Last Updated 11:56 PM, December 17, 2021

Mary Hardin-Baylor wins 2021 DIII football national championship in the Stagg Bowl

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Mary Hardin-Baylor wins Division III football championship over North Central
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3:10 am, December 18, 2021

Mary Hardin-Baylor beats North Central (IL) 57-24 to win 2021 Stagg Bowl

NCAA Photos Mary hardin-baylor 2021 ncaa diii football national champions stagg bowl

Mary Hardin-Baylor is the 2021 NCAA DIII football national champion. The Crusaders defeated North Central (IL) 50-24 to win the Stagg Bowl, completing a 15-0 season and winning their second national championship since 2018.

Mary Hardin-Baylor gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the game then took over. The Crusaders went up 9-7 minutes later and only trailed once more in the game: for about two minutes late in the first half before kicking a field goal to go into halftime with a 19-17 lead.

Quarterback Kyle King and linebacker Mikkah Hackett both had monster games to deliver their team the title. King threw for a program single-game record 436 yards, finishing 22-29 passing with 3 touchdowns.

Hackett was unreal on defense, totaling 10 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. He nearly ran back his first interception for a touchdown. Hackett was named the Stagg Bowl's Most Outstanding Player.

Two Crusaders wide receivers had 9 catches each. Brenton Martin went for 170 yards and a touchdown, and K.J. Miller went for 149 yards and a touchdown. Running back Aphonso Thomas added a pair of touchdowns on the ground.

Another standout UMHB wideout, Brandon Jordan, caught a touchdown pass in the first half. That catch was Jordan's 17th touchdown reception of the season, setting a school record.

View complete team and individual stats and the scoring summary of the game here.

Mary Hardin-Baylor also won the national title in 2016. Since there was no 2020 tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Crusaders have now lifted the trophy in three of the last five seasons.

Click or tap here to view the completed 2021 DIII football interactive bracket. For a printable version, go here.

2:42 am, December 18, 2021

Mikkah Hackett picks off second pass of game, Mary Hardin-Baylor closing in on title

Mikkah Hackett is making his case for Stagg Bowl MVP.

The Mary Hardin-Baylor linebacker is dominating this game. He has a pair of sacks, a forced fumble, and now 2 interceptions, both of which have come in the second half.

His second interception came on a fourth-down pass as North Central was in Crusaders territory trying to get back into the game.

A few plays after Hackett's interception, sophomore running back Kenneth Cormier Jr. barreled his way into the end zone to make the score 43-17. Mary Hardin-Baylor is about 10 minutes away from a national title.

Check out live scoring and stats for the 2021 Stagg Bowl here.

2:24 am, December 18, 2021

Crusaders extend lead to 33-17 over Cardinals after three quarters

The pattern in the third quarter for Mary Hardin-Baylor: touchdown, interception, touchdown, interception.

The Crusaders used that sequence to take their 19-17 halftime lead and turn it into a 33-17 advantage heading into the fourth quarter of the 2021 Stagg Bowl.

Aphonso Thomas scored both of the touchdowns, on runs of 15 and three yards.

Jefferson Fritz and Mikkah Hackett recorded the interceptions. Fritz's came at his own goal line to prevent a touchdown, and Hackett grabbed his on the other side of the field and almost returned it for a touchdown.

Check out live scoring and stats for the 2021 Stagg Bowl here.

2:09 am, December 18, 2021

Mary Hardin-Baylor scores to open 3rd quarter then grabs goal-line interception

The Crusaders are doing it on both sides of the ball in the third quarter of the Stagg Bowl.

Mary Hardin-Baylor began the quarter with a 12-play drive that went 80 yards and lasted more than five minutes. Aphonso Thomas finished it off with a 15-yard rushing touchdown.

Then on North Central's drive later in the quarter, the Cardinals were approaching the red zone. Luke Lehnen tried to force a deep pass to Blake Williams in the end zone, but Jefferson Fritz picked it off at the goal line to keep the lead at 26-17.

Check out live scoring and stats for the 2021 Stagg Bowl here.

1:32 am, December 18, 2021

Stagg Bowl halftime: Mary Hardin-Baylor 19, North Central (IL) 17

stage bowl 2021 diii football Mary Hardin Baylor north central IL

A game that looked like it might be a rout has turned into quite the battle in the 2021 Stagg Bowl. After a back-and-forth first half, Mary Hardin-Baylor leads North Central (IL) 19-7.

This game has had LOTS of action. DeAngelo Hardy ran back the opening kickoff 93 yards to give the Cardinals the lead. The rest of the first quarter was ALL Crusaders, which looked like they might run North Central out of the stadium.

A field goal, a three-and-out followed by an eight-yard punt, and a pair of Kyle King touchdown passes later, and it was 16-7.

North Central weathered the storm, though, and found more solid rhythm in the second quarter, getting its excellent running game going with Ethan Greenfield, who finished the half with 80 rushing yards on 18 carries and a touchdown.

The Cardinals briefly took the lead 17-16 on a field goal with a couple minutes left in the half, but the Crusaders responded with one of their own as time expired to make it 19-17.

Each defense has forced a sack-fumble so far, but neither quarterback has thrown an interception. Mary Hardin-Baylor's standout wideout Brenton Martin is cooking, with 7 receptions for 126 yards at the half.

Check out live scoring and stats for the 2021 Stagg Bowl here.

1:05 am, December 18, 2021

North Central (IL) answers with impressive 14-play TD drive

North Central (IL) finally found its footing on offense in the middle of the second quarter, putting together an impressive and much needed 14-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that last 6 minutes and 31 seconds.

The Cardinals now trail 16-13 in the Stagg Bowl.

Junior running back Ethan Greenfield carried the load on the drive, totaling nine carries for 47 yards, including the final one to get into the end zone.

He did fumble twice on the drive: One was recovered by one of his offensive lineman; on the other one he was stripped as he went to the ground, and a Mary Hardin-Baylor player emerged with the ball. The Crusaders defense and coaching staff adamantly lobbied for a review, but the officials kept the ball with the Cardinals, which made the most of the good fortune and finished the drive with a touchdown.

Follow live stats for the 2021 Stagg Bowl here.

12:41 am, December 18, 2021

Mary Hardin-Baylor leads 16-7 after first quarter of Stagg Bowl

DeAngelo Hardy from North Central (IL) brought the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. Since then, it's been all Mary Hardin-Baylor.

After one quarter of play in the 2021 Stagg Bowl, the Crusaders lead 16-7, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Kyle King.

He hit Brandon Jordan on the first one then connected with senior K.J. Miller on the second just before the quarter ended.

The Crusaders defense has prevented the Cardinals from getting anything going offensively, stopping most of their up-the-middle rushing attempts and forcing them into third and longs.

Follow live stats for the national title game here.

12:21 am, December 18, 2021

Kyle King connects with Brandon Jordan to put Mary Hardin-Baylor in front 9-7

The first few minutes of the DIII national championship game have been electric. The Cardinals took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.

Mary-Hardin Baylor hit a big play on its first drive but had to settle for a field goal. North Central (IL)'s offense went 3-and-out and punted the ball 8 yards. The Crusaders scored two plays later on a 19-yard Kyle King touchdown pass to Brandon Jordan.

Then North Central blocked the extra point. It's 9-7. There are 9 minutes and 31 seconds left in the first quarter. Buckle up.

Jordan's touchdown catch set a school record:

Follow live stats for the national title game here.

12:06 am, December 18, 2021

North Central's DeAngelo Hardy houses opening kickoff for touchdown

Hopefully everybody tuned into this game on time because North Central is already up 7-0.

Cardinals sophomore wide receiver DeAngelo Hardy caught the game's opening kickoff at his own 7-yard-line and took it 93 yards to the house. The Mary Hardin-Baylor kickoff coverage team could only muster a couple of hand swipes on Hardy as he zoomed past all 11 of them.

Follow live stats for the national title game here.

11:51 pm, December 17, 2021

2021 Stagg Bowl kicks off from Canton, Ohio

The final game of the 2021 DIII football season is underway, as Mary Hardin-Baylor faces North Central (IL) for the national championship.

It's a matchup of the last two DIII national champions, with the Cardinals winning the 2019 title and the Crusaders lifting the trophy in 2018.

You can watch the Stagg Bowl live on ESPNU.

View live stats for the game here. And stay tuned to this page for more updates and analysis throughout the night.

2:31 pm, December 17, 2021

DIII football national championship Stagg Bowl to kick off tonight

We're just hours away from crowning a new DIII football national champion.

Defending champion North Central (IL) will battle Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Stagg Bowl at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 17 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Live updates and stats will be provided here on NCAA.com. The game is also on ESPNU.

Click or tap here for the full interactive bracket for the 2021 DIII football championship.

11:52 pm, December 11, 2021

Mary Hardin-Baylor rolls past Wisconsin-Whitewater into DIII football championship game

Mary Hardin-Baylor Athletics Mary Hardin-Baylor football diii championship 2021 semifinals

The final of the 2021 DIII football championship is set after Mary Hardin-Baylor completed an impressive 24-7 win over Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second semifinal on Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders will face North Central (IL) for the title next week.

Quarterback Kyle King and wide receiver Brandon Jordan put on a show for Mary Hardin-Baylor, connecting on a pair of touchdown passes. King finished with 248 passing yards, and Jordan corralled 164 receiving yards on 11 catches.

And the Crusaders defense dominated what had been an explosive Wisconsin-Whitewater offense, holding it to 271 total yards and grabbing an interception.

Here are both final scores from semifinal Saturday. Click on the game links below for complete individual and team stats.

Click or tap here for the full interactive bracket for the 2021 DIII football championship. For a printable version of the bracket, go here.

The final will be on Friday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

8:09 pm, December 11, 2021

North Central (IL) doubles up Mount Union for return trip to DIII title game

North Central (Ill.) Athletics north central football diii 2021 semifinals

North Central (IL) is one win away from a repeat title. The Cardinals handled DIII football power Mount Union in the first semifinal on Saturday afternoon, doubling up the Purple Raiders 26-13.

North Central advances to the final, where it can finally defend its 2019 national championship (there was no tournament in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The Cardinals scored points in all four quarters and had a monster game on the ground, running 51 times for 293 total yards. Ethan Greenfield led the way with 31 carries for 190 yards.

Check out compete team and individual stats from the game at the link below:

The Cardinals will face the winner of the second semifinal of the day, which begins shortly. Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mary Hardin-Baylor will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET.

5:00 pm, December 11, 2021

DIII football semifinals set to kick off Saturday afternoon

Wisconsin-Whitewater Athletics Wisconsin whitewater 2021 diii football semifinals

There are four teams left standing in the 2021 DIII football championship, and they're set for a pair of semifinal showdowns on Saturday afternoon.

Mount Union will host North Central (IL) in the first game of the day, and Wisconsin-Whitewater will host Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second.

These four teams account for the last 15 (!) national championships in DIII football. North Central (IL) only has one of those, but it's the most recent, as the Cardinals are the defending champions (they won the 2019 title, and there was no tournament last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Mary Hardin-Baylor has two, and Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater have six each.

Here is the schedule for Saturday (both times Eastern):

Click or tap here for the full interactive bracket for the 2021 DIII football championship. For a printable version of the bracket, go here.

Saturday's winners will meet in the final on Friday, Dec. 17 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

8:56 pm, December 4, 2021

Semifinals set in DIII football championship after Saturday quarterfinals

North Central (Ill.) Athletics north central (IL) diii football championship 2021 quarterfinals

The 2021 DIII football championship is down to four teams after the completion of the quarterfinal round on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Three of the favorites rolled to big wins on the day, with North Central (IL) and Wisconsin-Whitewater surpassing the 50-point mark and Mary Hardin-Baylor falling just one point shy.

The game of the day was between Mount Union and Muhlenberg. The Mules gave the Purple Raiders absolutely everything they could handle, leading through much of the first half and building the advantage to as much as 21-9 in the third quarter.

But Mount Union rallied in the fourth and sent the game to overtime tied at 29. In the extra frame, Braxton Plunk hit Derrick Harvey Jr. for a 14-yard touchdown for the win.

Here are complete scores from Saturday:

Click or tap here for the full interactive bracket for the 2021 DIII football championship. For a printable version of the bracket, go here.

The semifinals will be Saturday, Dec. 11. The final will be the following Friday, Dec. 17.