Belton, TX – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team controlled the first half and then broke open a tight game with a 21-point fourth quarter on the way to a 49-20 win over McMurry University in an NCAA Second Round playoff game Saturday in Belton. UMHB improves to 12-0 on the season and advances to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III National Championships for the seventh time in the last nine seasons with the victory. The loss ends the War Hawks season at 9-3.
The Cru took a 7-0 lead when Darius Wilson scored on a two-yard run with 5:52 remaining in the first quarter. Jake Mullin found Delfonte Diamond with a 10-yard scoring pass with 1:46 left in the first to close the gap to 7-6, but the War Hawks extra point try was foiled by a bad snap. Wilson pushed the lead to 14-6 with 11 seconds to go in the first with a three-yard TD plunge. Mullin hit Justin Johnson with a two-yard scoring toss to cap the opening drive of the second quarter, but McMurry's two-point conversion was unsuccessful leaving UMHB with a 14-12 lead. LiDarral Bailey found Damian Davis with a 12-yard touchdown pass with 8:55 remaining in the first half to stretch the Cru lead to 21-12 and Bailey erupted for a 78-yard scoring run on an option keeper to make it 28-12 UMHB at the half. Mullin threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jeret Smith on fourth-down late in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass from Mullin to Diamond would close the gap to 28-20. The War Hawks comeback attempt fell short in the fourth quarter, though. McMurry tried a trick play on fourth-and-long from its own 15-yard line, but Austin Brooks was stripped of the ball and Rocky Vaclavick recovered in the end zone to give UMHB a 35-20 lead. The War Hawks went for it on fourth down deep in their own territory on the next possession and failed to convert, leaving UMHB with just 13 yards to go. Elijah Hudson's five-yard touchdown run three plays later pushed the lead to 42-20 and Ty Dooley put an exclamation point on the win, picking off a Mullin pass and returning it 40 yards for the final score with 1:42 to go. UMHB would intercept Mullin again on the final McMurry possession and then ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
UMHB rolled up 412 yards of total offense with 260 of those coming on the ground against a McMurry defense that held Trinity to just 44 yards rushing last week. The Cru defense held the high-powered War Hawks offense to 317 total yards and forced five turnovers in the game.
Bailey finished with 93 yards rushing and a touchdown on 15 carries and he went 10-17 passing for 139 yards and a score. Wilson added 90 tough yards and two scores on 29 carries. Davis caught nine passes for 120 yards and a score. Vaclavick finished with 12 total tackles and the fumble return for a TD. Javicz Jones added 12 total tackles and broke the UMHB single-season and career tackle records with 124 and 315 respectively.
Mullin was 34-60 for 269 yards and three scores for McMurry, but he was also picked off three times. Diamond caught seven passes for 43 yards and Johnson rushed for 52 yards on 18 carries. Will Morris posted a game-high 21 tackles to lead the War Hawk defense and Markell Rice added 13 stops.
UMHB will now host Wesley College in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III National Championships next Saturday at noon at Tiger Field. Wesley is ranked seventh in the country and has an 11-1 record on the season. The Wolverines advanced with a 49-34 win over Linfield College and hold a 3-2 lead over UMHB in the all-time series. McMurry was making its first appearance in the NCAA postseason and was facing UMHB for what was likely the final time. The War Hawks will move to NCAA Division II next year.