No. 7 Hardin-Simmons at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor
When: 6 p.m. Saturday at Crusader Stadium in Belton, Texas
The Matchup: Throw out the records and stop comparing scores against similar competition this season. None of that matters when HSU visits UMHB on Saturday.
The Cowboys have not defeated the Crusaders since a 29-26 win on Halloween. The Cru handily won the three following contests by an average of 21.7 points. However, the last two games have been decided by only nine points.
The UMHB offense is back to using the formula that led to two national titles, a potent rushing attack. The Cru is averaging 271.7 yards per game on the ground this season with four different players gaining over 100 yards through the first three games.
The HSU offense is different than in previous years. The Cowboys are using an up-tempo style of offense focusing on balance. HSU has thrown the ball 99 times this season while registering 95 rushing attempts in three contests.
The success of the Cru defense depends on stopping the opposition’s rushing attack, and UMHB is very good at stopping the run allowing a measly 53.7 rushing yards per game.
The Cowboys’ defense has struggled against their opponent’s running game by their lofty standards in the early season, allowing 96.3 yards per contest. However, I expect the HSU defense to be ready this week after allowing Belhaven 233 yards rushing last week.
Players to Watch:
Kyle Jones, QB, Sr, Giddings, Texas (Giddings HS)
Kevi Evans, WR, Jr, Mount Vernon, Texas (Mount Vernon HS)
Matt Mitchell, LB, Soph, Wimberley, Texas (Wimberley HS)
Kyle King, QB, Sr, Milano, Texas (Milano HS),
Jefferson Fritz, DB/P, Sr, Kaufman, Texas (Kaufman HS)
Akeem Jackson, LB, Sr, Fairfield, Texas (Fairfield HS)
Key to Victory: The key to this contest begins and ends along the line of scrimmage. UMHB wants to control the clock, grind out the rushing attack before throwing to its playmakers on the outside to break an explosive play.
HSU will want to use its new tempo offense to test the depth of the Crusaders’ defensive line. The key for the Cowboys will be to win enough battles on the offensive line to keep the chains moving and keep their defense rested.
Prediction: Will UMHB be able to control the line of scrimmage and keep the HSU defense on the field, or will the Cowboys’ offensive tempo wear down a Cru defensive line that may be lacking in depth?
I give the edge to the Cru.
Mary Hardin-Baylor by 2
Best of the Rest:
Saturday, Sept. 25
No. 1 Sam Houston at No. 24 Central Arkansas, 4 p.m., ESPN+
No. 5 Colorado School of Mines at West Texas A&M, 7 p.m., LSC Digital Network
No. 2 Kilgore at No. 12 New Mexico Military Institute, 6 p.m., NMMI Athletics
Other Small College Games:
Saturday, Sept. 25
McNeese at Incarnate Word, 11 a.m., ESPN+
Grambling vs Prairie View A&M at Cotton Bowl, 4 p.m.
Texas Southern at Rice, 5:30 p.m., ESPN Networks
Abilene Christian at Lamar, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Lincoln (Calif.) at Stephen F. Austin, 6 p.m., ESPN+
New Mexico Highlands at Tarleton, 6 p.m., ESPN+
NCAA Division II
Angelo State at Central Washington, 6 p.m., WildcatSports.com
Eastern New Mexico at No. 15 Midwestern State, 7 p.m., LSC Digital Network
Texas A&M-Commerce at Texas A&M-Kingsville, 7 p.m., LSC Digital Network
UT Permian Basin at Western New Mexico, 7 p.m., LSC Digital Network
NCAA Division III
Howard Payne at East Texas Baptist, 1 p.m., ETBU Sports Net
Southwestern at McMurry, 4 p.m., McMurrySports.com
Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State, 4 p.m., SRLobos.com
Austin College at Belhaven, 6:30 p.m.
Wayland Baptist at Texas College, 11 a.m.
SAGU at No. 24 Arizona Christian, 1 p.m., GSAC Sports Network
Navarro at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, 6 p.m.
Tyler at No. 7 Trinity Valley, 6 p.m., SHN Sports Network
Louisiana Community Christian at Blinn, 7 p.m., BuccaneerSports.com
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