BELTON, Texas – After waiting until Week 4 of the 2018 season to play in front of its home crowd, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team wasted no time in taking control of the game as the Cru rolled to a 77-7 victory over Southwestern on Saturday night in Belton. UMHB improves to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the win. The loss drops the Pirates to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the ASC on the year.
The Cru forced a fumble on Southwestern's opening possession and DeNerian Thomas score on a one-yard run eight plays later to give UMHB a7-0 lead with 9:20 left in the first quarter. Thomas found Jonel Reed with a 5-yard scoring pass on the next Cru drive to stretch it to 14-0. Joey Longoria fell on another Pirate fumble to push the lead to 21-0 with 3:47 to play in the opening period before Southwestern finally hit the scoreboard on Frederick Hover's 28-yard touchdown scamper to cut it to 21-7 after one quarter. Thomas scored on another one-yard run just three plays after a Reggie Cole interception to give UMHB a 28-7 advantage and K.J. Miller returned a punt 84 yards for a score to take it out to 35-7. Jefferson Fritz returned an interception 28 yards for a score, Anthony Avila hit a 24-yard field goal following another Pirate fumble and Luke Poorman hit Aaron Sims with a 45-yard scoring strike to make it 51-7 Cru. Cole closed out the first half scoring with a 24-yard TD return on the fifth Southwestern turnover of the first half. Thomas would find T.J. Josey with a 62-yard scoring strike on the opening drive of the second half, David Franklin returned an interception 55 yards for another score and Poorman threw an eight-yard TD toss to Kadarius Daniels to push it to the final margin.
UMHB ran just 58 offensive plays and only had the ball for 24:24 of possession in the game. The Cru defense held Southwestern to 237 yards of total offense and forced eight turnovers while scoring four defensive touchdowns in the victory.
Three UMHB quarterbacks combined to go 15-26 passing for 229 yards and four touchdowns. Thomas accounted for four total scores. Olan Vining finished with a team-high 62 rushing yards on eight carries. Josey caught two passes for 74 yards and became the Cru's all-time leader in career receiving yardage, breaking the mark previously held by P.J. Williams. Trey Villarreal led the UMHB defense with seven tackles and added a fumble recovery. Longoria had six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, forced a fumble and recovered another for a TD. Cole added two tackles, a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception.
Hover ran for 68 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries for the Pirates, but was just 4-12 through the air for 71 yards and was intercepted twice. A.J. Daniels had one catch for 36 yards for Southwestern. Ben Brockman led the defense with six tackles and he blocked a UMHB extra point, as well.
The Cru has now won 26 consecutive regular season games and 20 straight ASC contest. UMHB will continue its home stand with a 6 pm kickoff against Hardin-Simmons (4-0, 3-0 ASC) in a Top 25 showdown next Saturday at Crusader Stadium.