NCAA DIII Recap: Top-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor cruises; Southwestern scores 31 unanswered in win

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No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (5-0, 4-0)

Last Week: Mary Hardin-Baylor surrendered a touchdown to open the game and then the Cru took over control from that point in a 50-14 win at home over East Texas Baptist. Running back Robert McGrue gained 143 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries. Jonel Reed led the receivers with 98 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Tevin Jones once again led the defense with 14 tackles.

The Verdict: It was a tough week for the Cru despite their success on the field. UMHB was hit with NCAA sanctions from self-reported violations last Thursday and is appealing the NCAA’s decision to force the Cru to vacate their 2016 national title. I suspect this will only galvanize the players and give them extra motivation to repeat this season.

This Week: UMHB travels to play Southwestern at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.


Texas Lutheran Bulldogs (4-1, 4-0)

Last Week: TLU ran out to a 42-point lead at the half before rolling to a 59-21 win at home over Louisiana College. Sophomore quarterback Wade Freeman completed 13-of-13 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns while adding 72 yards and a touchdown on six carries. CJ Romero caught four passes for 65 yards and three touchdowns while Austin Mathews gained 73 yards rushing and a touchdown on eight carries.

The Verdict: TLU continues to roll behind its sophomore quarterback who continues to improve each week of the season. If the Bulldogs can remain focused each week, they remain a contender for the conference title and a playoff berth this year.

This Week: TLU travels to play Howard Payne on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.


No. 17 Hardin-Simmons Cowboys (4-1, 3-1)

Last Week: HSU had a bye last week.

The Verdict: Last week and this week are most likely not pleasant weeks for anyone around the Cowboys football team. HSU must win its remaining games in the regular season to have any chance at a playoff berth.

This Week: HSU concludes a two-game homestand on Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host Belhaven.


Trinity University (Tex.) Tigers (3-2, 2-1)

Last Week: Trinity had a bye last week.

The Verdict: The Tigers have played possibly the toughest conference opponents prior to the bye week. However, there are a few dangerous teams remaining on the Tigers schedule beginning this week against a team that is reeling.

This Week: Trinity travels to play Millsaps on Saturday at 2 p.m.


Austin College Kangaroos (3-2, 2-1)

Last Week: Austin College used a complete game from the offense and the defense to defeat Millsaps 20-7 last Saturday. Quarterback Colt Collins completed 14-of-37 passes for 216 yards with two interceptions and added 64 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Evan Powell gained 117 yards rushing for the ‘Roos. The defense held Millsaps to 199 total yards led by Darius Hypolite who recorded four tackles, broke up one pass and intercepted one pass.

The Verdict: This was a very good win for the ‘Roos as they have the opportunity to put together a nice run of wins over the next few weeks. Austin College will remain a contender for the Southern Athletic Association title this season if they can remain healthy.

This Week: Austin College travels to play Sewanee at noon on Saturday.


Southwestern University Pirates (3-2, 2-2)

Last Week: Southwestern scored 31 unanswered points last Saturday afternoon as they defeated Belhaven 31-21 on the road. Devin Shaw rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries while Elijah Smith added 71 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries. David Brandenburg caught six passes for 108 yards and a touchdown to lead the receiving corps. Hayden Smith led the Pirates defense with seven tackles, six solo, including four tackles for loss.

The Verdict: This is an impressive win for a Pirates team that has been decimated by injuries early in the season. Southwestern only healthy quarterbacks right now are true freshman and the Pirates have had to cancel some JV games due to the number of injuries.

This Week: Southwestern returns home to play No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.


East Texas Baptist Tigers (2-3, 2-2)

Last Week: ETBU drove down the field and scored the first touchdown of the game but was unable to gain any further traction as they fell 50-14 to No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. Quarterback Brian Baca completed 24-of-38 passes for 311 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Jeremiah Robertson led the Tigers with 72 yards receiving on six catches and added 20 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Zach Pike, KJ Kelley and Anton Clark each registered seven tackles for ETBU.

The Verdict: The Tigers started strong but faced a truly uphill battle last Saturday against an angry opponent with extra motivation to send a statement. ETBU returns home this week to play a team beginning the rebuilding process.

This Week: ETBU returns home to host McMurry at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.


Sul Ross State Lobos (2-3, 2-2)

Last Week: Sul Ross State had a bye last week.

The Verdict: The Lobos had an incredible performance in a big win before the bye week. The Lobos had time to rest, get healthy and prepare for a long road trip this week against a decent conference opponent.

This Week: Sul Ross State travels to play Louisiana College on Saturday night at 6 p.m.


Howard Payne Yellow Jackets (2-3, 1-3)

Last Week: HPU had a bye last week.

The Verdict: The Yellow Jackets had a week off after a disappointing loss at home. HPU has another game at home this week against a red-hot team that is seeking to win the American Southwest Conference title.

This Week: HPU concludes a two-game homestand when they host Texas Lutheran on Saturday at 1 p.m.


McMurry War Hawks (0-5, 0-4)

Last Week: McMurry had a bye last week.

The Verdict: The War Hawks have had a tough season thus far in head coach Jordan Neal’s first season. As mentioned here before, it will take some time for Neal to turn McMurry into a winning program.

This Week: McMurry travels to meet East Texas Baptist at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.


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