Nov. 29, 2008

Mary Hardin-Baylor Athletics

Belton, TX -
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team controlled the first half and then never let Wesley College get back in the game as the Cru rolled to a 46-14 victory over the Wolverines in an NCAA Division III National Championships Second Round Game Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB improves to 11-1 on the season with the victory and advances to the South Region Finals for the third straight year and the fourth time in the last five season. Wesley's season ends with a 9-2 record after falling to UMHB for the second straight postseason.

The Cru set the tone on the game's first offensive play when Eric Henri forced a fumble that UMHB's Lee Munn recovered at the Wesley 30-yard line. Five plays later, Josh Saenz hit Ervin Johnson with a 14-yard touchdown pass to give the Cru a 7-0 lead. The UMHB defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession, but had to settle for Alan Munoz's 21-yard field goal after a Wesley goal-line stand to make it 10-0. Henri then scooped up another fumble and returned it a school-record 82 yards to put the Cru up 17-0 with 2:27 remaining in the first quarter. Munoz hit a 45-yard field goal and Brian Scott scored on a 12-yard run to put UMHB up 27-0 at halftime.

Wesley College converted an onside kick to open the second half and went 52 yards in four plays before Shane McSweeny hit Blair Newman with a 15-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 27-7. It would stay that way until Saenz hit Marcos Garcia with a 19-yard TD pass to stretch it to 33-7 with 2:39 left in the third quarter. Munoz added field goals from 49 and 46 yards before Henri took another fumble 44 yards for the final UMHB touchdown to make it 46-7. Larry Beavers returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to extend his own NCAA All-Division record for touchdown returns, but the Wolverines would not get any closer the rest of the way.

The Cru defense forced six turnovers in the game and held Wesley College to 19 yards rushing and 225 yards of total offense in the victory. UMHB rolled up 302 rushing yards and 420 yards of total offense and only turned the ball over once in the game.

Saenz finished with 100 rushing yards on 11 carries and went 7-12 passing for 116 yards and two scores. Bryson Tucker added 90 yards rushing and Roger Sanchez had 62 yards for the Cru. McSweeny was 17-28 passing for 186 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw a pair of interceptions after throwing just two picks in the regular season. Aaron Jackson had 47 rushing yards on eight carries for the Wolverines. Henri had nine tackles and set a school-record with his two fumble returns for touchdown. Mark Manning had a career-high 3.5 sacks as the UMHB defense posted seven sacks in the game. Munoz also set a Cru single-game record with four field goals.

The Cru will now host Washington & Jefferson for a 12:00 PM kickoff at Tiger Field next Saturday in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III National Championships. The Presidents advanced with a 35-20 victory over top-seeded Millsaps College. UMHB leads the all-time series with W&J 2-0, posting postseason wins in 2004 and 2006.