• Brian L. Barefield

Panthers Bounce Back To Win Home Opener Against HBU

Quarterback Jawon Pass

PRAIRIE VIEW, Tx – The Prairie View A&M University football team played it’s first home game since November 16, 2019, on Saturday and they did not let the fans down with a 37-27 victory over Houston Baptist University.

The Panthers, who rebounded from a crushing defeat to Southland Conference opponent Incarnate Word a week prior, used a strong defensive effort in the second half to keep the Huskies winless on the season.

After giving up 24 first-half points, Prairie View’s defense, led by senior defensive lineman Jason Dumas, was able to hold HBU to just three points in the second half limiting the Huskies to just 105 total yards.

“I thought the guys settled down and worked hard and understood the corrections that needed to be made,” said Prairie View head coach Eric Dooley after the game. “I thought the guys came out and played hard for 60 minutes.”

Defensive lineman Jason Dumas

Prairie View needed to stay focus for all 60 minutes as the Huskies matched them score for score in the first half. Each team scored three touchdowns and it looked as if this would be a shootout as Huskies quarterback Blaise Bentsen passed for 93 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 72 yards rushing to give HBU a 24-23 lead at halftime.

Unfortunately, Bentsen would not be able to return for the second half of action as he suffered a concussion at the end of the first half and redshirt freshman Desmond King would have to lead the Huskies for the rest of the game.

HBU opened the second half with a 10-play drive that included a fake field goal that got the Huskies a new set of downs, but they were unable to reach the end zone and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Gino Garcia that increased the lead to 27-23.

Although the Panthers were behind, they never felt like they were out of the game. When you have one of the best quarterbacks in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in Louisville transfer Jawon Pass, the game isn’t over until the clock reaches all zeros.

It was Pass who help lead an 85-yard drive after the Huskies scored that was topped off by a two-yard rushing touchdown by running back Jaden Stewart that put Prairie View back on top and they would not relinquish the lead again.

“We just stuck to our game plan,” said Pass who finished the game with 356 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. “I just kept trying to make the right reads, the offensive line gave me time, and my receivers made plays for me. My teammates made it easier for me to make plays tonight.”

Defensive back Logan Jackson with the pick six.

One player that came up huge for the Panthers was junior cornerback Logan Jackson, who had one of the biggest plays in the second half to help seal the game for Prairie View.

Trailing 30-27 with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter, the Huskies got the ball back with a chance to either tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown. After quarterback Desmond Young was sacked for an eight-yard loss, he made a costly turnover on the very next play.

On 2nd and 18 from the HBU 12-yard line, King dropped back to pass, and it was intercepted by Jackson who returned it 20-yards for a touchdown as the crowd in Panther Stadium erupted.

“He [King] had threw a comeback earlier a couple drives before and I said, ‘If he throws that pass again, he was going to pay for it,’” said Jackson. “I seen it. I seen the route and I just trusted what my coaches taught me, and I just made a play to try to help the team win.”

Prairie View (2-1) will take on Grambling (1-2) this Saturday in the State Fair Classic in Dallas, Texas.

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