Pineville — The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team stole the momentum on the final play of the first half and then dominated the second on the way to a 30-3 win over Louisiana College on Saturday.
The second-ranked Cru blocked a field goal on the final play of the second quarter and Javicz Jones scooped up the ball and returned it 95 yards for a TD to turn a potential 6-0 deficit into a 6-3 UMHB lead. The Cru never looked back on the way to improving to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in American Southwest Conference play on the season. The No. 21 Wildcats fell to 4-2, 2-1.
Both teams were sluggish offensively in the first half. UMHB drove the ball well between the 20-yard lines but missed a pair of first quarter field goal attempts. LC took a 3-0 lead on a 25-yard field goal from Adam Olivares with 2:18 left in the second quarter.
The Cru would be forced to punt and the Wildcats drove to the UMHB five-yard line with 0.1 left on the clock. Olivares would set up for a 22-yard field goal try, but Korey Steward broke through to block the kick and Jones scooped it up, broke down the Cru sideline and broke two tackles on the way to a 95-yard touchdown return. The extra point was off the mark, but UMHB would take a 6-3 lead and all of the momentum into the locker room at halftime. LiDarral Bailey hit Geoff Myles for a 64-yard TD pass on the first offensive play of the second half to push the Cru lead to 13-3. UMHB marched 80 yards in 10 plays on its next possession as Bailey hit Elijah Hudson with an 11-yard swing pass for a score to make it 20-3 Cru. Bailey found Jon Ross with a 16-yard scoring strike with 2:19 left in the third to stretch the lead to 27-3 and Chad Peevey closed out the scoring with a 31-yard field goal with 5:30 left to play.
The Cru defense held the Wildcats to just 143 yards of total offense in the second half and intercepted a pair of LC passes. UMHB finished the game with 230 rushing yards, 229 passing yards and 259 yards of total offense while not turning the ball over. LC finished with 300 yards of total offense, but just 42 rushing yards.
Bailey was 17-22 passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Darius Wilson ran for 106 yards on 15 carries in his first action in four weeks and Myles finished with six catches for 112 yards and a score. Cody Jones had a game-high nine tackles for the UMHB defense and Javicz Jones had five tackles, an interception and a pass break-up to go with his touchdown return.
Jamie Bunting was 26-46 passing for Louisiana College for 258 yards. D’Mario Parker caught 11 balls for 109 yards for the Wildcats and Ryan Montague managed just 41 rushing yards on 16 carries. Peter Ford had nine tackles and two sacks for the LC defense before leaving the game with an injury.
The Cru has now won all 12 meetings with Louisiana College and the victory is the 30th straight regular season win for UMHB. The Cru has also won 22 consecutive ASC games and 55 of its last 56 league contests. Saturday’s victory sets up a showdown with Hardin-Simmons next Saturday in Belton. That game will kick off at 1:00 PM at Tiger Field on homecoming for UMHB.
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