NCAA DIII Recap
No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (10-0, 9-0)
Last Week: UMHB left no doubt they were the best team in the American Southwest Conference as they defeated Sul Ross State 77-14 on the road to clinch the outright title. Jase Hammack completed 5-of-8 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown while five different players scored a rushing touchdown for the Cru. Jonel Reed caught four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. Mikkah Hackett had an incredible day with seven tackles, six solo, two tackles for loss, broke up one pass and intercepted two passes. Hackett returned both interceptions for touchdowns. Jarrell Sykes also returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Verdict: The Cru clinched their 17th consecutive ASC title and entered as one of the top teams in the NCAA playoffs set to begin this week. UMHB will host this week and will most likely host each game until the championship game held in Shenandoah, Texas again this year. However, this week’s game is a tough match for the Cru.
This Week: UMHB will host Redlands in the first round of the playoffs at noon on Saturday.
Texas Lutheran Bulldogs (8-2, 8-1)
Last Week: TLU scored early and often last Saturday as they defeated McMurry 57-14 at home to end the regular season. Sophomore quarterback Wade Freeman finished a tremendous season as he completed 10-of-15 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown while adding 127 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Ian Leslie gained 130 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries and Austin Mathews had 116 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 17 carries. Sam Guzman led the defense with 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and one-half sack.
The Verdict: The Bulldogs had a very successful season and won eight of their last nine games this season. TLU has a very bright future with quarterback Wade Freeman gaining valuable experience and having two more years to lead the offense. The Bulldogs should be in the mix for the ASC title once again next year.
This Week: TLU has concluded its season.
Trinity University (Tex.) Tigers (8-2, 7-1)
Last Week: Trinity had no problem ending its season on a high note as they went on the road and took a dominating 52-7 win over Rhodes. Wide receiver Tommy Lavine led the offense with 152 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches. Wyatt Messex completed 18-of-28 passes for 197 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Nic Hover and Michael Jewett led the defense with eight tackles apiece.
The Verdict: The Tigers earned their first-ever share of the Southern Athletic Association title in program history. A loss earlier this year to Berry is the only thing that kept the Tigers from a playoff berth and an outright title. Head coach Jerheme Urban has done a tremendous job and Trinity will challenge again next season.
This Week: Trinity has concluded its season.
No. 12 Hardin-Simmons Cowboys (8-2, 7-2)
Last Week: HSU took control of the game with 28 points in the fourth quarter as they defeated Southwestern 49-6 at home last Saturday. Quarterback Kyle Jones completed 20-of-29 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns while Jaquan Hemphill added 95 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Wide receiver Jalen Crawford had a great day with 138 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. Free safety Blake Johnston recorded 10 tackles, six solo, and forced a fumble for the Cowboys defense.
The Verdict: The Cowboys had a great season but a home loss early in the season combined with a one-point heartbreaking road loss to their rival placed HSU in a position where they were unable to make the playoffs. With only five at-large bids to the playoffs each season, teams with two losses are unlikely to make the postseason.
This Week: HSU has concluded its season.
East Texas Baptist Tigers (6-4, 6-3)
Last Week: ETBU scored the final 24 points last week to earn a 31-7 road win over Louisiana College. Brian Baca completed 18-of-32 for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Jeremiah Robertson gained 71 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for the Tigers. Senior linebacker Anton Clark finished his brilliant career with 11 tackles, six solo, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hurry, broke up a pass and intercepted a pass.
The Verdict: The Tigers season did not start as they had planned but they rebounded nicely to win six of their final eight games this year. ETBU has a talented young group of players but will need to find a replacement for quarterback Brian Baca.
This Week: ETBU has concluded its season.
Austin College Kangaroos (5-5, 4-4)
Last Week: 31 unanswered points was too much for Austin College to overcome as they lost 55-28 on the road to No. 20 Berry last week. Senior quarterback Colt Collins finished his incredible career for the ‘Roos by completing 22-of-39 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while rushing for 172 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Maika Brinkerhoff caught a touchdown pass for the ‘Roos and Regan Wilkins led the defense with six tackles, four solo.
The Verdict: The ‘Roos had an amazing season winning the most games in a season since 2015. Head coach Loren Dawson has done an incredible job with the ‘Roos and he will look to replace the production of Colt Collins next season. Collins had a fantastic career and finishes with the most total yards in school history.
This Week: Austin College has concluded its season.
Howard Payne Yellow Jackets (5-5, 4-5)
Last Week: HPU overcame multiple injuries at the quarterback position to earn a hard-fought 17-3 win at home over Belhaven last Saturday. Nick Stolt moved from linebacker to quarterback completed 9-of-17 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 66 yards on 19 carries. DunTayviun Gross caught a touchdown pass in the final game of his outstanding career for HPU. Senior linebacker Austin Kilgore finished his career with 12 tackles and one tackle for loss.
The Verdict: The Yellow Jackets finished with the most wins in their program since 2006 as head coach Braxton Harris is doing a great job rebuilding the football program. HPU has a very young team and Harris will only add talent and continue to build the team.
This Week: HPU has concluded its season.
Southwestern University Pirates (4-6, 3-6)
Last Week: Southwestern hung tough last week but 28 fourth-quarter points were too much for the Pirates as they lost 49-6 on the road to No. 13 Hardin-Simmons. Running back Brady French gained 90 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to lead the offense. J.J. Slack led the defense with nine tackles, seven solo, and broke up a pass. Garrett Womack and Nicholas Smith each registered a sack for the Pirates.
The Verdict: The Pirates battled multiple injuries at almost every position this season and canceled some Junior Varsity games because they needed the depth for Saturdays. Head coach Joe Austin said he has never experienced a season like this, and the Pirates should return to their standard next season.
This Week: Southwestern has concluded its season.
Sul Ross State Lobos (3-7, 3-6)
Last Week: Sul Ross State faced possibly its best opponent this season and took a 77-14 loss at home against No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. Fabian Baeza completed 15-of-32 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Williton Grear finished his fabulous career with 78 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries. Logan Schnautz caught eight passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Levah Tarry led the defense once again with eight tackles, three solo.
The Verdict: The Lobos had a great start to the season, but injuries and youth led to a tough finish for SRSU. The good news for the Lobos is that they played a large group of young players and the experience will pay dividends in a year or two. The Lobos will need to find a replacement for the talented Grear.
This Week: Sul Ross State has concluded its season.
McMurry War Hawks (0-10, 0-9)
Last Week: McMurry was unable to keep pace with Texas Lutheran last week as they lost 57-14 on the road to end the season. Quarterback Carlos Garibay completed 20-of-37 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown while wide receiver Eriel Dorsey had an amazing performance with 191 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. Defensive back Ke’Shaun Jnofinn led the defense with 16 tackles, four solo, and one-half tackle for loss.
The Verdict: The War Hawks had a tough season but that was not unexpected as head coach Jordan Neal instills his program and starts the building process at McMurry. Fans will need to remain patient with Neal as he builds the program and brings in his players.
This Week: McMurry has concluded its season.
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