No. 3 Crusaders inch past McMurry, 28-27
BELTON, Texas - McMurry took a shot at the No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders, but failed to complete a 2-point conversion to win the game. The Crusaders relinquished 20-straight points to close the game but intercepted the conversion attempt and held off an upset with a 28-27 win at Tiger Field Saturday night.
Jake Mullin led the game-tying drive in a 9-play 91-yard affair that ended with him finding R.J. Long in the endzone with 1:47 to play. The War Hawks were penalized after recovering an onside kick for contact with a player before the ball went 10 yards. Thus, the visitors gave the ball back to the Cru with 1:47 remaining and two timeouts.
The Crusaders advanced the ball to the McMurry redzone, but the War Hawks got the ball back with 24 seconds to play. Long dropped a pass near the sideline that would have gained McMurry 20 yards and the next play resulted in Mullin throwing an interception to seal the victory for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
The Crusaders' rushing attack produced 323 yards including three touchdowns. Darius Wilson had 222 yards on 30 carries and a score while LiDarral Bailey had 43 yards rushing with two touchdowns on the ground. Bailey threw two interceptions and had 138 yards through the air.
McMurry jumped out with a 6-0 lead when Mullin found Delfonte Diamond on the War Hawks' second offensive drive. However, the War Hawks missed the extra point. From there, the Cru scored 28-straight points. After the fourth touchdown – which was a 15-yard fumble recovery by Ryan Metcalf after a sack on Mullin – lightning caused nearly a one-hour rain delay.
The War Hawks were a different team after the delay; Mullin found Diamond again with 9:13 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 28-14. D.J Baiza returned an interception 81 yards for a score with 8:21 left in the fourth. After a defensive stand by the War Hawks, Mullin got the ball with 4:53 to play.
Immediately after he found Long in the endzone, the discussion among the McMurry coaches was brief before head coach Hal Mumme sent the offense out to go for the win. Mullin dropped back and tried to find Diamond cutting over the middle, but all-American Javicz Jones picked off the pass.
McMurry got two cracks at the onside kick with the ball live twice, however, Mary Hardin-Baylor came out with the ball.
Mullin finished 35 of 57 for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Long had nine receptions for 100 yards and Diamond caught nine passes for 84 yards and two scores.
Austin Cleere had 12 tackles and Will Morris had 11. Baiza also blocked a punt and returned two punts for an average of 19.5 on the returns.
McMurry was held to 21 yards rushing and UMHB's Ty Dooley led with 10 tackles. Ryan Metcalf had six tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and the recovery for a touchdown to lead the Crusaders.
Mary Hardin-Baylor improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in American Southwest Conference competition .McMurry falls to 1-2 and 0-1 respectively. The War Hawks come home for their first game in front a McMurry crowd Saturday and the team will face East Texas Baptist at 2 p.m.