By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor looks to bounce back from their tough 29-26 loss to Hardin-Simmons, breaking their 61-game regular season undefeated streak and 39-game American Southwest Conference winning streak.
UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg noted that the Crusaders experienced some issues from last Saturday’s games that are being addressed during this week’s practices.
“We need to work on our communication and our red-zone offense,” UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg said. “We broke down in our communication fundamentally on defense and we have to get the ball in the end zone.”
The Crusaders can still win the ASC with two wins and a Hardin Simmons loss. The Cowboys currently lead the conference and are in the driver’s seat for a Pool B bid in the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
The kickoff at Crusader Stadium will be at 1 p.m. Saturday. The pregame show will start at 12:30 p.m. on KLTD-FM 101.7.
The Cru offense is using a lot of different weapons to put up some big numbers through thefirst eight games of the season, but is coming off a pair of sluggish outings.
UMHB is averaging 49.9 points, 230.5 yards rushing, 231.8 yards passing and 462.2 yards of total offense per game. The Cru is converting 37 percent of the time on third down and is 7-of-10 on fourth down tries on the season. UMHB has turned the ball over 11 times (6 INT, 5 fumbles) and has allowed 20 sacks on the season.
Zach Anderson has thrown for 1,453 yards and 14 touchdowns and has 211 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Blake Jackson has 285 yards passing and two touchdown passes and has added 199 yards and six touchdowns rushing.
Wide receivers Marcus Wimby and Wykeyhe Walker are tied for the team lead with 28 catches apiece.
Walker has 474 yards and eight touchdowns, while Wimby has 486 yards and two scores and added a rushing TD last week.
Three other players are also in double figures in receptions on the year. Malcolm Miller leads The Cru with 446 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 88 carries, but the team is truly using a running game by committee this year.
The Cru is averaging 33.7 yards per kickoff return and 13.8 yards per punt return as a team on the year.
One struggle that the Crusaders have had is penalties, with 63 calls for 545 yards through eight games.
Howard Payne’s defense has had a tough with the run and the pass in 2015. The Yellow Jackets are Allowing 39.8 points, 197.8 yards rushing, 274.9 passing yards and 472.7 yards of total offense per game. Opponents are converting an alarming 40 percent on third down and 57 percent of the time on fourth down this season. The Yellow Jackets has forced 12 turnovers (2 INT, 10 fumbles) and have 19 sacks on the year. Jason Disney leads the in tackles with 96 on the season and has one of the team’s two interceptions. WS Jordan has 58 total tackles and the other interception. The Yellow Jackets have blocked seven kicks on the season and have a fumble return for a score on the year.
The Yellow Jackets move the ball on offense, but the turnover bug has bitten at inopportune times. The Yellow Jackets average 19.9 points, 139.9 yards rushing, 212.8 yards passing and 352.6 yards of total offense per game this season. They converted 33 percent on third down and 33 percent of the time on fourth down. HPU has turned the ball over 23 times (15 INT, 8 fumbles) with four of those interceptions being returned for touchdowns.
Quarterback Richard Young is the top weapon on offense. He is 151-of-279 passing for 1,588 yards and nine scores to go with two rushing touchdowns. HPU is a running back by committee team as well. Justin Acosta leads the team in rushing with 256 yards and Patrick Hernandez has 217 yards and two scores on the year. Colby Mica leads the Yellow Jackets with 52 receptions for 677 yards and five touchdowns
Following last week, UMHB is still holding opponents to 14.1 points, 58.9 yards rushing, 223.2 passing yards and 282.1 yards of total offense per game. Opponents are converting 26 percent on third down and 42 percent on fourth down. UMHB has forced 22 turnovers (14 INT, 8 fumbles) and has a national-best 46 sacks as a team. Trey Thedford leads the team with 65 tackles (7.5 tackles for loss) and two interceptions. Teidrick Smith leads the Cru defense with 18.5 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks. Jon Isom has 15.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks. Haston Adams has 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks on the year. Raylon Hickey has four interceptions on the season.
The Cru has blocked seven kicks and has scored on two interception returns and a point-after-touchdown return.