Whitewater, WI- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team spotted the defending national runner-up a big early lead and the expected showdown between the nation's #2 and #3 ranked teams never materialized in a 41-14 UMHB loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater Saturday afternoon in Whitewater, Wisconsin. The loss drops the Cru, ranked 2nd in the country in all three national polls to 7-1 on the season. The Warhawks, ranked 3rd or 4th in the national polls, improve to 7-1 on the season with the victory.
UWW grabbed a 7-0 lead when Justin Beaver went 23 yards for a touchdown to cap the Warhawks opening possession of the game. UWW defensive back Andy Murray then picked off a Josh Welch pass and returned it to the UMHB nine-yard line. That set up an eight-yard Danny Jones TD run to make it 14-0. The Cru seemed to be driving on the next possession before Matt Blaziewske picked off another Welch pass and returned it 60 yards for a score to put the Warhawks up 21-0. Another Cru drive ended with a Cole Smith fumble. UWW again responded on a drive kept alive by a fourth-down offside call against UMHB. Jones scored from two yards out this time and it was 28-0 UWW at the half.
The Warhawks stretched the lead to 31-0 when Jeff Schebler hit a 37-yard field goal to cap the opening drive of the second half. UMHB cut the lead to 31-7 when Quincy Daniels capped an 11-play, 71-yard drive with a one-yard TD run at the 7:32 mark of the third quarter. Daniels then went 10 yards for another score to pull the Cru to within 31-14 with 13:33 remaining to play. Schebler added a 40-yard field goal and Tristan Borzick added the exclamation point with another 60-yard interception return for a touchdown to provide the final margin.
The Cru turned the ball over five times in the game and was penalized 13 times for 87 yards. UMHB did hold the Warhawks to 247 yards of total offense while posting 275 total yards in the game. The Cru did not force a turnover in the game.
Jarvis Thrasher ran for 67 yards on 20 carries for the Cru and Daniels added 51 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Welch finished 12-29 passing for 113 yards and Patrick Oliver caught six of those passes for 74 yards. The Cru defense held All-American running back Justin Beaver to 77 yards on 29 carries. Danny Jones ran for two touchdowns for the Warhawks and completed 13-19 passes for 155 yards in the win. MLB Eric Henri posted a team-high 13 tackles for UMHB while A.J. Raebel had 14 stops for the Warhawks.
The Cru will now return home and return to American Southwest Conference action next Saturday. UMHB will host East Texas Baptist for a 1:00 PM start at Tiger Field in Belton. The Cru can clinch the ASC championship and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Championship with a win over the Tigers.