BELTON — The number of the night was 18 for Mary Hardin-Baylor. Not only did the nation’s top squad earn its 18th straight victorym, the Crusaders also notched their 18th straight win over Texas Lutheran.
The tone for a 50-7 rout was set in the opening quarter when two of Lutheran’s first three possessions ended in turnovers. After the Bulldogs moved into Crusader territory on their first drive, they opted to go for it on fourth and five, resulting in a tipped-ball interception by UMHB’s Santos Villarreal.
The Crusaders capitalized on the opening turnover with an 11-yard touchdown completion to Bryce Wilkerson. Wilkerson also made an acrobatic grab in the corner of the end zone on the next possession, but was ruled out of bounds.
The only question mark in the game for UMHB was with the quarterback position. After helping to build an early lead, starter T.J. Josey took a seat as backup Kyle Jones came into the game.
“That was the plan for us going in,” said UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg. “We felt like we really wanted to take a look at Kyle and I thought he did really well. We had a scripted rotation figured out before the game for that very reason.”
Jones played well on his first two possessions, going 8-for-10 passing for 116 yards. He checked back into the game late in the third quarter after Josey led two touchdown drives to start the second half to ensure the blowout and finished 11-21 with 145 yards and a touchdown.
“Nothing changed out there,” said Josey on the new quarterback situation. “Whenever and whoever is out there we just need to run the offense and keep executing.”
Fredenburg said he plans to maintain a similar plan moving forward with his quarterbacks.
The Bulldogs were extremely effective running the ball against Belhaven last week, but couldn’t crack UMHB’s front four, managing just 75 rushing yards on 40 carries.
Defensively, the Crusaders forced five turnovers on the night.
Lutheran falls to 1-2 and will stay on the road next week as they travel to Abilene for a 1 p.m. showdown against McMurray on Saturday.
“Give them all the credit in the world,” said Texas Lutheran head coach Carl Gustafson after the loss. “They played extremely well in all three phases but we didn’t win many of those one-on-one matchups, which allowed them to get on a roll early. When that happens it’s going to be a tough night.”
The Crusaders will try and make it 19 in a row next weekend as they travel to Georgetown to battle Southwestern University with a 6 p.m. kickoff on Saturday/ This will be the first meeting between the two programs since Southwestern revived its football program in 2013, after a nearly six-decade hiatus.