FCS team of the week: Houston Baptist seizes a win

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - Houston Baptist played the way on Saturday that any struggling, albeit growing, team should do - it went for it.

Not only with a focused style of play, but when there was an opportunity to pull out a rare victory.

The Huskies did all of that and more in beating South Dakota, 53-52. When the STATS FCS Team of the Week scored to pull within one point with 1:14 remaining, it went for a two-point conversion, and wide receiver Ben Ratzlaff connected with H-back Coleman Robinson for the difference maker as the Huskies (2-1) ended a 20-game losing streak against Division I competition.

"They just went out there and executed what their game plan was. That's what it came down to," USD linebacker Jack Cochrane told the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan.

HBU's sixth-year Southland Conference program entered the matchup with only 11 all-time wins under coach Vic Shealy, and five were against sub-FCS programs, including against Texas Wesleyan last weekend. The Huskies had only won once in 43 games when they were tied or trailing after three quarters.

They struck in the first minute of the fourth quarter when Bailey Zappe's fifth touchdown pass broke a 38-38 tie. Kai Henry then rushed for a pair of scores to put South Dakota back on top 52-45, but Zappe led a nine-play, 70-yard drive in the final three minutes, capped by running back Dreshawn Minnieweather, lined up in a Wildcat formation, scoring from 1 yard out. After the two-point conversion, the Huskies stopped USD with defensive end Andre Walker's fourth sack of the game and freshman safety Tra Fluellen's game-sealing interception of Coyotes quarterback Austin Simmons.

Zappe, like Simmons, surpassed 500 passing yards in a game with 1,238 yards of total offense. The junior completed 41-of-53 passes for 513 yards, setting school records for completions and yardage and tying the touchdown mark. Ratzlaff broke school records with 12 receptions for 153 yards and three TDs, and Jerreth Sterns and Gamar Girdy Brito also went over 100 receiving yards.

HONORABLE MENTION: Alabama A&M (31-24 win over North Alabama); The Citadel (27-24 OT win over Georgia Tech); North Dakota (27-23 win over No. 23 Sam Houston State); No. 8 Towson (45-23 win over No. 7 Maine); VMI (31-24 OT win over ETSU)

Updated September 15, 2019

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