Updates from the 2021 Stagg Bowl: UMHB vs. North Central

Above photo by CJ Halloran/True To The Cru

CANTON, Ohio- In the 2021 Stagg Bowl, the nation’s No.1 and No. 2 teams are set to battle at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, as Mary Hardin-Baylor (14-0) takes on North Central (13-0). The Crusaders won the 2018 national title, while the Cardinals claimed a victory in the 2019 Stagg Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. CST, and can be seen on ESPNU or heard on 93.9 FM or 1330 AM. Follow for updates throughout the contest.

Mikkah Hackett named Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player…well-deserved honor for the senior, who had 10 tackles, 2 INT, 2 TFL.

Video of the Hackett interception that led to Cormier’s TD

Video of Thomas’ TD run

UMHB is unable to convert on a pass to the back of the end zone to Jordan, and settles for the FG

Cru faces a 3rd and goal from the three-yard line when the 4th quarter begins

1:51 Q3

Two great catches by KJ Miller on this drive. He is especially good at being able to pull down those passes in traffic, even when forced to catch a pass over the shoulder or completely turn around, in the air, to secure the ball. Crusaders knocking on the door at the 3-yard line, holding a 26-17 lead.

9:39 Q3

Incredible…four NCC defenders were trying to bring UMHB RB Aphonso Thomas to the ground, but they are unable to tackle him before he gets across the goal line. Cru now leads 26-17. UMHB’s offensive line has down a tremendous job of creating space for Thomas and Cormier both tonight. Cru has almost tripled its first half rushing yards within these first six minutes of Q3, going from 27 yards at the half to 79 yards at this point.

Under 11 minutes Q3

UMHB going with the rushing attack here to begin the second half. Crusaders might be trying to wear down the NCC defensive line, before trying to go through the air again. Excellent blocking from the UMHB offensive-line, especially on the left side.

Halftime Notes

  • Fumbles played a major role in the story of the first half, as a total of five fumbles were recorded. Both of UMHB’s fumbles led to NCC points, while the Crusaders recovered a fumble on a phenomenal play by linebacker Mikkah Hackett. Hackett came off the right side of the line to hit NCC QB Luke Lehnen hard, forcing the fumble, and recovering it a split-second later. That was the only fumble NCC lost in the first half. 
  • There was no shortage of explosive plays in the opening two quarters, with NCC’s DeAngelo Hardy beginning the game by returning the kick 93 yards for a score, before the Crusaders scored 16 unanswered points. The Cru ran a double-reverse pass (not the first time we’ve seen that this year) with KJ Miller finding Brenton Martin for a 10-yard completion, and Brandon Jordan made a number of spectacular catches along the sidelines. 
  • We’ve seen two different methods of attack in the first half, with NCC relying more on its run game (75 rush yds to UMHB’s 27 rush yds), while the Cru has found more success through the air (258 pass yds to NCC’s 97 pass yds). 
  • Jordan has lived up to the hype, with 3 receptions for 52 yards, but both Brenton Martin and KJ Miller logged four or more catches over the first two quarters. Martin leads the receiving corps with 126 yards. For NCC, Gagliardi Trophy finalist Andrew Kamienski has six receptions for 67 yards. 
  • On defense, the UMHB pass rush has been outstanding, along with its ability to limit the run. Hackett has tallied six tackles from his linebacker position, three of which were solo and one for loss. 
  • Keys to the second half: 
    • For UMHB: Crusaders need to continue to slow Greenfield and the NCC rushing attack. The secondary has been tremendously successful when it comes to limiting the pass. That defensive success will come from consistent pressure in the backfield, and wearing down the NCC offensive line. 
    • For NCC: If the Cardinals can get any kind of momentum going through the air, they will stay in this game. Along with Kamienski, Lehnen has a reliable receiving target in Hardy, and the success through the air should open up opportunities for the running game. Consistent scoring is something NCC does extremely well, and something the offense will have to do to remain in the fight. 

Before Kickoff

READ: Stagg Bowl Preview: UMHB vs. North Central

READ: Web story: UMHB, North Central meet in Stagg Bowl

READ: Back in contention: UMHB ready for Friday’s Stagg Bowl

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