Belton, TX – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team dominated the first half and the Cru did more than enough to make it stand up in the second half on the way to a 34-13 victory over the University of Redlands in an NCAA Division III National Championships First Round Game. The loss ends the Bulldogs season at 8-2. UMHB improves to 11-0 on the year and advances to the Second Round of the NCAA Division III National Championships for the eighth straight year.
The Cru drew first blood, using an 18-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Darius Wilson's one-yard scoring plunge to take a 7-0 lead with 5:49 left in the first quarter. UMHB would march 88 yards in 18 plays on the next drive before LiDarral Bailey scored on a four-yard run to make it 14-0 with 11:49 remaining in the first half. Bailey hit Elijah Hudson with a 27-yard scoring strike to stretch the lead to 21-0 with 9:14 to go in the first half. Chad Peevey hit a 50-yard field goal for UMHB to give the Cru a 24-0 halftime lead. UMHB held Redlands to two first downs and 81 yards of total offense in the first half, outgaining the Bulldogs 275-81 in that half.
Bailey dashed 45 yards for a score on the first offensive play of the second half for UMHB to make it a 31-0 Cru lead and Peevey's 44-yard field goal gave UMHB a 34-0 edge with 8:06 to play in the third quarter. Redlands put a pair of touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter as Chad Hurst threw touchdown passes of 22 yards to Brad Crisanty and 85 yards to Mark Richardson to close the gap to 34-13 in the final minutes.
The Cru finished with 336 rushing yards and 419 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs posted 360 total yards, including 244 through the air, although most of those came after the UMHB starting defense left the field. The Cru intercepted three passes and UMHB controlled the ball for 32:09 of the game.
Bailey finished with 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. He was 5-10 passing for 59 yards and a score. Darius Wilson added 57 yards rushing for UMHB. Cody Jones led the Cru defense with nine total tackles and Javicz Jones added seven more.
Hurst was 16-35 passing for 244 yards and two scores. Richardson caught four passes for 125 yards and a score. Crisanty ran for 56 yards on 13 attempts. Justin Butler led three players in double figures in tackles for Redlands with 16 and he added 2.0 tackles for loss.
UMHB will now host American Southwest Conference rival McMurry University for a noon kickoff next Saturday in the Second Round of the NCAA Division III National Championships. The War Hawks beat Trinity University 25-16 for the first postseason victory in that program's history on Saturday. Redlands was making its sixth appearance in the postseason.