitworth University, defeating the Pirates 48-31 on Saturday afternoon at Shelton Stadium in the season opener for both schools.

Going almost exclusively to its vaunted passing attack, the fifth-ranked Cowboys outscored Whitworth 21-0 in the third to turn an 11-point halftime deficit into a 10-point lead, heading into the fourth quarter.

HSU outgained the Pirates 370-107 and outscored the Bucs 35-7 after the break.  Preseason All-American quarterback Justin Feaster led the Cowboys by completing 26 of 32 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns.  He also ran 10 times for 64 yards and two more scores.

Whitworth All-American running back Adam Anderson finished with 229 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns for the Bucs.

The Pirates got the start that they wanted, opening a 24-13 halftime lead on the Cowboys.  The opening kickoff was returned 48 yards by Cailen Thomason, setting up a short touchdown drive by Whitworth.  Anderson carried in from one yard away.  HSU answered on its first drive, going 75 yards and scoring on Feaster's one yard sneak. 

It was Anderson's turn for a long kickoff return, taking the ball 46 yards to set up another short field.  Anderson finished off a 40 yard drive by going in from 13 yards out after breaking a tackle near the line of scrimmage.

The Pirates opened a 21-7 lead after Anderson took an inside screen pass from quarterback Andrew Durant, hurdled a defender near just past the line of scrimmage and broke free for a 64 yard gain to the Cowboy's 14 yard line.  It appeared the Pirates were stalled at the five yard line, but Whitworth ran a perfect fake field goal and Durant passed to a wide open Justin Wimberly for the score.

HSU appeared to pull within seven just before halftime as Feaster passed to Zavious Robbins for a 25 yard touchdown with 46 seconds to play.  But a short kick off was returned 28 yards by upback Brandon Martin to midfield, allowing the Pirates kick a 20 yard field goal as time expired.  Durant set up the field goal with a 36 yard pass to

Dale Entel inside the Cowboys' 10 yard line with less than 10 seconds left.  Andy Largent kicked the field goal for a 24-13 halftime lead.

Anderson had 158 all-purpose yards in the first half.  Durant completed 9 of 10 passes for 141 yards with one touchdown.  For HSU, Feaster completed 9 of 11 passes for 116 yards.  Robbins caught eight balls in the first half for 84 yards and a score.

But the second half was all Cowboys.  Feaster led the way, completing a five yard touchdown pass to Thomas Labian to complete a 70 yard drive to open the half.  After forcing a Pirate punt, HSU went 97 yards on only six plays, scoring on Feaster's 29 yard scramble to take their first lead at 27-24.  After a Whitworth fumble deep in its own territory, the Cowboys only had to go 22 yards to take a 34-24 lead.  Feaster completed a seven yard TD pass to Robbins.

A long punt return set up another short field for HSU midway through the fourth quarter.  Feaster threw 14 yards to Labian to make the score 41-24.

Whitworth got back within 10 after Cub Jansen came in at quarterback and directed a 69 yard drive that took 11 plays.  Jansen's 22 yard touchdown pass to Largent actually went through the hands of Dale Entel first.

But Whitworth's tired defense could not contain the Cowboys to allow a final minute comeback.  HSU scored its final touchdown when Jayce Boyd broke around the left side for a 39 yard touchdown with 2:11 to play.

Hardin-Simmons outgained Whitworth 517-338.  Durant was 12 of 15 for 153 yards, while Jansen was 5 of 7 for 63 yards.  Neither threw an interception and each had a touchdown pass.

Anderson finished with 74 yards rushing, 69 yards receiving and 86 kickoff return yards for his total of 229.  But he had most of those yards in the first half.

Whitworth will try to get its first win of 2009 next Saturday at the University of La Verne (Calif.).  Kick off is at 11:30 a.m.  Meanwhile the highly-ranked Cowboys will travel to the Northwest to play at Linfield.

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