The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team will kick off the 2018 season with a non-conference game at Albright College Saturday in Reading, Pennsylvania. The Cru will be opening its 21st season and will be facing the Lions for the first time in program history.
UMHB welcomes back 41 letter winners, five offensive starters and four defensive starts from a team that finished 14-1 in 2017. The Cru will be taking the field for the first time since falling to Mount Union 12-0 in Stagg Bowl XLV. For the fourth time in the last 16 games, UMHB will have a first-time starter at quarterback and must replace its entire starting front four, leading tackler and leading interceptor on defense. There are several unanswered questions going into the opening and the Cru will face a number of challenges against Albright.
“It doesn’t matter where we go or who we play, we have to focus on ourselves,” UMHB Head Coach Pete Fredenburg said. “People are in new roles and we have guys who have to step up and become leaders and perform. We are going to have to grow up quickly because we have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be as a football team.”
Albright is 0-1 on the season after falling to Salisbury 48-14 last Friday night. The Lions were 8-3 a season ago, but also lost a large senior class after the season. Fredenburg is expecting to see the Lions present a significant challenge this Saturday.
“It is a real concern since they have played a game,” Fredenburg said. “Teams always make so much improvement between game one and game two. We are still trying to figure them out and figure ourselves out, so that creates an extra challenge for us.”
Defensive coordinator Larry Harmon will serve as acting head coach with Fredenburg serving the first game of his school-mandated three-game suspension on Saturday. UMHB will be playing a game in the state of Pennsylvania for just the second time in program history and this will be the first time the Cru has faced a team from the Middle Atlantic Conference. UMHB has won 12 consecutive season openers and also brings a 22-game regular season winning streak into Saturday’s season opener.
The game kicks off at 12 pm Central Time.