Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru
BELTON, Texas- Coming off a bye week, the UMHB football team is back in action on Saturday, hosting Texas Lutheran in its sixth game of the regular season.
On Monday, UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg noted that the open date “came at an appropriate time” for the Crusaders, who worked to develop some of the younger players. It also gave the older players an opportunity to rest, especially those working to recover from minor ailments and injuries.
All of that should factor into Saturday’s matchup, as the Cru looks to move to 6-0 on the season, and 5-0 in ASC play. We break down the opponent, touch on the storylines and bring you UMHB’s two-deep depth chart in this week’s game preview.
Texas Lutheran at No. 2/2 UMHB
Date: Oct. 16
Place: Crusader Stadium, Belton, Texas
Time: 1:00 p.m. CT
About the opponent: Texas Lutheran Bulldogs
Head Coach: Ricky Matt (2nd year)
Conference: American Southwest
Season Record (overall/conf): 1-4, 1-3
Names to know: Jr. QB Seth Cosme (44/77 passing, 57%, 680 pass yds, 4 TD, 1 INT), So. RB Jacob Forton (60 carries, 387 yds, 6/5 yds/carry, 7 TD, 1 fumble), So. DaKory Willis (70 carries, 376 yds, 5.4 yds/carry, 2 TD, 1 fumble), Jr. WR Trent Stefka (14 catches, 267 yds), Sr. DB Robert Ramirez (32.0 total tackles, 20 solo tackles, 2 pass breakups), So. LB Markel Turner (29.0 total tackles, 20 solo tackles, 1.0 sack, 2.0 TFL)
Three Storylines to Watch
Last time out: The last time these two opponents faced off was nearly two years ago, during the 2019 season. UMHB took a 19-1 series lead with a 41-3 victory in Belton on Nov. 9, tallying 385 yards of offense. This will be the first time the Cru takes the field against a Ricky Matt-led team, as TLU’s head coach took over prior to the 2020-21 season.
Dual-Threat Signal-Caller: UMHB quarterback Kyle King has been arguably the ASC’s top dual-threat quarterback this season, tallying 23 total touchdowns; 14 through the air and 9 on the ground. With a solid offensive line, King has completed 66.7% of his passes, and is No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency (215.89).
Game can be won through the air: UMHB will need to take advantage of its elite receiving corps against the Bulldogs, who have allowed 257.6 passing yards per game. The Crusaders certainly have enough passing targets to repeatedly challenge the TLU secondary, such as Brandon Jordan, who is second in the ASC in catches (15) and receiving touchdowns (4). Additionally, if UMHB can open up its passing game early, that may create some opportunities for significant gains on the ground.
Two Deep Depth Chart
*-Team Captain, L-Varsity Letter, SQ- Previously on varsity roster in past season(s) but has seen no playing time, TR- Transfer
Quarterback: *Kyle King (Sr.-1L), Tommy Bowden (Jr.-2L)
Running Back: Aphonso Thomas (Jr.-1L), Kenneth Cormier Jr. (So.-1L)
Wide Receiver: Brenton Martin (Sr.-2L), Jerry Day (Fr.-TR)
Wide Receiver: KJ Miller (Sr.-2L), Aaron Sims (Sr.-1L)
Wide Receiver: Brandon Jordan (Sr.-1L), Jamaal Hamilton (Jr.-TR)
Tiger End: *Gary Ruckman (Sr.-2L), Connor Mullins (So.-1L)
Left Tackle: Jesse Hoke (So.-1L), Hayes Chizer (So.-SQ)
Left Guard: John Kazmierski (Sr.-2L), Reuel Tandoh (So-1L)
Center: Jeffery Sims Jr. (Sr.-3L), Jacob Dailey (So.-1L)
Right Guard: Matt Sanders (Jr.-2L), Adam Dobbins (Sr.-SQ)
Right Tackle: Ethan Ruckman (So.-1L), Wyatt Crawford (So.-1L)
Right Defensive End: Khevon Shepard (Sr.-4L), Sante Parker Jr. (Sr.-2L)
Right Defensive Tackle: Tristan Green (So.-1L), Josh Patteson (So.-1L),
Left Defensive Tackle: Pete Smith (Sr.-3L), Kobe Giles (So.-1L)
Left Defensive End: E’Monte Smith (Sr.-4L), James Eckrote (Fr.-HS)
Weakside Linebacker: Jacob Mueller (Sr.-3L), Lyndon Rangel (Fr.-HS)
Middle Linebacker: Akeem Jackson (Sr.-4L), Durand Hill (Fr.-HS)
Strongside Linebacker: Omari Frazier (So.-1L), Johnny Smith-Rider (Fr.-HS)
Cru (Flex Safety): Jayden Smith (Sr.-3L), Jordan See (So.-1L)
Free Safety: *Jefferson Fritz (Sr.-4L), Dorien Shannon (Jr.-JV)
Cornerback: Titus Dunk (Jr.-2L), Tavion Page (Jr.-2L)
Cornerback: Keith Gipson (Sr.-3L), Chaka Watson (So.-1L)
Kicker: Brandon Cunningham (Jr.-2L), Anthony Avila (Sr.-3L)
Punter: *Jefferson Fritz (Sr.-4L), Brandon Cunningham (Jr.-2L)
Punt Returner: Jefferson Fritz (Sr.-4L), KJ Miller (Sr.-2L)
Kick Returner: Aaron Sims (Sr.-1L), KJ Miller (Sr.-2L)
Long Snapper: Jacob Mueller (Sr.-3L), James Brinsley (Fr.-HS)
Holder: Tommy Bowden (Jr.-2L), Ryan Redding (Sr.-3L)
Two-Deep Notes: Several players are making their season debuts on the two-deep this week. On defense, freshmen Lyndon Rangel and James Eckrote are listed for the first time, as both were on the JV roster through the month of September. Also Dorien Shannon, now the backup at free safety, started the year on the JV roster. The backup at long snapper is now James Brinsley, another freshman who was recently taking snaps with the JV team…For the second straight week, Brandon Cunningham is slotted to start at kicker. He handled the PAT duties against Austin College while Anthony Avila handled kickoffs…Khevon Shepard, who was not listed on the depth chart prior to the game at Austin, is now listed as the starter at right defensive end. Shepard has played in all five games, posting 11 total tackles.