The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team dominated the first half and used a stifling defensive effort to make it stand up as the Cru rolled to a 63-7 victory over Louisiana College Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB wraps up its sixth undefeated regular season in the last seven years with the win to improve to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in American Southwest Conference play. The loss ends Louisiana College’s season at 4-6 overall and 1-5 in ASC play.
The Cru took a 7-0 lead on its opening possession when Blake Jackson hit Carson Embry with a 53-yard touchdown pass. Jackson added a 44-yard scoring strike to Bryce Wilkerson six minutes later to stretch it to 14-0. Wykeyhe Walker’s spectacular one-handed grab in the end zone on an eight-yard pass from Jackson gave UMHB a 21-0 lead on the opening play of the second quarter. The Wildcats scored on an 11-yard pass from Easton Melancon to Shedrick Davis with 8:23 left in the first half to cut the gap to 21-7, but DeNerian Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a Cru score to make it 28-7 and steal back to momentum. Markeith Miller and Isaiah Shepherd added scoring runs to give UMHB a 42-7 lead at halftime. Jackson, Miller and Trinton Ynclan all ran for third quarter touchdowns to take it out to 63-7 and the Cru defense took over the rest of the way.
UMHB rolled up 619 yards of total offense in the game with 363 of those coming on the ground. The Cru defense held Louisiana College to -7 rushing yards as a team and 325 yards of total offense. UMHB also forced three turnovers and recorded five sacks as a team.
Miller finished with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and Shepherd added 92 yards and a score on eight carries. Jackson was 17-21 through the air for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Wilkerson caught six passes for 91 yards and Walker became the Cru’s all-time leader in receptions with 124, topping Marcus Wimby’s mark by one. Tevin Jones had a team-high nine tackles and Teidrick Smith had six tackles, 3.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss for UMHB. Thomas’ kickoff return ties the UMHB and ASC record for longest kickoff return.
Melancon finished 32-54 for 332 yards and a touchdown for LC. Lamar Carroway caught nine passes for 122 yards and Davis added nine grabs for 76 yards and a score. Aurren Cooksey was limited to just 14 rushing yards on 23 carries for the Wildcats. Josh Pickett had a team-high 11 tackles and Mike Collins added 10 stops for LC in the loss.
The victory locked up UMHB’s 12th consecutive ASC title and 14th overall in the 19-year history of the program. The Cru will now advance to the NCAA Division III National Championships for the 15th time in program history. The 32-team field for the postseason will be announced at 5:00 PM Central Time on Sunday. UMHB will find out its First Round opponent and game site at that time. You can find updates on the athletic department web site at www.cruathletics.com.