Belton, Texas – It may not be the one everyone was expecting, but the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team will face a familiar opponent in the first round when the 2016 NCAA Division III National Championships kickoff this Saturday. For the third time in the last six seasons, the Cru will play host to the Redlands (CA) Bulldogs in the opening game of the postseason when the two teams face off for a 12:00 PM start at Crusader Stadium.
UMHB advances to the postseason for the 13th straight season and the Cru has one at least one playoff game in each of the last 12 trips. UMHB finished the regular season at 10-0 overall and won the American Southwest Conference Championship with a 6-0 league mark. The Cru enters the postseason ranked #1 in the country by D3football.com and is ranked #2 in the nation by the American Football Coaches Association.
Redlands is 8-1 overall on the season and the Bulldogs won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a perfect 7-0 conference record. Redlands has won eight straight games after falling to Trinity University 34-27 in the season opener. The Bulldogs are receiving votes in both polls and sit just outside the top 25 in both the D3football.com and AFCA polls. Redlands is making its second trip to Texas this season and will be playing at Crusader Stadium for the third time. The Bulldogs are in the NCAA Division III National Championships for the eighth time and are looking to advance past the first round for the first time in program history.
“I am really excited with the opportunity this program has and I think we are in a good place as a program,” Cru football coach Pete Fredenburg said. “But we are also well aware of the challenge that Redlands will present. They are very well-coached and get the most out of their players. It has been that way every time we have faced them and can create a lot of problems for their opponents.”
UMHB leads the all-time series between the two teams 4-0 and has won both postseason meetings with the Bulldogs. The two teams also faced off in the opening round in 2011 and 2013. That 2013 meeting came in the first postseason game played in Crusader Stadium and three of the previous four meetings have been played in Belton. The two teams also played a home-and-home series during the 2013 and 2014 regular season.
For more information on parking, traffic flow and game day events, please visit the following link: http://www.umhb.edu/stadium/directions-and-parking. Redlands fans are encouraged to enter the stadium through ticket window #3 at the southeast corner of Crusader Stadium. The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to face the Linfield College/Hardin-Simmons University winner in the Second Round.
Saturday’s game will also be broadcast live on K101.7 FM and through the station’s web site with the pre-game show starting at 11:30 AM. UMHB will provide live video streaming and live statistics for the game with links to both available by clicking here: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/umhb/. Tickets are still available and the ticket windows are scheduled to open at 10:00 AM on Saturday. Reserved tickets are $12 at the gate, general admission tickets are $10 and student tickets will be $4 at the gate. The stadium gates will open at 10:30 AM on Saturday. Tickets left at Will Call will be available for pickup at any ticket window on game day.