SHERMAN — There was no letdown Saturday afternoon for No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor, which scored early — 66 seconds in to be exact — and often in a 56-0 romp over Austin College at Apple Stadium.
One week after a riveting 34-28 victory over Hardin-Simmons, the Crusaders (5-0, 4-0 American Southwest Conference) showed no ill effects from the emotional roller coaster of having to rally from a 28-7 halftime deficit to beat their longtime rival.
“We felt like this week of preparation was good. The guys bonded together. I think the scare against Hardin-Simmons really woke them up,” UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg said. “We kind of knew this was going to be a mismatch, but the guys still focused and executed. I’m proud of them for that.”
The Crusaders churned out 480 yards and limited the overmatched Kangaroos (1-3, 1-3) to just 117. Kyle King’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Sims on the third snap of the game staked UMHB to a 7-0 lead, and the competitive portion of the contest was quickly over.
By the time Brenton Martin grabbed a 34-yard King pass over two defenders in the end zone and King broke free on a 52-yard scoring run down the left sideline to cap the first quarter, the rout was on.
Aphonso Thomas plunged in from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter, Martin caught an 11-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Tommy Bowden to make it 35-0 by halftime, and the Crusaders coasted in the second half with scoring runs of 4 yards by King, 15 yards by Bowden and 2 yards by Montana Miller.
King was an efficient 8-of-10 passing for 141 yards — all in the first half — and UMHB had five players with at least 40 yards rushing as it piled up 297 yards on the ground.
Omari Frazier had seven tackles to lead a Crusaders defense that stymied the Kangaroos’ somewhat old-school offensive attack (two tight ends and the quarterback predominantly under center). Austin College amassed just 89 yards rushing and 28 passing.
“(Their offense) was difficult to prepare for because you couldn’t really see what their thoughts were behind it,” Fredenburg said. “Our guys lined up correctly, though, and our defense is tough to run on.”
UMHB heads into its open date next Saturday before hosting Texas Lutheran on Oct. 16 with a priority on building some depth among its younger players.
“I think the upperclassmen are playing well, and we have to work this week to bring some younger guys along,” Fredenburg said. “If we’re going to make a run, we’re going to need them down the road.”