Belton, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team will look for its third consecutive win over long-time nemesis Linfield College when the two teams face off this Saturday in Oregon. The Cru and Wildcats will be squaring off in the regular season for the second straight year and are tangling for the seventh time overall.
UMHB is the defending NCAA Division III National Champion and enters Saturday’s game ranked #1 in the country by D3football.com. The Cru opened the season with a 23-7 home victory over Sul Ross State last Saturday to post its 16th consecutive win. Linfield College is ranked 6th in the nation by D3football.com and the Wildcats posted a 27-12 road victory at Chapman University last Saturday. Linfield leads the all-time series between the two teams 4-2, but the Cru swept two meeting from the Wildcats last season. UMHB is 0-2 all-time in McMinnville with losses in the 2009 and 2015 postseasons. In fact, the Cru’s 38-35 loss to Linfield in the 2015 Quarterfinals is the last game UMHB lost and no one associated with the Cru program has forgotten the bitterness of that defeat.
“I think that game is burned into our guy’s memories and I don’t think they will ever forget it,” Cru Head Coach Pete Fredenburg said. “If they have, it is my job to remind them. That loss has been such a motivating factor for us and we have really rededicated ourselves to doing everything we can to avoid that feeling again.”
UMHB has jumped out to early lead in both of the games played at Maxwell Field only to see costly turnovers swing the game in the second half. Both teams feature quarterbacks with just one collegiate start under their belts. Cru junior T.J. Josey threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns and added 91 rushing yards in replacing Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player Blake Jackson. Linfield’s Troy Fowler threw for 159 yards and a pair of scores after taking over for departed All-American Sam Riddle. Both teams will be looking for offensive improvement this week, but it will not be easy against traditionally strong defenses.
“We’ve got to do a lot better in a lot of areas,” Fredenburg said. “I thought we played cautiously in some places and we will get better. Some of that goes to it being the first game, but we know we are going to have to perform better against a team that is always very talented and extremely well-coached this week.”
The Cru is 3-3 all-time in games played in the state of Oregon with two wins over Willamette University and a victory over Southern Oregon. UMHB also has a loss at Southern Oregon to go with the two defeats at Linfield. Saturday’s game kicks off at 3:30 PM Central Time. The game will be broadcast live on K Rock 101.7 FM and through the station’s web site with the pre-game show starting at 3:00 PM Central Time. UMHB will not be able to offer its usual free video stream of the contest, but Linfield College will offer live statistics for the game with links to all live coverage available on the Cru Athletic Department web site at www.cruathletics.com.