SHENANDOAH, Texas — The UMHB Crusaders won their second Stagg Bowl championship in three years on Friday night, defeated Mount Union, 24-16, at Woodforest Bank Stadium.
The Cru (15-0) avenged their loss to Mount Union (14-1) in last year’s Stagg Bowl, the last in Salem, Virginia. Friday’s game, the first of two Stagg Bowls in the Houston suburb, amounted to a home game for the Cru, which packed its side of the stadium and ended up with overflow fans on Mount Union’s side of the stadium.
Still, it wasn’t a one-sided affair. UMHB didn’t have the game in the bag until the final seconds, when Mount Union’s attempt at a Cal-Stanford type of play ended up falling well short and ran out the clock. After that the Crusaders rushed onto the field and celebrated their second national title.
Mount Union had the early lead, however. Cory Barnett’s 41-yard field goal and a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback D’Angelo Fulford gave the Purple Raiders a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter. But the Cru put together a quick four-play drive to get themselves out of a hole near the end of the first quarter. Quarterback Jase Hammack connected with wide reciever T.J. Josey on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 left in the first quarter, cutting Mount Union’s lead to three points.
Josey ended up the game’s Most Oustanding Player, as he caught five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for another 21 more.
The Cru took the lead for good in the second quarter, but not before Mount Union extended the lead on a 22-yard field goal by Barnett early in the second quarter. Right before halftime, Markeith Miller ran in from 2 yards out to give UMHB the lead, 14-13, with 38 seconds left before the break.
UMHB added a 30-yard field goal by Anthony Avila in the third quarter. In the fourth they made it a two-score game as Hammack — who threw for 147 yards and rushed for another 44 — threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to a wide open K.J. Miller from 16 yards out, giving UMHB a 24-13 lead.
Mount Union marched right down the field and scored, but it was only a field goal by Barnett with 7:06 left. The Purple Raiders were unable to get any closer after that.
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