BELTON – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team took control of the game with a 28-point third quarter and then held on for a 41-28 win over Hardin-Simmons in a battle of conference unbeatens Saturday in Belton. The Cru improves to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops the Cowboys to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the ASC on the season.
Hardin-Simmons drew first blood when Kerry Sloan scored on a two-yard run just four plays after an interception on UMHB’s first offensive play. The Cowboys led 7-0 with 11:33 left in the first quarter. The Cru cut the lead to 7-3 on Jacob O’Neill‘s field goal following an Eric Alleninterception with 2:10 left in the period. Baylor Mullins picked off another Cowboy pass to set upZach Anderson‘s nine-yard touchdown pass to Kamray Runnels to give UMHB its first lead at 10-7 midway through the second. Hardin-Simmons answered with Weston Garner’s 78-yard touchdown pass to Trei Lewis on the next offensive play and the Cowboys led 14-10 at halftime. That marked the first halftime deficit for UMHB since the 2012 NCAA Quarterfinals against Wesley College. The Cru used Anderson’s 86-yard touchdown pass to Wykeyhe Walker on the first offensive play of the second half to grab a 17-14 lead and Anderson found Hunter Schmidtwith a 40-yard scoring strike on a tipped pass on the next series to make it 24-14. Garner was intercepted by Dana Taylor on the next Cowboy drive and Taylor returned it 28 yards for his first career touchdown to give UMHB a 31-14 edge. Anderson found Eric Nelson with a 40-yard scoring strike on the next Cru possession to push the lead to 38-14 after three quarters. Garner tossed a 63-yard scoring pass to Jessie Ramos to cut the gap to 38-21 early in the third quarter. Allen intercepted another pass and returned it 87 yards to set up a 24-yard O’Neill field goal to give UMHB a 41-21 lead. A bad snap by UMHB was kicked around before being recovered by HSU’s Matthew Hawkins and returned 18 yards for a score to pull the Cowboys to within 41-28 with 1:54 remaining. The Cru recovered the ensuing onside kick and Blake Jackson ran for 10 yards on a third down and seven, allowing UMHB to run out the clock and ice the win.
The Cru was held to just 79 rushing yards in the game, but finished with 348 yards of total offense. Hardin-Simmons rolled up 386 yards of offense, with 255 of those coming through the air. But UMHB also intercepted five Cowboy passes in the game.
Anderson was 16-19 passing for 259 yards and he tied a school single-game record with four touchdown passes. Four different receivers had TD grabs for the Cru and Walker finished with 109 yards on three grabs. Duane Thompson ran for 71 yards on 19 carries. Matt Cody led UMHB with nine tackles and Allen picked off two passes for 120 yards in returns. The Cru added five sacks in the game.
Garner was 14-26 for 255 yards and two scores, but he was picked off five time. Ramos caught nine passes for 139 yards and a TD and Sloan ran for 106 yards on 26 carries. Cory Ward had a team-high nine tackles for HSU. Trent Walker had 3.0 tackles for loss and Ryne Lewis added 2.5.
UMHB now leads the all-time series with Hardin-Simmons 15-5 and has won 13 in a row over the Cowboys. The Cru stretched its regular season winning streak to 52 consecutive games and set a new conference record with its 35th straight ASC victory. UMHB will return to action with a road game against Howard Payne University next Saturday in Brownwood. That game will kick off at 1:00 PM at Gordon Wood Stadium.