INDIANAPOLIS– The ninth-ranked Hardin-Simmons football team earned one of five NCAA playoff spots and travels to San Antonio for a first-round game at Trinity on Saturday at noon.
The Cowboys, who were surprisingly left out of the playoffs last year, had a long 24-hour wait after finishing their regular season on Saturday with a 45-16 win over Texas Lutheran to finish with the same 9- 1. The emotions of last year and this year were completely different as the team watched the selection show in the locker room.
Last year, the Cowboys were knocked out for their non-conference schedule by the committee. HSU was able to schedule a quality non-conference Division III opponent in Wisconsin-Platteville. The Pioneers were a team that beat two teams on the field. HSU’s 41-0 win at Platteville strengthened the Cowboys’ case.
The Cowboys return to the playoffs for the first time since ending a four-year run to the playoffs in 2019. It’s the Cowboys’ 11e trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
HSU and Trinity had two memorable games in the NCAA playoffs. In 1999, Trinity escaped a late Cowboys 40-33 rally in San Antonio. The following year, in the National Quarterfinals, Melvin Dudley fended off a last-second pass intended for future NFL player Jerheme Urban in the corner of the end zone on the last play of the game to send the Cowboys into the semis. -NCAA Finals. Ironically, Urban is now the head coach of the Tigers.
It was the Cowboys’ last playoff victory. HSU is looking to break an eight-game losing streak in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Trinity is 10-0 on the year and is ranked sixth in the latest D3football.com poll. The Cowboys won the last meeting between the two teams, 16-10, in 2019 at Shelton Stadium. HSU has won five straight against Trinity and leads the all-time series 23-6-4.