Belton, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team punched a return trip to the National Championship Game with another stifling defensive effort as the Cru rolled to a 24-0 victory over Brockport in the NCAA Semifinals Saturday in Belton. UMHB improves to 14-0 with its 29th consecutive win. The defending National Champion will get a chance to make it back-to-back title in Stagg Bowl XLV on Friday. The loss ends the Golden Eagles season at 13-1.
UMHB took control of the game with a strong first quarter. Kris Brown's interception on the game's opening possession set up a short field for the Cru. Markeith Miller scored on a two-yard run three plays later to give UMHB a 7-0 lead just 1:17 into the contest. The Cru put together a 72-yard drive later in the quarter and Byron Proctor dove in from a yard out on a fourth-and-goal play to push UMHB up 14-0. The Golden Eagles fumbled on the next offensive play and Tevin Joes recovered for the Cru at the Brockport 29-yard line. Carl Robinson III found a wide-open T.J. Josey from 29 yards out for the third touchdown of the quarter as UMHB put up two scores in 20 seconds for a 21-0 lead. Neither team would score again in the first half. Brockport drove to the Cru four-yard line with just under a minute to go in the first half, but Joe Germinerio's pass was incomplete on fourth-and-one as the UMHB defense forced a turnover on downs to keep it 21-0 going into the half.
The third quarter was more of the same as both offense struggled to generate offense. Miller would finally break out of the pack for a 66-yard run as the Cru was able to put together a five-play, 70-yard drive. John Mowery connected on a 35-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 24-0 with 00:09 remaining in the period. The Golden Eagles marched to the UMHB six-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but the Cru forced three incompletions and D'Andre Jackson picked off Germinerio's pass in the end zone on fourth-and-goal to end another Brockport threat. UMHB held for another fourth down stop on the final Golden Eagles possession and were able to run out the clock for the program's 36th playoff win 50 postseason games.
The Cru rushed for 212 yards one week after being held to a program-low -16 yards rushing. UMHB finished the game with 373 yards of total offense. Brockport was held to 71 rushing yards and 267 yards of total offense on 83 snaps. The Golden Eagles turned the ball over three times and allowed seven UMHB sacks. The Cru turned the ball over twice and Robinson was sacked four times in the game.
Miller ran for 139 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Robinson was 13-20 passing for 161 yards and a score and he ran for 38 yards despite the four sacks. Bryce Wilkerson caught six passes for 77 yards and added a 41-yard punt return for the Cru. Tevin Jones had a game-high 14 tackles and Ajay Fanene added 3.5 sacks to lead the UMHB defense.
Germinerio was 31-53 passing for 196 yards and he added 17 rushing yards on 16 carries. He was sacked seven times and intercepted twice in the game. Tyree Brown caught ten passes for 56 yards and Justin Morrison ran for 39 yards on 11 carries to go over 1,000 yards rushing on the season for the Golden Eagles. Alex West had 10 total tackles and three sacks to lead the Brockport defense.
The Cru will now play in the Stagg Bowl for the second straight year and for the third time in program history. UMHB will face Mount Union (14-0) for the national title in the fourth postseason meeting between the two programs. The Purple Raiders stormed back for a 43-40 win over defending National Runner-Up Wisconsin-Oshkosh to advance to the title game. Stagg Bowl XLV will kick off at 6:00 PM Central Time on Friday, December 15th, at Salem Stadium in Salem, Virginia. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU