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Texas Lutheran dominates Southwestern 27-0 to move to 2-0 in ASC play

Kedrick Ward returns a fumble for a touchdown with Adairius Norwood (34) and Manny Longoria (2) clearing the way.
Kedrick Ward returns a fumble for a touchdown with Adairius Norwood (34) and Manny Longoria (2) clearing the way.
SEGUIN, Texas -- The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs dominated the Southwestern 27-0 Saturday night in Bulldog Stadium by forcing six turnovers and shutting out the Pirates for the first time in nine all-time meetings.
 
Southwestern came into the American Southwest Conference match-up averaging 48.5 points per game. But TLU's defense held the Pirates scoreless, recovered all four of Southwestern's fumbles, and intercepted a pair of Pirate passes.\
 
The Bulldogs improved to 2-1 overall and to 2-0 in the ASC. TLU snapped a four-game skid against the Pirates and shut out a squad that had scored 51 and 59 against TLU in the last two meetings.
 
Southwestern fell to 2-1 overall and to 1-1 in the ASC.
 
TLU senior cornerback Kedrick Ward (Missouri City/Elkins) started the TLU take-away party and the Bulldog scoring with a fumble recovery that he returned 15 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
 
"Our defense, they played with a lot of heart and a lot of pride," said Carl Gustafson, TLU's third-year head coach. "This is a big game because it was the next game, a conference game, but all week you could tell that there was a laser focus on the defensive side of the ball."
 
"I'm really proud of all of our players. The defense really set a tone. I'm proud of our defensive coaches, led by (Defensive Coordinator) Ricky Matt, who came up with a great plan that our guys went out and executed. We got a lot of turnovers."
 
The Bulldogs turned the first two Southwestern fumbles into touchdowns. After Ward's fumble recovery, on an errant pitch on an option play, Bulldog defensive lineman Sam Guzman (Buda/Hays) forced a fumble in the second quarter that Ward recovered near midfield.
 
Set up at the Southwestern 48, TLU sophomore quarterback Wade Freeman (Richmond/Bush), directed a seven-play drive that ended with a 10-yard scamper by Freeman for the score. The extra point was blocked, and TLU took a 13-0 lead into the half.
 
In the third quarter, following Southwestern drives that included a lost fumble and a punt, the Bulldogs drove 75 yards in six plays to take a 20-0 lead. Freeman scored again, this time on a 12-yard run.
 
On the scoring drive, Freeman hit CJ Romero (Odem/Odem) for 50 yards on 3rd-and-2 from the TLU 33 to put the Bulldogs into the red zone. Freeman scored three plays later on 3rd-and-5 from the 12.
 
"We made some adjustments in the locker room after the half," said Freeman. "In the booth, they saw some things that would allow us to get around the Southwestern defense, different formations and things like that. We adjusted, and it helped us in the second half."
 
Freeman finished the night with a career-best 117 yards rushing on 19 carries with the two rushing touchdowns. He also completed six of his 10 passes for 91 yards and no interceptions.
 
TLU rushed 48 times for 196 yards and had three rushing touchdowns. Christopher Monroe (College Station/College Station) capped the TLU scoring night with a 16-yard run at the 12:39 mark of the fourth quarter.
 
After racking up 331 rushing yards against Sewanee and 347 yards against Louisiana College, Southwestern managed just 158 on the ground against TLU. The Pirates rushed the ball 55 times and averaged 2.9 yards per carry.
 
Pirate quarterbacks also had little success against the TLU defense. Southwestern was 6-for-17 with two picks through the air.
 
"This is what is expected of us," said Derek Dunn (Houston/North Shore), TLU's senior linebacker. "Every day in practice, Coach Matt is hyping us about turnovers and pursuit to the ball. We run every day in practice, and we run hard."
 
"Stuff like this, goose eggs are deserved and expected out of a good defense like this. We have been working day in and day out in the hot sun, long hours, for games like this. Honestly, Southwestern is a great team. Hats off to them, but game's like this are expected from us." 
 
Dunn collected 11 total tackles, had two sacks for 18 yards, and registered five tackles for loss that resulted in 24 yards lost by the Pirates.
 
TLU had 14 total tackles for loss for 45 yards and four sacks for 27 yards. Manny Longoria (Geronimo/Navarro) had a sack and two tackles for loss.
 
Freshman strong safety Daniel Enriquez (Edinburg/Vela) tallied six tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, two pass breakups, and a blocked field goal.
 
Keyshawn Holman (Orange/West-Orange Stark) led TLU with 13 total tackles. 
 
The Bulldogs hit the road to Abilene, Texas next Saturday for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Top 10-ranked Hardin-Simmons. TLU will have live video and radio from HSU's Shelton Stadium. Pre-game coverage on tlubulldogs.com and Seguin's KWED 1580 AM starts at 5:30 p.m.