Despite beating Austin College 36-24 Saturday at Young-Wise Memorial Stadium, Hendrix College coach Buck Buchanan was not pleased with the performance.
“I was really disappointed with our offensive line in the second half,” he said. “We didn’t control the line of scrimmage. As I’ve said, their front seven is really good and they did a good job of mixing things up on us. We have to grow up out there if we want to get better as a team.
“On defense, we had plenty of opportunities to get off the field in certain situations, but we let them stay on the field. We had chances to get interceptions and fumbles, but we didn’t. We can’t play tired and make those plays. A lot of those plays occurred on third down, which they ended up going for it on fourth down and making it. We have to play through that adversity. We can’t create adversity for ourselves.”
The Warriors (3-1, 1-1 Southern Athletic Association) struck quickly on a 25-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Miles Thompson to junior Michael Spainhour of Greenbrier for a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
However, the Roos (2-2, 0-2 SAA) returned the favor on a 6-yard run by sophomore running back Brandon Evans.
From there, Hendrix began to pad the cushion, scoring on its next two opportunities, one on a 57-yard pass from Thompson to senior Ben Luedtke, and then a second on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to sophomore tight end Gage Oppel, bringing the score to 19-7 before the end of the first quarter.
Before halftime, the Warriors had built a 36-10 lead, but allowed Austin College to climb within 12 right after the start of the fourth quarter.
“Hats off to Austin for hanging in there,” Buchanan said. “I told our guys at halftime, if [the Roos] score on this opening drive, they are going to keep battling and it’s going to be a dogfight. If we put the dagger in, then everyone will have a chance to play.
“Hats off to them because they fought back and adjusted a lot of what they did on offense the first three weeks. They did a good job of game-planning. In the end, we were better than them, but we definitely need to execute better.”
Late in the game, Austin was drove 78 yards to the Hendrix 6, but failed to score on three straight attempts. Had it scored a touchdown, it would have been a five-point game with 4:51 left on the clock.
Despite being unhappy with the overall performance, Buchanan was happy with how his team fought and can build on.
“I was really proud of the team for fighting through a hot day and fighting through adversity, a lot of which we put on ourselves,” he said. “We won. We need to grow up and learn from those situations. It was a great learning experience.”
Thompson, who Buchanan said should earn a player of the week award for how he extended plays, finished with 323 yards passing and four touchdowns, completing 19 of 37 passes.
Luedtke, who played his final game of his career with Hendrix because of scheduled hand surgery, finished with 87 yards and one touchdown on three receptions.
The Warriors will look to tighten things up for its Saturday matchup with Sewanee.