The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team smothered the Linfield College offense and the Cru rolled to a 24-0 victory over the Wildcats in an NCAA Division III National Championships Second Round Game Saturday in Belton. UMHB improves to 12-0 with the victory and advances to the Quarterfinals. The loss ends Linfield’s season at 9-2 overall.
A botched punt snap on the game’s opening possession set up a short field for the Cru and Bryce Wilkerson scored on a 17-yard reverse to give UMHB a 7-0 lead just 2:52 into the game. The Cru missed a field goal after taking over on another short field and it would stay 7-0 into the second quarter. Carl Robinson III broke off a 36-yard touchdown run to cap a 97-yard UMHB drive to push the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter and John Mowery tacked on a 25-yard field goal to give the Cru a 17-0 lead at halftime. UMHB’s defense held Linfield to two first downs and 48 yards of total offense in that first half.
The Wildcats offense started to click early in the second half and drove inside the UMHB five-yard line on Linfield’s opening possession of the third quarter. The Cru defense stopped the Wildcats at the UMHB one-yard on a fourth-and-goal attempt to take over deep in Cru territory. Robinson led UMHB on a six-play, 99-yard drive and hit Jonel Reed with a 32-yard touchdown pass to provide the final points of the game. Linfield turned the ball over on downs twice and threw an interception in the Wildcats final three drives of the game as the Cru held on for its third shutout of the season.
UMHB rolled up 378 yards of total offense with 227 of those coming through the air and the Cru controlled the ball for over 18 minutes of the first half. UMHB limited the Wildcats to 38 yards rushing and 220 yards of total offense and Linfield has now gone 12 straight quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown against UMHB. The two teams were meeting for the fourth consecutive postseason and for the fifth time in the Cru’s last 27 games.
Robinson was 18-27 passing for 227 yards and a touchdown and he added 46 rushing yards and a score. T.J. Josey caught six passes for 110 yards for the Cru and Markeith Miller ran for 83 yards on 19 carries. Tevin Jones posted his fourth consecutive game with double-digit tackles in leading UMHB with 16 stops.
Wyatt Smith was 20-31 passing for 182 yards for Linfield and he was sacked four times and intercepted once in the loss. Chidubem Nnoli ran for 37 yards on 19 carries and Keegan Weiss caught five passes for 43 yards for the Wildcats. Mitchell Kekel had a team-high 13 tackles for Linfield in the game.
UMHB has won 27 consecutive games and evened the all-time series with the Wildcats after notching its fourth straight win over Linfield. The Cru will now face St. Thomas (MN) in the Quarterfinals after the Tommies advanced with a 29-13 victory over Berry College. The game site for that contest will be announced on Sunday afternoon, but it will kick off at 12:00 PM Central Time regardless of location. UMHB has never faced St. Thomas or a team from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the 20-year history of the program.