BELTON, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team throttled back the nation's top ranked offense as the Cru dominated Hardin-Simmons in a 26-0 victory over the Cowboys Saturday in Belton. UMHB improves to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The Cru also takes over sole possession of first place in the ASC. The loss drops Hardin-Simmons to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the ASC on the season.
After the two teams waited out an hour and 45 minute lightning delay, UMHB took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in seven plays before DeNerian Thomas scored on a three-yard quarterback keeper to give the Cru a 6-0 lead just 2:45 into the game. After forcing a three-and-out, UMHB marched 73 yards in seven plays before another Thomas run, this one from six yards out made it 13-0 with 6:34 left in the opening period. The Cru would force another HSU punt and drive into the red zone before fumbling the ball away at the Cowboy 10-yard line. While the UMHB defense was holding HSU's high-powered offense in check, the Cru would miss a field goal, have to punt and fumble the ball at the Cowboy three-yard line to stymie other scoring opportunities and leave it 13-0 at halftime.
UMHB would take its opening possession of the second half 87 yards before Jase Hammack scored on an eight-yard run to stretch the lead to 20-0 halfway through the third period. The two teams then kept trading punts before Thomas tight-roped down the sideline for an eight-yard touchdown run to close out the scoring with 7:13 remaining in the contest.
The Cru held HSU to just 222 yards of total offense, more than 400 below the Cowboys' national-best average per game. UMHB also became the first team to shut out Hardin-Simmons since the 1992 NAIA playoffs. HSU managed just 71 yards rushing and 54 of the team's 151 passing yards came on one play. UMHB rolled up 284 rushing yards and finished with 466 yards of total offense in the game to help overcome three turnovers.
Markeith Miller ran for 190 yards on 29 carries for the Cru and Marquis Duncan added 47 yards on 13 totes. Thomas ran for three scores. Hammack was 8-10 passing for 176 yards. K.J. Miller had three catches for 33 yards and UMHB completed three passes of 37 or more yards. De Jackson had a team-best seven tackles in his first start of the season and Jefferson Fritz grabbed his fifth interception of the year.
Ty Hooper was 20-36 passing for just 151 yards and he was sacked four times by the Cru defense. Reese Childress caught eight passes for 86 yards. Zai Zai Smith led the Hardin-Simmons running game with 40 yards on 14 carries as the Cowboys played without star running back Jaquan Hemphill. Chris Miller had a game-high 16 tackles and added 2.0 tackles for loss for HSU.
UMHB was ranked second in both national polls going into Saturday's game. Hardin-Simmons was ranked 6th in the country by the American Football Coaches Association and 7th in the nation by D3football.com. The Cru will now hit the road for a two-game road swing. UMHB will open that stretch with a 1 pm kickoff at Howard Payne University next Saturday in Brownwood.