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Texas Lutheran forces five turnovers, returns three for TDs in 38-27 win at No. 6 HSU

Texas Lutheran forces five turnovers, returns three for TDs in 38-27 win at No. 6 HSU
ABILENE, Texas -- The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs forced five turnovers and returned three of those for touchdowns in a 38-27 road upset of sixth-ranked Hardin-Simmons.
 
The victory, just TLU's second win at Shelton Stadium in 12 tries, moved the Bulldogs to 3-1 overall and to 3-0 in the American Southwest Conference. The Bulldogs won for the third time in the series with the Cowboys. HSU leads the series 19-3.
 
HSU fell to 4-1 overall and to 3-1 in the ASC.
 
The three defensive touchdowns for TLU came on: a 58-yard interception return by freshman safety Daniel Enriquez (Edinburg/Vela), a 39-yard fumble recovery by senior defensive end Manny Longoria (Geronimo/Navarro), and a 25-yard interception return by junior defensive end Jackson Worley (Keller/Timber Creek).
 
"Three defensive touchdowns, that is just amazing," said Carl Gustafson, TLU's third-year head coach. "I don't know that I have seen a game in the last 10 years in which a defense has scored three touchdowns. (The defense) really played well. Our hats off to Hardin-Simmons. They kept battling back. It was a game until there were zeros left on the clock."
 
"I'm just really proud. I can't tell you how proud I am of how hard our kids played. They stayed with things. They didn't panic. They were inspirational to watch. This is my 35th year, and this was one of the special games, by a special group of young men. They have the resolve. They have the leadership. They have the character. When good guys do well, it gives me hope."
 
A fourth TLU touchdown after an HSU turnover came four plays after the first of Enriquez's two interceptions against the Cowboys.
 
Later in the half, with HSU trying to get in position for a late second-quarter score, Enriquez stepped in front of a Brennan Wooten pass and dashed down the right sideline for the 58-touchdown. Twelve seconds remained in the first half after the Enriquez pick-six. TLU led 17-10 at the break.
 
"What a humble young man," Gustafson said of Enriquez. "Daniel is just playing football. And with the moment, the hype, the gravity of the game, he's just having fun. There's something really refreshing about that. To see a young man go out there and play like he has played all season, it has really been a big benefit for not just our defense but our whole football team."
 
The three defensive touchdowns in a single game is a new record for games played in TLU's non-scholarship era, which began in 1998.
 
"The coaching staff put in a good scheme for us, and they prepare us," said Enriquez. "That package specifically was to rob the pass, to not let them catch it on us. They would have to run to score on us. That package helped me to get in good position to pick those two balls."
 
Longoria's fumble return and score gave TLU its first 11-point lead of the night, midway through the third quarter.
 
"We got here, and everybody was laser-focused," said Longoria. "And it's not about one guy. I make plays. Everybody makes plays. But none of those plays can be made without everyone doing their job. It allows us to cut loose as individuals."
 
TLU survived the nation's rushing leader, Jaquan Hemphill, going for 304 yards on 32 carries and scoring three times. Hemphill gave HSU the early lead with a 97-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The scoring play was the longest in HSU history.
 
Facing 3rd-and-14 from deep in their own territory, and trailing 31-27 with under seven minutes to play, Wooten tried to find Hemphill on a screen pass in the left flat. Worley, TLU's right defensive end, used his 6-foot-4 frame to grab the pass intended for Hemphill and ran untouched into the endzone to restore the Bulldogs' 11-point advantage.
 
Worley's interception was the fourth of the day thrown by Wooten, who completed nine of 18 passes for 57 yards.
 
TLU sacked HSU quarterbacks five times for 21 yards and registered eight tackles for 31 yards in losses.
 
Bulldog linebacker Derek Dunn (Houston/North Shore), the reigning ASC Defensive Player of the Week, had 17 tackles, two sacks for 11 yards, and 2.5 tackles for 13 yards.
 
Linebacker Sam Guzman (Buda/Hays) tallied 11 tackles, and free safety James Bell (Houston/Lamar) had an interception to go along with his eight total tackles.
 
Austin Mathews (Houston/Clear Creek) rushed for two scores. His 30-yard touchdown run near the end of the third quarter came on a 4th-and-2 play.
 
TLU returns home to Seguin and to Bulldog Stadium for next Saturday's Alumni and Family Weekend game against Louisiana College. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. with pre-game coverage on KWED 1580 AM and tlubulldogs.com beginning at 5:30 p.m.