Belton, TX – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team battled back from its first second-half deficit of the season to score the game's final 14 points on the way to a 45-32 victory over Hardin-Simmons University Saturday in Belton. The second-ranked Cru improves to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops the Cowboys to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the ASC on the year.
UMHB would take a 28-26 lead into the fourth quarter and pushed it to 31-26 on Chad Peevey's 37-yard field goal with 13:22 remaining. Hardin-Simmons answered with Logan Turner's 36-yard touchdown strike to Jimmie Simpson to give the Cowboys a 32-31 edge and their first lead since the opening quarter. The two-point conversion would fail, leaving it 32-31 HSU. Brodrick Crain would intercept Turner on the next Cowboy possession and LiDarral Bailey cashed it in for a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jon Ross. Bailey hit Elijah Hudson on the two-point conversion to give UMHB a 39-32 advantage. Javicz Jones picked off Turner on the next possession, leading to a 42-yard Peevey field goal to give the Cru a 42-32 lead. Jones intercepted another Turner pass on the ensuing drive and Peevey provided the final scoring with a 27-yard field goal.
HSU drew first blood on Turner's 17-yard TD toss to Corey Jones on the game's opening drive. UMHB tied it on Bailey's 12-yard run late in the first and Hudson made it 14-7 with a six-yard run early in the second quarter. Scott Newberry hit a 50-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 1:30 later and it would stay that way into halftime. UMHB missed two first-half field goals and Bailey was intercepted in the end zone to end another drive. That was the first pick thrown by Bailey on the season.
UMHB scored on a 6-yard Darius Wilson run just 55 seconds into the second half, but Turner hit Jessie Ramos with a 35-yard TD pass to cut it to 21-16. Bailey's 43-yard scoring scamper made it 28-16 UMHB. But the Cowboys used a 27-yard Newberry field goal and 54-yard scoring strike from Turner to Trei Lewis to close to within 28-26 at the end of the third quarter.
Bailey finished with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns and he was 13-21 passing for 250 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. Hudson had three catches for 97 yards. Jones was a force for the Cru defense, posting 14 tackles and two interceptions. He also had a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
Turner was 29-for-58 passing for 470 yards and four scores for Hardin-Simmons, but he also threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball away on a sack. Corey Jones caught eight passes for 160 yards and Lewis added six grabs for 106 yards. HSU managed just 26 rushing yards and gave the ball away five times. Chad Laughlin led the Cowboy defense with 14 tackles and Ryne Lewis had two sacks.
The Cru takes over sole possession of first place in the ASC with the win and controls its own destiny in the race for the league championship and postseason bid that accompanies it. UMHB has won 11 straight over Hardin-Simmons and 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two teams. The Cru will return to action with a 2:00 PM kickoff at Howard Payne University next Saturday in Brownwood.