UMHB Football falls to No. 23 UW-River Falls

Published: Sep. 2, 2023 at 7:09 PM CDT
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RIVER FALLS, Wisconsin (KWTX) - The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team dropped a 45-22 decision at No. 23 University of Wisconsin-River Falls to open the 2023 campaign at 0-1.

UMHB opened the game with a defensive stop and constructed a six-play, 31-yard drive to start on offense. A bad snap on punt gave the Falcons solid field position at the 30-yard line, which they capitalized on with two quick plays to take a 7-0 lead. The Falcons took advantage of another short field, scoring their second touchdown of the game on a six-play, 19-yard drive to make it 14-0.

The Cru ended the first quarter with a 13-play, 78-yard drive. After a five-minute break between quarters due to heat, Jack Bruner sliced a 37-yard field goal to put the Cru on the board on the first play of the second frame.  UWRF scored on the next drive to go up by three possessions and forced a fumble on the Cru’s next offensive play, scoring four plays after the turnover for a 28-3 lead. The Falcons forced another turnover on the next series and found the end zone again, taking a 35-3 lead over the Cru.

UMHB’s defense held the Falcons on the next two drives before Omari Frazier ended the third, forcing and recovering a fumble at the UWRF 23 yardline. Landon Howell found Jerry Cephus on the next play for the Cru’s first touchdown of the 2023 season. The Falcons drove to end the quarter but UMHB forced a field goal attempt that missed, sending the game into halftime at 35-10.

River Falls drove 68 yards to open the third quarter but the Crusader defense limited the Falcons to a field goal. Bruner added three more points for the Cru two drives later with a 40-yard field goal to bring the game to 38-13. Dorian Williams intercepted a pass from UWRF quarterback Kaleb Blaha two plays later but UMHB was unable to capitalize on the short field.

The Falcons opened the fourth with another score before Bruner kicked his second 37-yard field goal to cut the gap again. UMHB’s offense drove late in the fourth with Isaac Phe finding Jerry Day, Jr. in the end zone for another Cru touchdown, ending the game with a UWRF 45-22 victory.

Jackson Tingler earned the start at quarterback, throwing eight completions on 13 attempts before leaving the game with an injury. Landon Howell replaced Tingler, throwing three completions on 10 attempts with a touchdown before also exiting after an injury. Sophomore Isaac Phe entered the game with 4:26 left in the third quarter. Phe threw five completions on 14 attempts for 97 yards and a score. Phe also made his debut on special teams, holding for all three of UMHB’s field goals.

Jerry Cephus led the Cru’s receiving game, grabbing six catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Rone caught three passes for 53 yards while Will McClintock added three catches for 46 yards. Jerry Day, Jr. caught two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown with Kenneth Cormier and Kenneth MIller, Jr. each adding one reception.

Mason Cavness was the Cru’s defensive leader, totaling 10 tackles with three solo tackles for loss in the contest. Omari Frazier added nine tackles with one forced fumble while Durand Hill had eight tackles and three solo drops for loss.

Jack Bruner went 3-for-3 in field goals with a pair of 37-yarders and one 40-yard kick. Bruner also had five punts for 188 yards with a 60-yard long.

The Cru had 14 penalties called on them for 120 yards total while the Falcons had just five penalties for 52 yards.

UMHB returns to action at No. 4 Trinity University on Saturday, September 9th at 6:00 p.m. in San Antonio. This is the first regular-season meetup between the two teams since 2012.