The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team rallied from its first fourth-quarter deficit of the season by forcing a crucial turnover and the Cru survived a challenge from nationally-ranked Hardin-Simmons to post a 20-15 victory over the Cowboys Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB improves 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 drops HSU to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in ASC play on the year.
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 would stay 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 sailed out 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.
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 Breton’s 13-yard scoring 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 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.
Jackson was 17-23 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. 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 19-33 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.
The Cru will go back on the road for an ASC battle at Sul Ross State next Saturday. UMHB will take on the Lobos in a 2:00 PM kickoff at Jackson Field in Alpine.