Austin Matthews was named the American Southwest Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for a TLU record five touchdowns and a career-high 225 yards in Saturday's win over Sul Ross State. Photo by Dustin Wyatt.
(Seguin) - Texas Lutheran's Austin Mathews rushed for a school-record five touchdowns and added 225 rushing yards as the Bulldogs won their seventh game of 2018 with a 63-20 Senior Day victory over the Sul Ross State Lobos.
Saturday at TLU's Bulldog Stadium, Mathews eclipsed the single-game rushing mark with a five-yard run in the third quarter.
Mathews moved past five Bulldogs (David Wehmeyer, Mike Cantu, Kenny Gransberry, Marquis Barrolle, and current quarterback Kyle Grona) that shared the previous mark of four rushing touchdowns for a game. Grona tied the old mark last season in a road win over East Texas Baptist.
Against Sul Ross State, Mathews scored four first-half touchdowns with runs of three, one, one, and 10 yards.
Matthews was named the American Southwest Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against the Lobos.
TLU moved to 7-2 overall and to 6-2 in the American Southwest Conference.
Sul Ross dropped to 1-8 overall and to 1-7 in the ASC.
Mathews, a junior in football athletic eligibility but a senior on track to graduate in May, joined 12 other Bulldogs in playing in his final home game. (Mathews started his TLU Athletics career in 2015 as a member of TLU Men's Soccer.)
Mathews and Grona (Fredericksburg/Fredericksburg) led a senior group that includes: Christopher Bennett (The Colony/The Colony), Kaleb Campbell (Houston/Alief Taylor), Reggie Jackson (Killeen/Ellison), Pearce Loth (Rockdale/Rockdale), Brandon Hopp (Leander/Leander), Emory Cuzze (Buda/Hays), Jacob Guercia (Forney/Forney), Andy Day (Austin/Austin), Eduardo Sanchez III (Zapata/Zapata), D'Andre Gallagher (Cuero/Cuero), and Thomas Gaither (Jourdanton/Jourdanton).
"A special group, 13 guys that when they came here four years ago, most of them got here four years ago, that season we went 8-2," said Carl Gustafson, TLU's second-year head football coach. "And then their second year here, things didn't work out so good. We had a tough year, and they have been a major reason for the turnaround."
"We still have work to do. That's what these guys talked about immediately after the game. They've got one more game to play, and they want to end it the right way."
The Bulldogs opened up a 42-13 lead at the half by piling up 339 yards of total offense and rushing for 171.
"These other guys wanted to send the seniors out with a victory, and not just a victory, but they talked about playing our best game," said Gustafson. "And I think we did that. I really do. I was really proud of our seniors and proud of our entire team."
Mathews carried the ball 29 times in the first half and finished the game with 40 rushes.
"Offensively, I was really pleased because I felt like we really dominated the line of scrimmage," said Gustafson. "We controlled the clock. We gave our defense some breaks. Most of the time we got the ball, we were going to score. There weren't many times when they turned us away."
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first five drives and collected eight touchdowns on the first 10 drives.
Grona started the scoring with a four-yard run at the 11:02 mark of the first quarter.
After Mathews reeled off the first three of his five rushing TDs, Grona found Gallagher for a 31-yard scoring strike at the 13:04 mark of the second quarter.
Mathews scored at the end of the second quarter and in the middle of the third quarter and did not play after his final touchdown.
Loth brought down a four-yard pass from Grona to make it 56-20 with 28 seconds remaining in the third.
Junior linebacker Derek Dunn (Houston/North Shore) capped the Bulldogs' scoring with a 35-yard fumble return for a score. Dunn also registered six total tackles and two tackles for loss.
Cuzze led TLU with nine total tackles. He also forced a fumble.
The Bulldogs did not have a sack (for only the second game this season), but the team did force three fumbles. Cuzze, Kedrick Ward (Missouri City/Elkins) and Travis York (Seguin/Seguin) were credited with the forced fumbles. York forced the fumble on a Sul Ross State interception return.
TLU limited Sul Ross to 80 yards rushing and to 234 yards of total offense. The Lobos were 3-of-10 on third down and possessed the ball only 22:36 for the game. TLU held the ball for 37:24.
The Bulldogs hit the road next Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff in Georgetown, Texas against the Southwestern University Pirates. The game will be played at Birkelbach Field at the Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex.