DCTF College Game of the Week: Mary Hardin-Baylor (4-0) at Hardin-Simmons (4-0)

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Mary Hardin-Baylor (4-0) at Hardin-Simmons (4-0)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday at Shelton Stadium in Abilene, Texas

Broadcast: HSU Athletics

The Matchup: Stop me if you have heard this before. Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons will play Saturday, with the winner securing the American Southwest Conference title.

How dominant have these schools been in the ASC? The winner of this game has earned at least a share of the conference title since UMHB started football in 1998. In fact, in the history of the ASC, only one year has one of these two teams not had a share of the title. The year was 1997 when Mississippi College won the title.

UMHB has dominated the series between these schools, having won four in a row and 21-of-27 meetings overall. However, the Cowboys have closed the gap significantly in the last two years.

HSU nearly pulled off the upset at Crusader Stadium in 2019 before Anthony Avila hit a 43-yard field goal that led to controversy and questions of whether the ball was snapped before time expired.

The Cowboys have been looking forward to this rematch since that fateful day in October and have been rolling through the spring, outscoring their opponents 181-41.

The Cru has cruised in three of their wins this spring but nearly lost in their last road contest at East Texas Baptist on March 6. UMHB made a change at quarterback last week, which led to a resurgence in the offense.

There may not be a spot in the NCAA Division III playoffs on the line in this game but rest assured, it will be an intense and brutal battle with the winner claiming bragging rights until the fall.

Players to Watch: 

UMHB - Kyle King, QB, Jr, Milano, Texas (Milano HS)

K.J. Miller, WR, Jr, Orange, Texas (West Orange Stark HS)

Jefferson Fritz, DB, Sr, Kaufman, Texas (Kaufman HS)

HSU - Kyle Jones, QB, Sr, Giddings, Texas (Giddings HS)

Myles Featherston, RB, Fr, Mansfield, Texas (Lake Ridge HS)

Rae Millsap, WR, Jr, Abilene, Texas (Abilene HS)

Key to Victory: These teams are even on paper in every facet of the game; limiting turnovers will be the most important key for both teams. 

Special teams were the difference in the last meeting in 2019 and will play a significant role again this week. Both teams feature dynamic returners who can break a touchdown at any time and two of the best field goal kickers in the country.

Jefferson Fritz and Brandon Cunningham have split time at punter for the Cru. Fritz has a huge leg, and Cunningham has the accuracy placing 8-of-10 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Sophomores Brooks Barker and Cody Harral have split time at punter for the Cowboys, and both have been solid this season, with Barker averaging 46.3 yards per punt and Harral averaging 43.3 yards per attempt this spring.

Prediction: Hardin-Simmons by 2

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