UMHB administered a Saturday-night beatdown to the Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs, outscoring their opponents by 43 points and improving to 3-0 on the season. The Crusader defense held TLU scoreless until the final seconds of the game, when a garbage-time touchdown preserved a little of the bulldogs’ dignity.
UMHB started the game by making a statement. After the Cru forced a Bulldog fourth down on their opening possession, TLU took a chance and attempted to continue their drive. Junior linebacker Santos Villarreal had other plans, and intercepted the fourth down pass, crushing the Bulldogs’ hopes of a productive opening drive.
“I read the O-line and saw it was going to be a pass,” Villarreal said. “The quarterback threw a funny ball, and I knew I had to make the pick.”
This takeaway set the tone for the game, and gave the Cru excellent field position, which they capitalized on, scoring their first points of the game a few minutes later.
After a fourth down conversion from junior running back Markeith Miller, junior quarterback TJ Josey threw a laser, hitting senior wide receiver Bryce Wilkerson in the end zone for 6 points.
For the rest of the first quarter and throughout the second, the Crusader offense continued to be efficient, never missing an opportunity to score. Senior kicker John Mowery hit two field goals, and sophomore quarterback Kyle Jones orchestrated a spectacular touchdown drive.
Jones went 4/4, passing for 84 yards on the drive, before Miller took a direct snap at the Bulldog 2-yard line and punched the ball into the end zone for six points.
Quarterbacks Josey and Jones both had a favorite receiver Saturday night — sophomore Jonel Reed. The receiver had a monster game, including hauling in a third quarter touchdown from Jones and catching back-to-back passes during Jones’ prolific second-quarter drive. One play from that drive turned many heads.
“I lined up to run a post route,” Reed said. “I watched the corner turn his hips, and I knew he w
as beat. Then I just had to get the ball.” Reed hauled in the pass, giving the Cru excellent position to finish the drive with a touchdown.
The Crusader defense looked frightening, recording five takeaways. In addition to Villareal’s interception, freshman safety Jefferson Fritz and senior cornerback Reggie Wilson picked off the TLU quarterback once apiece.
Junior safety D’Andre Jackson recovered a fumble to start the Bulldogs’ second possession, ending it after a single snap. Finally, sophomore defensive end De Jackson recovered a strip sack in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown. Those points would be the last of many nails in TLU’s coffin.
“It was third down, so we knew we had to move fast,” Jackson said. “I saw the ball, saw the end zone, and took it to score.”
Both Jackson and Reed agreed that the Cru’s overwhelming triumph was the result of hard work and playing with determination.
Due to the UMHB’s large margin of victory, most Cru backup players got a significant amount of playing time. Head coach Pete Fredenburg appreciated this opportunity.
“Any time you can get everyone in a game, that’s a good thing.” Fredenburg said.
Next Saturday, the Cru will face Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.