By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The No. 2 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team and its Crusader Nation made their presence felt at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah on Friday, Dec. 14, seeking their second national championship since 2016.
But in order to reclaim the D-III crown, they had to take on No. 1 Mount Union, who ended the Crusaders’ reign at the top and their 29-game winning streak in 2017 at Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl XLV, 12-0.
The UMHB contingent comprised the majority of the announced 6,816 attendance, which included a completely sold out visiting side (UMHB was the home team but was seated on the visiting side for television purposes). In fact, in the general admission format that the NCAA used for the game, the overflow of Crusader fans was directed to the home side of the stadium after the visiting side was packed to capacity.
Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl XLVI was an exciting event on the field as well, which included something that had not happened to their Crusaders all season: the team trailed for the first time.
Trailing in the first quarter, 10-0, Crusader Nation got behind the Crusaders football team. UMHB scored 14 points in the second quarter and took a 14-13 lead into the locker room.
UMHB opened an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and held off an extremely tenacious Mount Union offense late to clinch their second NCAA Division III National Championship with a 24-16 win over the Purple Raiders.
UMHB ended their season 15-0, with a national championship, an American Southwest Conference title and a 15-game winning streak. They have either won outright or split every ASC title since 2005. Since 2010, they have a combined record of 114-8.
The Crusaders snapped Mount Union’s 29-game winning streak and bid at their 14th national title.
T.J. Josey was named Stagg Bowl XLVI’s Most Outstanding Player.