ABILENE – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team built an early lead and then relied on the defense to make it stand up as the Cru topped 5th-ranked Hardin-Simmons 17-7 Saturday in Abilene.
UMHB improves to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in American Southwest Conference play while the loss drops the Hardin-Simmons to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the ASC on the year.
The Cru struck first as Kris Brown stepped in front of a Cowboy pass at the UMHB 36-yard line and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter.
The UMHB offense added to the lead when Markeith Miller capped a four-play, 83-yard drive with a 39-yard scoring run late in the second quarter.
Leander High School alum John Mowery added a 28-yard field goal for UMHB on the opening possession of the second half before Hardin-Simmons took advantage of a short field to score its only touchdown of the game on a four-yard touchdown run by Jaquan Hemphill.
A pair of turnovers forced by The Cru defense helped seal the victory for the top-ranked UMHB squad.
UMHB held the Hardin-Simmons offense to 191 total offense and limited a unit averaging 68 points per game to just seven. The Cru added eight sacks and forced four turnovers in the victory. UMHB finished with 270 yards of total offense with 150 coming on the ground and the Cru only turned the ball over once.
Markeith Miller ran for 168 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. T.J. Josey caught two passes for 62 yards and Kyle Jones threw for 120 yards for UMHB. Brazos Fuller led the Cru defense with 11 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble. Brown added eight stops to his interception return for a score.
Ty Hooper was 19-36 passing for 160 yards for the Cowboys. Hemphill ran for just 52 yards on 22 carries. Devante' Walker caught eight passes for 115 yards. Chris Miller topped the HSU defense with eight tackles.
UMHB takes over sole possession of first place in the ASC with the win and has now won 20 consecutive games. The Cru returns home to host Howard Payne next Saturday at 1 p.m.