UMHB football to host Wheaton in NCAA Quarterfinals this Saturday

Posted at 8:54 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 21:54:12-05

For the tenth time in the 19-year history of the program, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team will play an NCAA Quarterfinal game when the Cru takes on Wheaton College this Saturday at Crusader Stadium. That game will kick off at noon with a berth in the NCAA Division III Semifinals on the line.

UMHB is 12-0 on the season and advanced to the Quarterfinals with a 27-10 victory over Linfield College last Saturday in Belton. It was the Cru’s first playoff victory over the Wildcats in five tries and Linfield had ended UMHB’s postseason run in each of the previous two seasons.

Wheaton is 11-1 on the season and moved into the Quarterfinals after knocking off conference rival North Central College 31-14 last Saturday in Napierville, Illinois. The Thunder was the runner-up to North Central in the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin this season after losing to the Cardinals 35-25 in the regular season. Wheaton enters Saturday’s contest with one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses in every major category while the Cru is leading the nation in scoring offense. The two teams will be meeting for the first time and UMHB has never faced a team from the state of Illinois. The learning curve will be a steep one for both teams, but both programs also know the challenge ahead when you reach this round of the playoffs.

“I challenged our guys to really take the momentum we have and to grow from it and keep getting better,” Cru football coach Pete Fredenburg said. “Wheaton plays really hard and plays really well. They have good size and look great on video with the ability to do a lot of things well. Our players understand what it takes to keep advancing. Everyone still playing is really good. I think last week’s game was a big step forward for us. This program and this team have high expectations and I think everyone here is well aware of that going into this football game.”

UMHB will enter the game ranked #1 in the country by and the Cru is ranked #2 nationally by the American Football Coaches Association. The Thunder is ranked #13 in the nation by and is 12th in the country in the AFCA Top 25 Poll. This will be the first time Wheaton has played a football game in the state of Texas and the first time the Cru has faced an opponent from the CCIW. UMHB is looking for a sixth trip to the National Semifinals while Wheaton is looking for the second Semifinal berth in program history. The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to face the Mount Union/Alfred University winner in the NCAA Semifinals.