GEORGETOWN - The Southwestern University football team was game for their huge matchup with top-ranked and defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor, but the Cru proved to be too tough on Saturday night at Birkelbach Field as UMHB pulled away in the second half for a 44-10 victory over the Pirates.
The Cru racked up 409 yards of total offense with most of their yards coming in the second half. Southwestern had 290 total yards including 227 through the air. Southwestern held a 36:33-23:27 advntage in time of the possession, but was only 3 of 16 on third downs and 0 of 2 on fourth down.
After a three-and-out to start the game, UMHB marched down the field in eight plays and took a 3-0 lead on a John Mowery field goal. After both teams exchanged punts, the UMHB defense came up huge as Ajay Fanene forced a fumble and Kris Brown picked it up and raced 25 yards for a score to push the lead to 9-0, taking that into the end of the quarter.
However, another offensive miscue led to Cru points as a fumble went into the hands of Tevin Jones as he streaked 93 yards down the field to paydirt to move the lead out to 16-0.
The Southwestern defense continued its strong play despite the deficit as they put tremendous pressure on quarterback Kyle Jones as freshman Ben Brockman and sophomore Ben Womack each came away with a sack in the quarter.
The Piraets held strong, playing an excellent first half and only allowing three points to one of the best offenses in the country, as the Cru only held a 16-0 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, All-American T.J. Josey jump started his team with a 56 yard and 59 yard touchdown catch from Jones on UMHB's first two drives of the half to push the lead out to 30-0. Southwestern responded with another deep drive into Cru territory, getting inside the 10, but an interception negated any points.
Just three plays later, senior Nik Kelly intercepted Jones to put Southwestern back in good field position. This time, the Pirates answered the call with a seven play drive as sophomore Luke Fierst connected on a 43-yard field goal to get SU on the board.
As the fourth quarter started, the Pirates picked off Jones for the second time as senior Kyle Perlowski came away with the turnover; however, Southwestern had no answer on the offensive side.
After both offenses were quiet, Jones completed back-to-back passes to Bryce Wilkerson, covering 46 yards including a nine yard score ofr a 37-3.
Southwestern was able to find the endzone late in the game as Hover first found sophomore Braydyn Gillham on a 58 yard completion, following by a 30 yard touchdown throw to Daniels to cut the deficit to 37-10.
UMHB got one more score with less than three minutes remaining as they closed the game out with the 44-10 win, moving their active winning streak to 19 games.
Hover finished 16 of 32 for 227 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also added 24 yards rushing on 17 carries. Sophomore Elijah Smith led all rushers with 30 yards on 12 carries as the Cru defense proved to be stout on the run game all night long.
Daniels caught two passes for 59 yards while freshman David Brandenburg caught five balls to lead the team for 33 yards.
For UMHB, Jones was 23 of 40 for 397 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Josey finished with three catches for 130 yards and two scores while Taylor had four catches for 99 yards. The Southwestern defense did an outstanding job limiting the Cru offense to only 12 rushing yards on 18 attempts.
Defensively, sophomore Josiah Minnifield had seven tackles and a tackle for loss while Brockman had seven tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack. Womack had four total tackles, three tackles for loss, and two sacks while senior DeeJay Johnson had four tackles and two pass breakups. Kelly and Perlowski each had an interception.
For UMHB, Reggie Wilson led the way with 10 tackles while Haston Adams had seven tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.
SU will look to regroup as they return to Birkelbach Field next Saturday, welcoming in the Sul Ross State Lobos. Kickoff is set for 6 PM in Georgetwon.