The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team has also clinched a postseason berth and at least a share of the American Southwest Conference title, but there were still be plenty on the line as the Cru closes out the regular season Saturday in Marshall. UMHB will face East Texas Baptist in the regular season finale for both teams at Ornelas Stadium.
UMHB goes into Saturday’s game with a 9-0 overall record and an 8-0 mark in conference play. The Cru locked up the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships and guaranteed itself a share of the ASC title with an 80-7 win over Louisiana College last Saturday. A win over ETBU would give UMHB an outright conference title, clinch the program’s ninth undefeated regular season and likely nail down a #1 seed and home field advantage in the early rounds of the playoffs.
“There is still so much at stake for us in terms of playing at home in the postseason and taking momentum into the playoffs,” Cru Head Coach Pete Fredenburg said. “ETBU is very talented and our guys know what is on the line. Our players have been very mature in their preparation and I know we will be focused and ready to go about their business on Saturday.”
East Texas Baptist is 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the ASC on the season. The Tigers have won three straight games and boast one of the most prolific offenses in the country, averaging 44.8 points per game. ETBU was tied with UMHB at 21-21 going into the fourth quarter of last year’s game and no opponent scored more points against the Cru last season than the Tigers. UMHB leads the all-time series between the two teams 17-1, but ETBU’s lone win, a 28-21 overtime victory in 2003, kept the Cru out of the playoff for the only time in the last 18 years.
“They will give us a great game, just like they always do,” Fredenburg said. “They are prolific on offense and have a good quarterback and good skill guys. It is exciting to face a team like this because it a great time to be playing. We know we are in the playoffs, but we need to keep getting better and stronger, so this will be a fun game to play.”
UMHB goes into Saturday’s game ranked #2 in the country by both the American Football Coaches Association and D3football.com. The 32-team field for the 2018 NCAA Division III Football National Championships will be announced at 4:30 pm Central Time on Sunday, November 11th. That announcement will also include First Round match-ups and game sites.
The game kicks off at 2 pm and will be broadcast on KRock 101.7 FM with the pre-game show starting at 1:30 pm. UMHB will also provide a live video stream and East Texas Baptist will provide live statistics from the game. Links to all of the live coverage are available on the Cru Athletic Department website at cruathletics.com.