Belton, TX – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team put 28 points on the board before giving up a first down and the Cru poured it on from there, rolling to a 63-17 victory over Franklin College in an NCAA Division III National Championships Second Round game Saturday in Belton. UMHB improves to 12-0 and advances to the national quarterfinals with the victory. The loss ends the Grizzlies season at 9-3 overall.
The Cru defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession and then drove 53 yards in eight plays before Darius Wilson scored on a one-yard plunge to make it 7-0 UMHB just 3:48 into the game. LiDarral Bailey hit Tyler Coker with a 32-yard scoring strike on the first play after a Cru interception to push the lead to 14-0 45 seconds later. Bailey would add touchdown passes of 25 yards to Keith Reineke and one yard to Coker to make it 28-0 UMHB at the end of the first quarter. Kamray Runnels added a 14-yard TD run and Elijah Hudson scored on a 14-yard run to stretch the Cru lead to 42-0. Cole Richards hit a 39-yard field goal to put the Grizzlies on the board with 2:19 left in the first half, but Dustin Frye took a swing pass from Jake Sims and raced 70 yards for another Cru touchdown to make it 49-3 at the half. Franklin would get two touchdown passes from Jonny West in the third quarter to cut it to 49-17. West found Kyle Linville with a 32-yard TD toss and added a three-yarder to Joey Pasquale on the final play of the third quarter. Hudson and Wilson both scored on one yard runs for UMHB in the fourth quarter to provide the final margin.
The Cru rolled up 563 yards of total offense with 282 on the ground and 281 through the air. UMHB held Franklin to 310 total yards, including 51 rushing yards and intercepted three passes. The Grizzlies managed just one first down and 30 yards of offense in the first quarter and Franklin had just three first downs and 97 yards of total offense at halftime.
Bailey finished 12-15 passing for 136 yards and three touchdowns and added three rushes for 34 more yards despite going to the bench midway through the second quarter. Sims hit 5-10 for 139 yards and a touchdown off the bench. Wilson led the Cru running game with 83 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and Geoff Myles caught five passes for 40 yards. Mike Maldonado had a team-high 11 tackles to lead the Cru defense and three different players recorded interceptions.
West was 26-43 for 259 yards and two touchdowns for Franklin, but he was intercepted twice and sacked three times. Linville caught 11 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown and Kyle Holzbog ran for 22 yards on five carries. Alex Van Cleave and Jordan Segner recorded 15 tackles apiece to lead Franklin.
UMHB will now face Wesley College in the NCAA Division III National Quarterfinals next Saturday. That game will most likely be played at Tiger Field in Belton, but the NCAA won't officially announce home sites until Sunday afternoon. The Cru and Wolverines will be meeting in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fifth time. Wesley has ended UMHB's season in the Quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons. The Cru did knock off the Wolverines 32-25 in a regular season meeting between the two teams back in September.