ABILENE — All that was missing were the flat-top haircuts as Mary Hardin-Baylor went old-school against Hardin-Simmons and put an old-fashioned beat down on the Cowboys.
No. 2 UMHB ran the ball on 59 of its 70 plays, scored every which way and stonewalled HSU in a 63-7 victory Saturday afternoon at Shelton Stadium.
The Crusaders (7-0, 4-0 American Southwest Conference) rushed for 294 yards, got one touchdown from its defense and two from its special teams, and held the Cowboys to a total of 180 yards on the way to their 12th consecutive win in the teams’ rivalry series.
“We felt like being physical was what we needed to do today,” said UMHB senior running back Elijah Hudson, who ran for a game-high 122 yards and a score. “We knew we could go out there and just pound the ball down their throat, and that’s what we did.”
The Crusaders used four quarterbacks but threw the ball only 11 times, often putting together long scoring drives while never putting the ball in the air.
“The No. 1 thing is we want to be physical. And then when it was working, why stop?” UMHB coach Pete Fredenburg said. “We just wanted to get in control of the football game. It’s not that we’re not going to throw. We just had the run working so well.”
Sophomore starting quarterback Zach Anderson was 2-of-4 for 13 yards and an interception. Senior Jake Sims went 4-of-6 for 41 yards and a TD.
Fellow senior Brian Gallagher was 0-for-1, and receiver Marcus Wimby lined up at QB for a few snaps.
“We have the Wildcat, and we want to continue to move that along. And we have what we think are three good quarterbacks right now,” Fredenburg said. “Zach is our starter, but we’re going to get some work from those other guys. What we did was give them some different personnel groupings to execute and it worked out good.”
SECOND HALF LANDSLIDE
Leading 21-7 at halftime, the Crusaders poured it on in the final two quarters with 42 points, including the touchdowns from their defense and special teams.
“There were turnovers, blocked punts ... we just didn’t perform well in any phase of the game,” visibly perturbed Cowboys coach Jesse Burleson said. “This is not us. They’re a good team and we didn’t play very well.”
The second-half explosion was ignited by a 23-yard interception return for a TD by Baylor Mullins, a freshman linebacker from nearby Merkel who also had a team-high nine tackles and two pass breakups.
“It was good to be close to home. With everybody here, it just felt like home,” Mullins said. “I give the credit to (defensive coordinator Larry Harmon) and (free safety) Cody Jones on the interception for lining me up right all week. We knew that pass was coming.”
UMHB was up 42-7 before a 21-point fourth-quarter flurry that included Chris Wimby’s 71-yard punt return for a touchdown and Tim Bower’s block and 12-yard return of another punt.
“I think we took a big step,” Fredenburg said. “I think our offense became more physical, and I think our defense really played physical. But I was really proud of the way our offense stepped up. Then you start making plays, and it just kind of rolls.”
The Cowboys rarely threatened and scored their only touchdown early in the second quarter when the Crusaders gambled with a blitz that didn’t pay off. HSU running back Tevin Mitchell - the ASC’s leading rusher entering the game — was bottled up and gained only 38 yards on 23 carries.
In addition to Mullins’ pick, Jones and defensive end Teidrick Smith also had interceptions to help offset three turnovers by the Crusaders.
“Coming in, we felt like Tevin Mitchell was really a quality back and that we did a really poor job last week against the run,” Fredenburg said. “Our players and our coaches really went to work and did a great job of shutting them down.”
Anderson and Caleb Moore had a pair of rushing touchdowns apiece, and Kamray Runnels hauled in Sims’ scoring pass from 5 yards out for UMHB, which returns home to host Howard Payne next Saturday.