In most cases, when two bitter rivals meet on the playing field, it’s best to throw the records out the window and prepare for a heated battle. That wasn’t the case Oct. 26 in Abilene, as the Cru thumped rival Hardin-Simmons to the tune of a 63-7 victory.
Sophomore quarterback Zach Anderson got the scoring started with touchdown runs of 42 and nine yards. The Cowboys answered with a 39-yard strike from quarterback Bryce Johnson to Josh Christian, but it was all Cru from that point forward as they scored seven unanswered touchdowns.
The Crusaders managed to score in every facet of the game. Freshman linebacker Baylor Mullins, who was named American Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week, intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards for a score to put the Cru up 28-7 with 8:00 left in the first half.
Sophomore Chris Wimby received ASC Special Teams Player of the Week honors thanks to his special teams touchdown in the fourth quarter that stretched the lead to 49-7. Wimby, who racked up 142 yards on six returns, gave credit to his teammates for the recognition.
“It’s exciting, but I couldn’t have done it without our return team,” he said. “Those guys put it all on the line to create lanes for me to gain yards.”
The final score came when senior defensive end Tim Bower blocked a punt and then ran it in for a 12-yard touchdown.
Senior linebacker Andy McAteer said that winning against a rival adds an extra element of excitement to the victory.
“None of us have ever lost to HSU …. Getting past them is always a good feeling, especially in that fashion,” he said.
Junior tight end Eric Nelson said the team’s ability to score in a variety of ways makes it difficult for other teams to keep up.
“When you can score points without offense being on the field, you are going to set yourself up for a victory,” he said.
The Cru was able to run the ball at will as they racked up 294 rushing yards on 59 carries.
“Hopefully, that sent a message to the other teams in the conference that thought they could stop our run game,” Nelson said.
As productive as the offense was, the defense showed its dominanance holding the Cowboys to 180 yards of total offense, just 0.5 yards per carry and forced three interceptions.
Senior safety Jordan Mullinnix said the defense has been so successful because of the work they put in off the field.
“I feel like our defense puts in more time than any other D-III defense in the country,” he said. “We have a coach that won’t allow us to be anything less than what we are capable of being, and we have leadership on the field that holds us all together.”
The Crusaders continued to run through their opponents in their home game against Howard Payne Nov. 2. The final score was 80-0 with big plays being made by starters and reserves all game long.
East Texas Baptist University will travel to Crusader Stadium this weekend to take on the undefeated Crusaders. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.