Big play lifts Mount Union over Mary Hardin-Baylor in title game


Highlights

Crusaders’ 29-game winning streak ends.

Sam Houston State falls to North Dakota State in FCS semifinal.

Justin Hill and D’Angelo Fulford have provided an offensive spark for Mount Union all season, so when the Purple Raiders were locked in a defensive struggle against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Division III national championship Friday night at Salem, Va., it was no surprise the pair did it again.

Fulford hit Hill for a 42-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, pushing Mount Union’s lead to 10-0, and the Purple Raiders (15-0) won their 13th football national title with a 12-0 victory over the defending champions in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.

“We just had to make a play,” said Hill, who, like Fulford, is only a sophomore. Fulford “threw the ball up, and I had to make a play. I’m an impact player, so I had to make a play when we needed it.”

The Crusaders (14-1) had not trailed all season and had their 29-game winning streak snapped. They also were shut out for just the second time in the 20-year history of their program. The only other was a 28-0 loss to Mississippi College on Oct. 17, 1998, the first season Mary Hardin-Baylor fielded a team.

North Dakota State 55, Sam Houston State 13: No matter which nemesis the Bison face in the FCS championship game, they look quite capable of exacting some payback after beating Sam Houston State in Friday night’s semifinal at Fargo, N.D.

Bruce Anderson scored five touchdowns — four in the first half — and North Dakota State rolled up 642 yards of offense in crushing the Bearkats (12-2).

The second-seeded Bison (13-1) will face the winner of Saturday’s game between defending national champion James Madison and North Dakota State’s Missouri Valley Conference rival South Dakota State on Jan. 6 in Frisco. James Madison ended the Bison’s run of five straight national championships with a semifinal victory last season, and the Jackrabbits, second to the Bison in the conference, beat them 33-21 at home Nov. 4.

“I’m just excited we’re going back to Frisco. It doesn’t matter who we play,” Bison coach Chris Klieman said. “We have a bunch of leaders in that locker room who deserve to go back to that game.”

Friday night’s game was essentially over at halftime after North Dakota State scored touchdowns on six of its seven offensive possessions.

Sixth-seeded Sam Houston State came in with the leading offense in the FCS, averaging more than 45 points and 552 yards on offense. But the Bearkats were squelched by the Bison, finishing with 352 yards — only 176 in the pivotal first half.



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