Cru tames Tigers, 31-21

UMHB emerged victorious from a well-fought battle with the ETBU Tigers on Saturday. With this, their tenth win, the Cru ends the regular season with their 15th (13th consecutive) ASC title and a perfect 10-0 record (9-0 conference).
UMHB came out of the gates hot, their defense getting a stop, and their offense striking quickly to put six points on the board. On just his second snap of the game, quarterback Carl Robinson connected with a wide-open TJ Josey for a 44-yard score. The John Mowery extra point was good, putting the Cru up 7-0.
The Tigers capitalized on a Carl Robinson interception during UMHB’s next possession, immediately connecting on a long touchdown pass of their own, tying the game at 7 apiece.
After an ETBU three-and-out, which defensive tackle Brazos Fuller capped off with a 9-yard sack, Bryce Wilkerson returned the punt 40 yards to score UMHB’s second touchdown of the afternoon.
On the Tiger’s next possession, defensive tackle Joey Longoria stopped a run cold, then imposed his will on ETBU quarterback Brian Baca, not only recording a strip sack, but also recovering the fumble for the Cru.
The Cru offense failed to capitalize on this turnover, punting the ball back to the Tigers, who then drove 80 yards downfield to score as the second quarter began. UMHB blocked the extra point, keeping the score at 14-13, Cru.
For the remainder of the first half, UMHB’s offense stalled, failing to produce any substantial drives. In the closing minutes of the second quarter, the Tigers’ offense drove into the Cru red zone, but failed to score, due to a key third-down stop, followed by a blocked field goal attempt by special teams player Jordan Millar.
UMHB received the second half kickoff, but immediately turned the ball over to the Tigers on an overthrown pass from Robinson.
Sensing the change in momentum, linebacker Tevin Jones took matters into his own hands.
“You get into the zone and start seeing yourself making plays,” Jones said. “It all just starts to feel natural.”
To say that Jones was “in the zone” would be an understatement. The junior linebacker broke up a pass on first down, then made two consecutive tackles to force an ETBU three-and-out. With his stellar play, Jones almost singlehandedly gained back the momentum for the Cru. He finished the game with a career high 19 tackles.
This impressive stop was seemingly all the UMHB offense needed, for quarterback Kyle Jones found Wilkerson for a 13-yard touchdown.
The Tigers immediately responded with a scoring drive of their own, taking advantage of UMHB’s struggle to contain Baca, who repeatedly rushed for first downs. ETBU capped off the drive with an impressive two-point conversion, tying the game at 21-21.
For the rest of the third quarter and much of the fourth, both offenses struggled to gain yards. This traction came to a halt after a short tiger punt set up the Cru for an easy rushing touchdown by running back Markeith Miller.
“It felt good,” said Miller. “We knew we needed one good drive, and I put my head down and got it done. Moments like that are why I play the game.”
With 3:45 left in the game, Mowery made it a two-score game with a 29-yard field goal. He looks forward to the increased competitiveness in playoff games.
“I’m looking forward to big moments in close games, and I’m ready to do my part for the team,” Mowery said.
The Cru defense held on, allowing no fourth-quarter points. The final score, 31-21, did not reflect the high level of competition ETBU brought in this, UMHB’s closest game of the season.
With the team ready to advance to the playoffs, Head Coach Pete Fredenburg is ready for his team to take it up a notch.
“You really have to have a high energy level in the playoffs,” Fredenburg said. “We’re past playing teams we think we can beat, so it’s time for us to rise to the occasion.”
The Cru will look to do just that when they face Chapman Univeristy on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at Crusader Stadium.

Author: Jonathan Fish

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