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HSU, McMurry rivalry game big for different reasons

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ABILENE, Texas - What better way to close out the conference season than a good old fashioned rivalry game? Good news, HSU and McMurry will be doing just that come Saturday afternoon.

The Cowboys will visit Wilford Moore Stadium in the annual college crosstown classic, looking for a fifth-straight win in the rivalry game that was brought back in 2014 after a four-year hiatus.

But a win would be huge for either team, for different reasons. Sure bragging rights are on the line - I mean the schools sit just a few miles apart. But for HSU, a good showing on Saturday would help to solidify its postseason chances and seedings as they try and end the season 9-1.

"It's got to be all three phases working perfectly together and that's got to be the goal for our guys," said HSU head coach Jesse Burleson. "We're just going to continue to focus on us, and enjoy being in the game but also key in on getting ourselves better."

But for McMurry, a win would not only be huge for the program in terms of beating a ranked opponent (HSU is ranked 5 th by d3football.com), but also for its outlook on the offseason and momentum in to 2018.

"There is some familiarities when it comes to recruiting because we go after the same kids," said War Hawks head coach Lance Hinson. "But for us, what we're looking for is just that we want to go out and compete with one of the best. The culture that Hardin-Simmons has developed over there is kind of what I've been talking about the last couple years as what we're shooting for."

But on paper the 2 nd ranked scoring offense of HSU, with 1,000 yard back Jaquan Hemphill and preseason All-American WR Reese Childress, have the upper hand. Don't tell the guys down south that, because in this game when these two teams meet, it's anything goes.

"That's always a great, fun atmosphere to be a part of -- no matter which team is doing well or which team is not. It's still the rivalry," said Hinson.

"You've got to throw the records and the stats and all those things -- you've got to throw those out the window and focus on what the main thing is and that's us trying to put together a compete performance," added Burleson. "It's got to be all three phases working perfectly together and that's got to be the goal for our guys."

HSU and McMurry kick-off at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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