JACKSON, Miss. - Junior Frederick Hover accounted for seven touchdowns including a passing, rushing, and receiving touchdown as the Southwestern University football team racked up a season-high 689 yards of total offense in a 60-31 road win over the Belhaven Blazers at Belhaven Bowl Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Pirates rushed for a 410 yards yards on the evening while throwing for 279. Southwestern was an impressive 10 of 13 on third downs while averaging 8.7 yards per play. Belhaven was a tough offensive opponent on Saturday, accounting for 510 total yards including 428 through the air.
The Pirates used a little trickeration on their first drive for the early lead as a lateral to junior AJ Daniels turned into a 32 yard touchdown pass to Hover a 7-0 lead.
Belhaven responded with back-to-back touchdowns going into the second quarter as Brad Foley hauled in a pass from 30 yards out from Watson Fondren while Marquis Hedge ran it in from seven yards out to make it 14-7 midway through the second.
Southwestern proceeded to go on an 8 play, 60 yard drive thanks in part to the legs of Hover. Freshman Elijah Smith found a seam in the defense and darted 22 yards for a touchdown to even the score at 14 a piece.
After forcing the Blazers to punt, Hover connected with freshman Jaxon Borowski three different times including a 27 yard score to cap a five play, 72 yard drive with 31 seconds left to take a 21-14 lead into the break.
In the second half, Belhaven went 59 yards in four plays as Watson Fondren threw a 15 yard score to Quan Jones to even the score back up at 21.
It would be the final time the game would be tied as Southwestern went 75 yards in five plays capped by a 50 yard touchdown pass from Hover to junior Landry Bray to move the lead back to 27-21.
Southwestern would force a turnover on downs on the next possession and it only took one play to increase the lead as this time Hover threw the pass to Daniels, who went 42 yards for a score to push the lead out to 33-21.
The Blazers answered as Fondren found Foley for the second time, this time from 33 yards out, to cut the deficit to 33-28.
From there, the Pirates would not look back, scoring on every offensive possession in the second half. The Pirates went 48 yards in six plays behind a strong rushing attack from Hover and Smith, capped by a one yard plunge from Hover to move ahead 40-28.
After another turnover on downs forced by the Pirates late in the third quarter, Hover connected with Borowski for the second time on the evening from 26 yards out and suddenly SU had a 47-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Southwestern went ino the fourth and finished off a 10 play, 53 yard drive with a 12 yard rushing touchdown from Hover to make the score 54-31. Belhaven looked as though they were going to add more points to the board to try and stay in the contest, but sophomore Josiah Minnifield came away with the interception to keep the Blazers off the board.
SU was able to score one more time late in the fourth as sophomore Craig Heiser III connected with Borowski for a 36 yard gain to the one, setting up a one yard score from Heiser to end the game with a 60-31 victory.
Hover went 9 of 12 for 211 yards and four scores while also rushing 27 times for 201 yards and two scores. He also had one reception for 32 yards and a score as he finished with 444 yards of offense and seven touchdowns.
Smith rushed 18 times for 96 yards and a score while freshman David Brandenburg rushed eight times for 86 yards. Borowski caught five passes for 120 yards and two scores while Bray caught two passes for 65 yards. Daniels caught one score and threw for one score.
Fondren finished 36 of 56 for the Blazers for 428 yards and three scores while Foley rushed for 79 yards on 10 carries. Jones caught 12 passes for 210 yards and a score.
Defensively, senior Nik Kelly had nine tackles and three pass breakups while sophomore Hayden Smith had eight tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss. Minnifield added an interceptions while freshman Ben Brockman had four tackles and a tackle for loss.
For Belhaven, Denarrius Noel led teh way with 11 tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss while Keither Marshall had seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
Southwestern moves to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in ASC play. They will go into their bye week next weekend before returning to action on October 28th as they travel to Abilene, Texas for their second matchup against a top five opponent this season, taking on No. 5 Hardin-Simmons at 1:30 PM.