Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru
BELTON, Texas- UMHB is getting set to take its longest road trip of the regular season, facing Sul Ross State on Saturday afternoon in Alpine, Texas.
The Crusaders look to keep their undefeated record intact, and also extend their winning streak against SRSU to 21 games. In fact, UMHB is 20-0 all-time against the Lobos.
UMHB is coming off a 49-3 victory at home against Texas Lutheran, while SRSU was shutout 44-0 last Saturday at Belhaven.
We break down the opponent, touch on the storylines, and bring you UMHB’s two-deep depth chart in this week’s game preview.
No. 2/2 UMHB @ Sul Ross State
Date: Oct. 23
Place: Jackson Field, Alpine, Texas
Time: 12:00 p.m. CT
About the opponent: Sul Ross State Lobos
Head Coach: John Pearce (7th season)
Conference: American Southwest
Season Record (overall/conf): 1-4, 1-4 (Also lost to North American Univ. 44-37 in an exhibition)
Names to know:
OFFENSE: So. QB Tyler DeShields (84-of-131 passing, 678 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT), Sr. RB Matthew DeLeon (36 carries, 131 rush yds, 1 TD), Fr. WR Vicente Luevano (31 catches, 284 yds, 1 TD)
DEFENSE: So. DL Eduardo Garcia (29.0 total tackles, 17 solo tackles. 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks), Fr. LB Jade Rios (27.0 total tackles, 11 solo tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 forced fumble), Jr. DB James Parker (23.0 total tackles, 6 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery)
Three storylines to watch for the Cru
Pounding the rock– The SRSU defense has allowed the second-most rushing yards in the ASC this season (1015 yds), while UMHB’s offense leads the league in that stat category (1567 yds).
Head coach Pete Fredenburg was asked about his offensive game plan entering the contest at Monday’s press conference: “It goes back to what the defense is allowing and giving you,” Fredenburg said. “That’s what we’ll hang our hat on.”
Linebackers unit continues to improve– Against Texas Lutheran, UMHB’s three leading tacklers were all linebackers, a sign that the unit has continued to develop over the last several games. Even without captain Mikkah Hackett, who has been out with an injury, the Crusaders have found depth at the position. Recently, Durand Hill was moved from running back to linebacker, and in his first game at the new position, he recovered a fumble and tallied one tackle. Having allowed just three points since halftime of the Hardin-Simmons victory, the UMHB defense is working as a well-oiled machine.
Fredenburg noted on Monday following the TLU victory: “Obviously the big critical thing was the play of our linebackers,” Fredenburg noted. “This past week [Linebackers coach] Jack [Johnson] did a great job of getting them prepared.”
Quarterback play– Starting quarterback Kyle King has been stellar this season, currently ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency (207.03). He has led the Cru to several key wins, including the 34-28 comeback against Hardin-Simmons on Sept. 27. However, with backup quarterback Tommy Bowden shifting positions, as was reported by the Temple Daily Telegram’s Eric Drennan, the search is on for a reliable backup. Ryan Redding is the only other quarterback on the roster who has seen playing time this season, going 4-of-6 passing for 69 yards, and adding 146 rushing yards on 13 attempts. He is listed as the backup at quarterback for Saturday’s game.
Fredenburg spoke of developing a reliable backup at his weekly press conference on Monday, telling reporters, “If something happened right now to Kyle King, I’m not sure if we would have a lot of confidence in his backup. We have to address that. We’ve got to get a quarterback ready to come in and help us if we need him.”
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), Ryan Redding (Sr.-3L)
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: Reuel Tandoh (So-1L), John Kazmierski (Sr.-2L)
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: Josh Patteson (So.-1L), Joe Elder (Fr.-HS)
Left Defensive Tackle: Pete Smith (Sr.-3L), Anthony Clayton (Jr.-TR)
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), Khryen Deal (Fr.-HS)
Cornerback: Titus Dunk (Jr.-2L), Tavion Page (Jr.-2L)
Cornerback: Keith Gipson (Sr.-3L), Chaka Watson (So.-1L)
Kicker: Anthony Avila (Sr.-3L), Brandon Cunningham (Jr.-2L),
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: OL Ethan Ruckman is on the two-deep after suffering a right ankle injury against TLU. He was day-to-day earlier in the week when Fredenburg spoke with reporters…Ryan Redding is listed as the backup at quarterback for the first time this season…Kicker Anthony Avila is listed as the starter at kicker after handling the PAT and kickoff duties against TLU. He was 0-for-1 in his lone field goal attempt, but did nail six PATs. Brandon Cunningham had been listed on the two-deep as the starter at kicker for the previous two contests…DT Josh Patteson is in line to make his second straight start on the defensive line. He has tallied 10.0 total tackles this season.