By C.J. Halloran
After 427 days of being starved of UMHB football, CRU football fans were finally allowed to eat again on Feb. 6, as The Crusaders traveled to Mississippi to face Belhaven University.
The Crusaders arrived in Belhaven looking to extinguish any doubts of whether such a long break would affect their play or not. The CRU came out strong in the first quarter, opening their score with a 37-yard-run from quarterback Tommy Bowden. The CRU didn’t let up in the first quarter either, thanks to a fumble recovery-turned-touchdown by linebacker Glen Thornton.
The second quarter was much of the same for the CRU, as they put 13 more points on the board, thanks to two touchdown passes from Bowden to Kad Daniels. The Crusader’s defense remained impregnable as well, holding Belhaven’s offense back at our 2-yard line to keep them from scoring in the first half.
The second half began much like the first and saw Tommy Bowden run for one more touchdown late in the third quarter before being substituted for Kyle King. King also got on the score sheet, connecting with Brenton Martin for a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Though the Crusaders as a whole shone on their first game back, the star of the game was undoubtedly Tommy Bowden. After spending his freshman year playing backup to Jace Hammack, the quarterback who led UMHB to their 2018 title, Bowden stepped up in his first ever collegiate start. The sophomore threw for 104 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more touchdowns.
Historically, the CRU has dominated Belhaven every time they’ve played, holding a 4-0 record against the Blazers and outscoring them 190-47, prior to the game Feb. 6.
The CRU had been practicing with a certain excitement not seen on campus in months. Though their fall season was postponed, the football team took no time off. The entire fall break they practiced and watched film from last season, looking to improve. Still, given that the team hadnot played a game since December of 2019, the fall practices seemed endless. The energy of the team was high, however.
Though the season is finally back, it is not back in its entirety. Because all of Division III football has been shortened, NCAA championships are cancelled this year.
This means the CRU will have to wait another season to avenge last season’s heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals last season against Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Instead, the goal this season is to dominate the ASC and take home the title, which was held in week five of the season. UMHB next faced Southwestern University in their anticipated first home game of the season on Saturday, Feb. 27.
UMHB only allows the stadium to be at half capacity at this time.