Decked in purple and gold for the homecoming festivities, Cru supporters left Tiger Field Nov. 8 satisfied after a win against Howard-Payne University.
Sophomore Ben Beckworth thought the atmosphere started out intensely because of the alumni and bigger attendance.
“I think we played good,” he said. “We always want to play our hardest on homecoming.”
He also said the team plays harder because fans include past football members.
“I think we matched up pretty well,” Beckworth said. “We just come out and try to play our hardest each game and play like it’s our last.”
The domination began with an interception and 52-yard return by freshman defensive back Chris Lambeth. It was followed by a 1-yard touchdown by senior running back Tommy Vadell to give the Crusaders a 6-0 lead.
Senior running back Bryson Tucker scored on the ensuing possession with a 13-yard run to give the Cru a 13-0 lead.
On the next possession, sophomore quarterback Kyle Noack hit junior wide-receiver Pi’Dadro Davis with a 30-yard pass for a touchdown to end the first quarter.
After that, the game became a nightmare for HPU.
In each of the first three quarters, the Crusaders scored 20 points, along with seven points in the fourth.
The final score of 67 points is a season-high for the team, beating its previous record of 63, which was against Texas Lutheran University.
Despite only ten attempted passes, the offense managed to rack up 108 total yards and two touchdowns on six completions.
Tucker and sophomore running backs Roger Sanchez and Matt Hurst earned 89, 82 and 59 rushing yards respectively, adding to the 479 offensive total yards.
The win secured the team a spot in the NCAA division III playoffs, and at least a partial ASC championship. The prospect of a re-match against Hardin-Simmons in the conference championship game looks likely if each team wins out.
UMHB received 7 punts for 167 yards while punting two times, each time not allowing a return by HPU.
The Cru received only one kick from the opposite team, but kicked off to Howard Payne on 11 different occasions.
The Yellowjackets were not allowed into the red zone a single time, as opposed to the Crusaders who made it eight times, succesfully scoring with each attempt.
Sophomore kicker and punter Alan Muñoz went two for two on field goals, reaching the uprights from 42 yards and 31 yards.
Freshman Amanda Enocksen attended the Homecoming game, but left at halftime saying, “After a while, it got boring because Howard Payne didn’t stand a chance.”
Enocksen saw more people than usual at the game because of the alumni involvement in Homecoming.
She said, “The attendance seemed higher this week, but a lot of people left by halftime.”
Sophomore Jessica Brogan enjoyed seeing the alumni participate in the activities as well.
“They all seemed really excited to be at the game and to support their alma mater,” she said, “In the stands, I heard many different alumni reminiscing about their days at UMHB talking about the different buildings where they had classes, their old professors, the friends they made, the differences from when they were at UMHB and how it is now.”
Sophomore nursing major Robyn Caldwell, attended the game against Howard-Payne and knew what the team was made of.
“The Crusaders are an amazing football team and their hardwork really paid off at the Homecoming game,” she said. “I know we can win the ASC title and continue our winning streak next season.”
The Crusaders advanced to the first round of the NCAA playoffs.
The next game will be against Hardin-Simmons Nov. 22 at Tiger Stadium.