For the second straight week, Austin College used a strong defensive effort in the second half to rally for a victory.

For the second straight week, Austin College used a strong defensive effort in the second half to rally for a victory.

This time three interceptions and a blocked field goal sparked the Roos to a 19-16 win against Howard Payne University on Saturday afternoon at Apple Stadium.

Delmas Hoye picked off a pair of passes and Shane Hodge blocked a last second-field goal attempt to secure the victory for Austin College (2-2).

Neither team was able to muster much offense early on. Howard Payne went 70 yards in 12 plays on the team’s opening possession and got a four-yard touchdown run by Richard Young to go on top early but after that the teams slugged things out defensively for the rest of the half.

The only other points in the half came on a 25-yard field goal by Javi Reynoso with 12 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 7-3 as the ‘Roo defense held the Jackets to just 13 rushing yards and 99 yards total. Austin College struggled to get much going on offense as well with just 116 yards of total offense as the teams went into the break.

Austin College grabbed the lead in the second half in part to a pair of Howard Payne penalties. After Kevin Ray returned a short kickoff 34 yards to start the half, the Jackets were flagged for holding to tack on 10 additional yards, and with the ‘Roos facing third-and-10, HPU was called for pass interference to keep the drive alive.

Four plays later, Noah Jesko found Gabe McCarthy for a 14-yard touchdown strike to make it 9-7 after Reynoso’s point after attempt was blocked.

The lead didn’t last long as Young found Colby Mica for a 53-yard touchdown to make it 13-9 after Joshua Martinez missed the extra point with 6:20 left in the third quarter. Martinez tacked on three more points for the Jackets before the end of the quarter, hitting a 22-yarder to send Howard Payne into the fourth quarter leading 16-9.

Hoye’s first interception and 21-yard return set up a 31-yard field goal by Reynoso to cut it to 16-12 with 11:20 left in the game. His second interception, off a tipped pass at the Austin College two yard line, was returned 75 yards, setting up what would become the game-winning possession for Austin College.

Facing third-and-nine, Jesko found Kyle Crawford for a 15-yard completion and three plays later Jesko connected with Mitch Trentman for a 10-yard scoring strike to make it 19-16 with 4:11 remaining.

After the teams traded punts on the next two possessions, Howard Payne took over at its 44-yard line with 1:36 remaining and drove down to the Austin College 18 before a critical holding call backed the Jackets up to the 28-yard line. With four seconds remaining, Hodge came around the edge and got a hand on the Martinez field goal try to seal the win for Austin College.

Austin College finished with just 221 yards of offense as Jesko completed 12-of-27 passes for 126 yards, two touchdowns and a pick and Madison Ross carried 13 times for 51 yards. Trentman finished with three catches for 53 yards and a score and Crawford added four receptions for 34 yards.

Brooks Ward led the a defense that piled up 13 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three interceptions and nine quarterback hurries by making 14 stops. Colter Headrick added 10 tackles and Hoye finished the game with six stops and two picks. Jantzen Foster made nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks.

Young led Howard Payne, completing 27-of-42 passes for 284 yards with most of that coming from Mica, who made 10 catches for 196 yards. Zarron Dove carried 19 times for 82 yards.

Austin College travels to Southwestern University at 3 p.m. on Saturday.