Not a Saturday CRUise

by / 0 Comments / 38 View / November 4, 2016

The Saturday stage was set at Crusader Stadium for the annual tussle between Division III No. 3-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and No. 9-ranked Hardin-Simmons, with sole possession of the American Southwest Conference lead and the inside track on a conference championship.
UMHB rallied from its first fourth-quarter deficit of the season by forcing a crucial turnover to survive a challenge from Cowboys to post a 20-15 win on Homecoming 2016.
UMHB improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the win and takes over sole possession of first place in the ASC. The loss dropped HSU to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in ASC play on the year.
UMHB grabbed a 3-0 lead on Mowery’s 42-yard field goal with 5:02 remaining in the first quarter.
Hardin-Simmons took the lead on Ryan Breton’s 13-yard pass to Alex Bell, but the Cowboys missed the extra point to leave it 6-3 HSU.
Nico Francino added a 34-yard field goal to give Hardin-Simmons a 9-3 lead with 4:04 left in the first half, but the Cru answered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive, capped by Jackson’s 15-yard touchdown toss to Bryce Wilkerson to make it 10-9 UMHB at halftime.
The drive was highlighted by a 41-yard on second down and nine at the UMHB 41 from Blake Jackson to T.J. Josey. Jackson dropped back in the pocket and let the pass fly towards the UMHB sideline. Josey created an opening and scooped the ball before it hit the turf at the HSU 18. It was a solid adjustment and a highlight reel-worthy catch.
“When the play started, T.J. was matched one-on-one with his guy,” Jackson said. “I saw that he had a step as the play progressed and then they were even. I just gave him a chance and that’s what we do with all of our receivers: just give them a chance to make a play.”
“Coming at it, we knew what we were running on the play and we had a lot of options that gave us,” Josey said. “I told Blake to just threw it up to me and I came down with it.”
UMHB held a narrow 10-9 lead at halftime, but the Cowboys erased that as Jaquan Hemphill scored on a one-yard run with 10:01 left in the third quarter. HSU’s two-point try was no good, leaving it a 15-10 Cowboy lead.
UMHB cut it to 15-13 on John Mowery’s 32-yard field goal with 4:04 to go in the third quarter.
It stayed that way into the fourth quarter before the Cru forced the game’s only turnover and made Hardin-Simmons pay for the miscue. Hunter Schmidt picked off a Ryan Breton pass at the Cowboy 40 on the opening play of the fourth quarter and he returned it to the HSU four-yard line. Two plays later, Blake Jackson found Carson Embry with a six-yard scoring strike and John Mowery’s extra point made it 20-15 Cru. Hardin-Simmons drove to the UMHB 20-yard line on the ensuing possession, but Breton’s fourth-down pass was knocked down by Matt Cody out of the back of the end zone for a turnover on downs. The Cru drove into Cowboy territory and used a Baylor Mullins punt to pin HSU at its own four-yard line. UMHB’s defense forced a three-and-out and the Cru was able to run out the clock and preserve the victory.
The Cru was limited to just 300 yards of total offense with 176 of those coming through the air. Hardin-Simmons finished with 367 yards of total offense, but committed the game’s only turnover. The Cowboys were the first team this season to hold UMHB under 50 points in a game.
“It wasn’t ugly, it was beautiful,” UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg said. “You have to give credit to Hardin-Simmons. They played with a great deal of energy and they had a lot of formations in the past that they changed. They did a good job, but we were fortunate. Our hats to these boys for winning a close ball game like that. We understand that every team that plays us is going to give us a tremendous effort and they certainly did.”
Jackson was 17-of-23 for 176 yards and two touchdowns for the Cru. T.J. Josey caught five passes for 85 yards and Markeith Miller led the running game with nine carries for 44 yards.
“We were just taking we they were giving us defensively,” Jackson said. “We were reading a couple of things. We knew we would be in for a war in all fourth quarters, with it being a big ball game. We knew that offensively throughout the week and I didn’t think there was anything conservative about the offense.”
Mullins has 10 total tackles, put five of his six punts inside the Cowboy 20-yard line and added a 25-yard run from punt formation for a first down for UMHB.
Breton finished 19-of-33 for 235 yards and a score and Hemphill ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Bell caught five passes for 94 yards and a score. Cory Ward had a game-high 16 tackles and added 1.5 sacks and a pass break-up to lead the HSU defense.
“They had a good game plan and Breton kept drives alive with his feet,” UMHB linebacker Keith Reineke said. “They were finding holes in our secondary. Our boys knew it was going to be a battle as well. We gritted our teeth, hunkered down and did what we needed to do.”
The Cru will go back on the road for an ASC battle at Sul Ross State this Saturday. UMHB will take on the Lobos in a 2 p.m. kickoff at Jackson Field in Alpine.