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Defending national champion UMHB ends TLU's conference-title bid with 41-3 win in Belton

Photo by Joey Dearing.
Photo by Joey Dearing.
BELTON, Texas -- Defending NCAA Division III national champion University of Mary Hardin-Baylor denied Texas Lutheran's bid for its first American Southwest Conference Championship with a 41-3 defeat of the Bulldogs Saturday at Crusader Stadium.
 
In a game to determine the ASC champion and the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA DIII playoffs, the Cru jumped out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and opened up a 34-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
 
UMHB improved to 9-0 and to 8-0 in the ASC. TLU's seven-game win streak was snapped. The Bulldogs are 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the ASC. The Bulldogs can finish a program-best second in the ASC with a home win next Saturday against McMurry.
 
The Cru's Marquise Duncan rushed 21 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Justin Theriot added 14 carries for 67 yards and a score.
 
UMHB carried the ball 43 times for 197 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
 
The Cru defense held TLU to 87 net yards rushing, 2.3 yards per carry.
 
The Bulldogs resorted to the passing game against the Cru after falling behind early.
 
Bulldog sophomore quarterback Wade Freeman threw for a career-high 278 yards, but he also tossed three interceptions. He was sacked four times.
 
Freeman was 26-for-38 through the air. Charles Robinson Jr. caught nine passes for 83 yards, and Mason Perkins had six grabs for 68 yards.
 
TLU's only points of the game came on a Juan Ocampo 28-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Ocampo's kick cut the UMHB lead to 20-3 at the half.
 
UMHB started the second half with a Tavion Page kick return of 60 yards down to the TLU 38. Nine plays later, UMHB was in the endzone on a Theriot 1-yard run. The drive covered those 38 yards and took 3:32 off the clock. UMHB ran the ball seven times on the drive.
 
TLU went five plays and 16 yards on its next drive before punting. UMHB got the ball on its own 35 and scored in two plays. The big play was a Jaylan Jenkins pass to Jonel Reed that produced a 61-yard touchdown.
 
The Bulldogs drove into UMHB territory on the next drive. The drive ended on a 4th-and-2 play at the UMHB 40.
 
TLU returns to Seguin for its Senior Day contest next Saturday against McMurry University. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at TLU's Bulldog Stadium.