The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team dominated the first half and the Cru rolled to a 50-6 victory over Chapman University in an NCAA Division III National Championships First Round game Saturday in Belton. UMHB improves to 11-0 on the season and moves in the Second Round of the playoffs with the victory. The loss ends the Panthers season at 6-3 overall.
UMHB threw an interception and missed a field goal on its first two possessions before breaking through with Markeith Miller’s three-yard touchdown run with 2:42 left in the first quarter. Carl Robinson III’s six-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to make it 14-0 Cru and UMHB stretched it to 16-0 when a punt snap soared over the head of Chapman punter Elias Deeb for a safety. Miller added a one-yard scoring run and Robinson hit Reed with a 26-yard scoring strike to stretch it to 30-0 UMHB at halftime. The Cru held the Panthers to -4 yards of total offense in the first half while rolling up 300 total yards offensively.
Byron Proctor wrapped touchdown runs of nine and two yards around Bryce Wilkerson’s 46-yard punt return for a touchdown to stretch the Cru’s lead to 50-0. Chapman would break the shutout when Trevor Vill wrestled the ball away from UMHB defensive back Reginald Cole on the game’s final play for a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Bautista as the Panthers cut it to the final margin when both coaches agreed not to attempt the extra point.
UMHB finished with 75 offensive plays for 430 yards of total offense with 292 of those coming through the air. The Cru limited Chapman to six yards rushing and 213 yards of total offense. Both teams turned the ball over once and UMHB converted nine of 15 third down attempts.
Robinson was 19-30 through the air for 244 yards and two touchdowns for the Cru. T.J. Josey caught seven passes for 115 yards and Reed added five grabs for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Miller and Proctor both ran for two scores and Wilkerson both the American Southwest Conference record for combined kick returns for touchdowns with his third quarter punt return. Rozzell Barber-Harris led UMHB with a career-high seven tackles and Jordan Millar added two sacks.
Bautista finished 21-40 through the air for Chapman for 207 yards and a touchdown. Jacob Isabel caught nine passes for 85 yards and Joe Mudie ran for 39 yards on 15 carries. Curt Calomeni had a game-high 13 tackles to lead the Panther defense in the loss.
The Cru will now advance to the Second Round of the NCAA Division III National Championships for the 14th straight year. UMHB will face the Linfield College/Hardin-Simmons University First Round game in a guaranteed rematch of a regular season contest next Saturday. The game site for that game will be announced Sunday afternoon. Chapman was making its second appearance in the NCAA Division III National Championships.