Previewing this week’s game, presented by The Best of Belton
Head coach: Jordan Neal
Overall Record: 1-8
ASC Record: 1-6
Notable win: @ Austin College, 27-24
Last time out: McMurry lost its third straight game by 12-points or less last Saturday, dropping a 33-27 game at Sul Ross State. The Warhawks led 14-12 at halftime, but could not contain the offense of the Lobos, who scored 21 second half points, and won the game.
No. 3 UMHB
Head coach: Larry Harmon
Overall record: 8-1
ASC Record: 7-0
Notable Win: @ No. 8 Hardin-Simmons 50-20
Last time out: UMHB battled Howard Payne in a tight one last Saturday in Brownwood, leading 24-16 with under a minute to play. HPU scored a touchdown and two-point conversion with 31 seconds left, but the Cru marched downfield in four plays, setting up a game-winning field goal from Anthony Avila. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Cru.
Follow the Action
Date/Time: November 12, 1 p.m. CT
Location: Crusader Stadium, Belton, Texas
Listen: 93.9 FM/1330 AM (Fox Sports Central Texas Radio)
The Series in Review
UMHB is 17-2 against McMurry all-time. The Warhawks won the first two meetings, in 1998, and 1999, but have never beaten the Cru during the 21st century. In last year’s regular season finale in Abilene, UMHB won the annual meeting 77-3, with 546 yards of total offense.
Scouting the Warhawks
McMurry is better than its record shows, with a number of close losses throughout this season. But the offense, with a number of young players, has also struggled at times, ranked No. 8 in the ASC in yards per game (296.9). Sophomore quarterback Andrew McBride has completed 48.1 percent of his passes in his first season as the starter, throwing for seven touchdowns and five interceptions. His top targets at receiver have been Jermond Lovely and Kristopher Martin, who each rank in the Top 20 in the conference in receiving yardage.
On defense, McMurry has been best against the pass, allowing the fourth-fewest yards per game through the air, at 209.3. The Warhawks have tallied four interceptions as well. They allow just around 151 rushing yards per contest. Linebacker Herman Lee anchors the McMurry defensive front, and has 58 total tackles this season with 9.5 sacks.
For UMHB’s seniors, Saturday’s contest marks the final regular season game that they will play at Crusader Stadium. It is a special group that has overcome plenty during its time in Belton, and won a national title. The senior class includes quarterback Kyle King, receivers K.J. Miller, Brandon Jordan, and Jamaal Hamilton, defensive back Tommy Bowden, kicker Anthony Avila, and offensive linemen John Kazmierski and Lance Jones. A complete list of the seniors honored will be posted on our Twitter (@TrueToTheCru) prior to kickoff.
“They’re one of the elite classes that we’ve ever had,” UMHB head coach Larry Harmon said. “They’ve been a part of a lot of playoff victories and won a lot of ballgames for us. They have an opportunity to be the first class at Mary Hardin-Baylor to win back-to-back national championships. That’s a goal of theirs. If we can get that accomplished, I think they’ll go down as the best senior class that we’ve ever had at Mary Hardin-Baylor. But there’s quite a few more games left to be played for that statement to be made. It’s a great class and there are some tremendous players.”
In the regular season finale…
UMHB has been nearly unbeatable the 24 regular season finales the program has played since 1998. According to our research, the Cru have lost the final game of conference play exactly once, when TLU won 34-24 on Nov. 13, 1999. UMHB has outscored its opponents 177-32 in the last three regular season finales it has played.
King, whose 2,682 passing yards in 2021 ranks No. 2 in program history for single-season passing yardage, has a chance to take the No. 4 spot on the all-time list (for the time being) as well on Saturday. He has 2,306 yards through the air this season, and is 336 yards shy of Zach Anderson’s 2015 mark of 2,613 yards. He is also six passing touchdowns short of the single-season record in that stat category.
Linebacker Johnny Smith-Rider’s four forced fumbles are tied for the second-most in a season in UMHB history, and he is just two shy of tying Deshon Kinsey’s mark of six, which ranks No. 1. He also needs just 5.5 more tackles for loss to tie for No. 5 in the program record books in that stat category.
Jordan, the single-season record holder in receiving touchdowns is just one touchdown reception away from tying the all-time career record of 29. Miller needs just one more punt return touchdown to tie for the No. 1 spot in that category, as he currently has six in his career.
UMHB Two Deep Depth Chart (Per the UMHB Athletics Department)
*-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.-2L), Jackson Tingler (Jr.-1L),
Running Back: Aphonso Thomas (Sr. 1L), Kenneth Cormier Jr. (Jr.-2L)
Wide Receiver: Jerry Day Jr. (So.-1L), Jamaal Hamilton (Sr.-1L)
Wide Receiver: KJ Miller (Sr.-4L), Jerry Cephus (So,-JV)
Wide Receiver: Brandon Jordan (Sr.-2L), Jawon Richards (Jr.-TR)
Tight End: Connor Mullins (Jr.-2L), Will McClintock (So.-TR)
Left Tackle: Reuel Tandoh (Jr.-2L), Kyle Wente (So.-1L)
Left Guard: Jesse Hoke (Jr.-2L), Wyatt Crawford (Jr.-2L)
Center: Jeffery Sims Jr. (Sr.-4L), Jacob Dailey (So.-2L)
Right Guard: Matt Sanders (Sr.-3L), John Schnautz (So.-JV)
Right Tackle: Ethan Ruckman (Jr.-2L), John Kazmierski (Sr.-3L)
Left Defensive End: Trey Belyeu-Witcher (So.-1L), Dorian Pittman (Fr.-HS)
Left Defensive Tackle: Pete Smith (Sr.-3L), Jose Fuentes (So.-JV)
Right Defensive Tackle: Tristan Green (So.-1L), Mason Cavness (So.-JV)
Right Defensive End: Sante Parker Jr. (Sr.-3L), Kobe Giles (Jr.-2L)
Weakside Linebacker: Johnny Smith-Rider (So.-1L), Caden Steubing (Jr.-JV)
Middle Linebacker: Durand Hill (So.-1L), La’Damian Bailey (So,-JV)
Strongside Linebacker: Omari Frazier (Jr.-2L), Noel Wright (Jr.-TR)
Cru (Flex Safety): Tommy Bowden (Sr.-3L), Diarva Brown (Sr.-TR)
Free Safety: Dorian Williams (Jr.-TR), Cameron Mitton (Fr.-HS)
Cornerback: Titus Dunk (Sr.-3L), Trashawn Adams (So.-1L)
Cornerback: Chaka Watson (Jr.-2L), Tavion Page (Sr.-3L)
Kicker: Anthony Avila (Sr.-3L), Jack Bruner (Fr.-HS)
Punter: Kyle King (Sr.-2L), Jack Bruner (Fr.-HS)
Punt Returner: KJ Miller (Sr.-4L), Jamaal Hamilton (Sr.-1L)
Kick Returner: KJ Miller (Sr.-4L), Jamaal Hamilton (Sr.-1L)
Long/Short Snapper: Adam Strawn (Jr.-1L), Will McClintock (So.-TR)
Holder: Tommy Bowden (Sr.-3L)