GEORGETOWN, Texas – Overcoming a 10-point deficit after the first quarter, the East Texas Baptist University football team emerged victorious outscoring the Southwestern Pirates 28-7 on their way to a 28-17 win in their first game of the spring 2021 season. ETBU is now 1-0 on the season and in the American Southwest Conference East Division.

Despite being outgained in total offense (336-271), the Tigers were able to benefit with 160 yards passing from Aaron Brown in his first ever start at ETBU. Brown also completed 17-of-26 passes and two touchdowns. The Tigers also gained 111 yards rushing as Bailey Badeaux finished with 53 yards and one touchdown. Jalen Blanton led all receivers with four receptions for 46 yards while DeCarlos Frazier (three receptions for 36 yards) and Tariq Gray (three receptions for 21 yards) caught touchdown passes.

On defense, Justice Henson and Azaya Patrick recorded nine tackles each while Henson recorded a pick-six. Josh Reed had two tackles for loss while Zach Pike finished with eight tackles and also had an interception and forced a fumble.

The Pirates received the kickoff and drove down the field before the Tigers recorded an interception, which was then called back due to a pass interference penalty. On their second chance, the Pirates converted a field goal from 35 yards out for the 3-0 lead. ETBU’s first drive ended with a fumble recovered at the Pirate 45-yard line. Capitalizing on their field position, SU converted a 16-yard completion for a touchdown to take a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

A critical pass interference call on the Pirates started the second quarter as ETBU went 10 plays for 68 yards to get on the board. It was a 21-yard completion from Brown to Frazier that put the Tigers in the end zone trailing 10-7. Facing a fourth-and-1 from ETBU’s 44-yard line, the Pirates gambled and went for it. KJ Kelley made the tackle to prevent a first down and gave the ball back to the Tigers. Once again, ETBU scored as Brown found Gray from 10 yards out to give ETBU a 14-10 lead. The Pirates would answer back with a touchdown on their next drive to take the lead, 17-14. But ETBU was undeterred as they answered with their third straight touchdown drive. This time, it was Badeaux, who rushed for 10 yards to put ETBU up 21-17. SU’s last drive of the half ended with a turnover on downs.

After a Tiger punt opened the third quarter, SU’s first drive ended when Pike intercepted a pass and returned to the Pirate 47. ETBU would then throw two interceptions on their next two drives. Fortunately, the Pirates failed to score as the first drive ended with a punt while the second one ended with a missed field goal attempt. ETBU took over at their own 30 and drove to the 28 yard-line before facing fourth-and-eight. They were unable to get the first down and turned the ball over. ETBU’s defense forced the Pirates to punt as the score stayed the same entering the fourth quarter.

The first three drives of the fourth quarter resulted in punts for both teams. SU had the ball on their own 20-yard-line and moved 12 yards. On third-and-five, Henson intercepted a pass and brought it back for 37 yards for a touchdown pushing the lead to 11, 28-17. Two SU drives later, the Pirates had the ball at ETBU’s six-yard line, but were able to score as ETBU’s defense had a goal line stand preventing the score. The Tigers took over and ran the clock to grab a win.

ETBU will return Marshall, Texas, for their home opener against Belhaven University next Saturday at 1:00 PM.