The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team broke open the game with a 28-point fourth quarter as the Cru rolled to a 66-27 victory over 3rd-ranked Linfield College Saturday night in Belton. UMHB improves to 3-0 on the season with the win while the Wildcats fall to 1-1 on the year. The Cru also picks up its first win over Linfield in five tries.
UMHB jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead before Linfield clawed back to within 24-20 at halftime. The Cru would get the ball to open the third quarter and Bryce Wilkerson electrified the crowd with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Baylor Mullins would add a 15-yard interception return for a score to put UMHB up 38-20. Sam Riddle threw his third touchdown pass of the night to cut it to 38-27 midway through the third quarter and it would stay that way until the wheels fell off for the Wildcats in the final stanza. A botched snap on a punt led to Blake Jackson’s three-yard touchdown run. Jackson hit Duane Thompson with a 23-yard touchdown pass to cap a 90-yard UMHB drive. Haston Adams scooped up another errant Linfield snap and rumbled 27 yards for a score and Markeith Miller put the cap on the scoring with an 87-yard touchdown run with 5:32 left to play.
John Mowery kicked a 38-yard field on the Cru’s opening drive of the game and Thompson scored on a three-yard run after a Linfield fumble to make it 10-0 UMHB at the end of the first. Riddle hit Johnny Carroll with a two-yard TD pass and Skylor Elgarico returned an interception 55 yards to give the Wildcats a 13-10 lead. Jackson threw a 42-yard scoring strike to Wykeyhe Walker to put UMHB up 17-13 and added a 17-yard TD pass to DeNerian Thomas to stretch it to 24-13. Riddle found Reed Peterson with a 49-yard touchdown pass with just 2:34 left in the half to make it 24-20 going to the break.
UMHB defense forced five Linfield turnovers and held twice on fourth-down attempts. The Cru held the high-powered Wildcats to one yard rushing and 348 yards of total offense. UMHB rolled up 335 yards on the ground and finished with 552 yards of total offense.
Jackson threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 98 yards and another score. Miller finished with 165 yards on just six carries. Thompson ran for 70 yards and caught a career-high five passes for 72 yards. UMHB also added three defensive and special teams touchdowns. Matt Cody had a team-high 10 tackles for the Cru.
Riddle was 25-37 for 340 yards and three touchdowns, but he was picked off twice and fumbled the ball away twice. Carroll caught seven passes for 73 yards and two scores and Eric Douglas added five grabs for 101 yards. Jason Farlow had a team-high 13 tackles for the Wildcats.
Linfield had won each of the previous four meetings between the two teams, all of them coming in the postseason. The Wildcats had ended UMHB’s season with three-point victories in each of the last two postseasons.
The Cru will now have an open date next Saturday before returning to action with the start of American Southwest Conference play. UMHB will host McMurry University in the conference opener at 1:00 PM on October 1st at Crusader Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the Cru and the War Hawks since the Second Round of the 2011 NCAA Division III National Championships.