No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor gets ahead early, holds off No. 3 Wesley
DOVER, Del. – A match-up of top-five teams lived up to its billing as No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor held on to an early lead on the way to a 32-25 victory against No. 3 Wesley on Saturday. UMHB avenged back-to-back national quarterfinal postseason losses to the Wolverines and improved to 2-0 with the victory. The loss dropped Wesley to 2-1.
The Cru took a 3-0 lead on Chad Peevey's 22-yard field goal with 9:14 remaining in the first quarter. Justin Sottilare then hit Matt Barile with a 14-yard scoring pass to give Wesley a 6-3 lead with 5:06 on the clock in the first period.
UMHB regained the lead on LiDarral Bailey's two-yard TD run eight seconds into the second quarter and pushed it out to 12-6 on a safety with 11:51 left in the first half. Bailey hit Darius Wilson with a 16-yard scoring pass to make it 19-6 with 2:37 to go in the first half before Wesley closed to 19-13 on Sottilare's 22-yard strike to Steven Koudossou with just 1:07 left in the half.
Chris Cummins scored on a one-yard run early in the third to tie the game at 19, but a missed extra point kept the Wolverines from taking the lead. Wilson and Bailey hooked up for a 13-yard TD with 8:27 left in the third and Bailey's one-yard run on fourth down gave the Cru a 32-19 lead with 2:31 left in the third. Wesley cut it to 32-25 on Sottilare's 15-yard pass to Barile with 8:24 left to play before UMHB forced a turnover and two punts to preserve the victory.
Bailey finished 16 of 26 passing for 138 yards and two scores and Wilson ran for 84 yards on 24 totes. Wilson also caught six passes for 76 yards and two TDs. Javicz Jones led the Cru with eight tackles and Silvio Diaz added 3.0 sacks. UMHB held Wesley to minus-4 rushing yards and 290 yards of total offense.
Sottilare was 27 of 44 passing for 294 yards and three scores. Koudossou caught eight passes for 117 yards and Barile caught seven balls for 115. Wesley turned the ball over twice and gave up 320 yards of offense to the Cru.