September 19, 2013

History lesson: Wesley vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor

More news about: Mary Hardin-Baylor | Wesley

The 2007 meeting between UMHB and Wesley was the third of four consecutive years the two met in the playoffs.
File photo by RC Workman, D3sports.com

History

Sept. 21, 2013: Wesley at UMHB, 6 CT
Dec. 1, 2012: at UMHB 32, Wesley 20
Sept. 15, 2012: UMHB 32, at Wesley 25
Dec. 3, 2011: Wesley 27, at UMHB 24
Dec. 4, 2010: at Wesley 19, UMHB 9
Nov. 29, 2008: at UMHB 46, Wesley 14
Dec. 1, 2007: UMHB 27, at Wesley 10
Dec. 2, 2006: at Wesley 34, UMHB 20
Nov. 26, 2005: Wesley 46, at UMHB 36

Now that longtime rivals Wabash and DePauw are both in the North Coast, and Mount Union and UW-Whitewater have taken a break from annual December clashes in Salem, the best non-conference competitive rivalry in Division III is Wesley vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor.

It wasn't always a rivalry, as D-III's only team in Delaware and an upstart from Texas first met in the second round of the 2005 playoffs. Wesley's 46-36 win then was a big surprise, perhaps because we barely knew Bryan Robinson and Larry Beavers (each of whom would go on to have a cup of coffee in the NFL; Robinson still plays in the Arena League) back then, but mostly because UMHB was coming off an appearance in the 2004 Stagg Bowl.

At first, only the NCAA's skewed regional geography brought the Wolverines and Crusaders together. As other South Region powers like Bridgewater, Washington & Jefferson and Trinity began their declines from elite to only very good, Wesley and UMHB rose.

But then they met again in the 2006 playoffs. And again the first week of December 2007. And in 2008, 2010 and 2011 as well. By 2012, with Wesley having trouble scheduling games because it was a perennial top 10 team and an independent, and with UMHB in a similar boat being a national power on a D-III island in Texas, two aggressive head coaches agreed to a regular-season game.

Now, it's a game that matches the No. 4 Crusaders and the No. 5 Wolverines. Because we have five rounds of playoffs, clashes of top teams aren't rare, but the last top-five matchup in the regular season besides UMHB and Wesley last season was when UW-Whitewater and UMHB met in Wisconsin in Oct. 2010.

Now this game has become so big that it's got its own Facebook page, and is scheduled for under the lights at UMHB's brand-new, on-campus stadium. The Cru considers this their first true home game since the program debuted in 1998 (all other games had been played near campus at Belton High's field).

UMHB brings a 36-game regular-season winning streak in, and beat Wesley 32-25 and 32-20 last season to even their series at four each.

The regular-season meeting between these teams likely won't be the last. In every season but 2009, Wesley or UMHB has ended the other's season, and in every season since that first meeting, only another elite D-III program has ended either of these two teams' seasons, a round or three into the playoffs.

So D-III fans kick back and enjoy on Saturday night. And whoever's side doesn't win, don't despair. This is only a chapter in a continually budding rivalry.

Unhappy playoff endings

2012: UMHB eliminates Wesley,
Mount Union eliminates UMHB
2011: Wesley eliminates UMHB,
Mount Union eliminates Wesley
2010: Wesley eliminates UMHB,
UW-Whitewater eliminates Wesley
2009: Linfield eliminates UMHB,
Mount Union eliminates Wesley
2008: UMHB eliminates Wesley,
UW-Whitewater eliminates UMHB
2007: UMHB eliminates Wesley,
UW-Whitewater eliminates UMHB
2006: Wesley eliminates UMHB,
UW-Whitewater eliminates Wesley
2005: Wesley eliminates UMHB,
UW-Whitewater eliminates Wesley

Links

UMHB game notes
2010 D3football.com feature
2012 D3football.com feature


Jerrell Freeman, right, played in this rivalry in the 2007 playoffs. You probably know now he's an Indianapolis Colt.

File photo by RC Workman, D3sports.com

Adam Turer

Adam Turer graduated in 2006 from Washington and Lee University, where he was a two-year starter at free safety. He lives in Cincinnati and covers area high school sports in addition to his full-time job as an attorney. Adam has contributed to D3football.com since 2007 and is in his first season writing Around the Nation after spending four seasons writing Around the Mid-Atlantic.

2014-2015 columnist: Ryan Tipps.
2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.

Previous Columns

September 22, 2016
Ohana means family
Eventually, the final score will be forgotten. Certain plays will fade away. But the experience that...
September 18, 2016
Snap judgments: A humbling Week 3
Saturday featured multiple marquee matchups of ranked teams taking to the road. There were long...
September 15, 2016
The playcaller and the playwright
A theatre professor spent two seasons behind the scenes with the UW-Oshkosh coaching staff and...
September 11, 2016
Snap judgments: Time to dig deep
No team expects to open the season 0-2. Conference play will afford these teams the opportunity to...
September 7, 2016
Fuentes walks off, a decade later
Julio Fuentes was paralyzed in the opening game of his sophomore season for Alfred. Ten years later,...
September 4, 2016
Snap judgments: The excitement is back
Week 1 had it all. Impressive debuts from coaches and players, thrilling comebacks, and Top 25...
September 1, 2016
Football is here: Get fired up!
New Around the Nation columnist Adam Turer introduces himself to the national audience, introduces a...
December 22, 2015
2015 Division III year in review
This was a year full of surprises. Not only did we not see a Mount Union/UW-Whitewater Stagg Bowl,...
November 19, 2015
Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
Around the Nation has assembled a team of prognosticators for an annual look at who might surprise...
December 18, 2003
Let us tell you about Salem
We’ve had the opportunity to go around the nation this year, both literally and figuratively....
 • More Division III football news releases

Other Columnists