(Abilene) – Texas Lutheran meets McMurry on the football field for the first time since 2011 Saturday when the Bulldogs and Warhawks square off at Wilford Moore Stadium in Abilene.
McMurry left the American Southwest Conference and the NCAA Division III ranks for a three-year stint in Division II after the 2011-12 academic year, but the school decided to phase out athletic scholarships and rejoin Division III and the ASC in 2014.
TLU left the ASC for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2013, but is now back in its former league as a football-only member in 2017.
Texas Lutheran is 1-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play in Carl Gustafson’s first season as head coach after a 50-7 road loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor last Saturday. The Bulldogs look to bounce back against a McMurry team that enters the weekend with a 1-3 (1-2 ASC) record under fourth-year head coach Lance Hinson after falling to Sul Ross State 35-7 last week in Alpine.
McMurry has struggled offensively in the first month of the season, scoring just 13 points per game while averaging just 251.5 yards of total offense. The Warhawks’ statistical leaders include sophomore quarterback Kevin Hurley (60 % comp., 490 yds., 5 TD), sophomore running-back Wade Barthelemy (281 yds., 4.1 avg.), and junior receiver Jeremiah Jefferson (15 rec., 152 yds.)
McMurry has only managed one rushing touchdown in four games, a scamper by Hurley as part of an eight-carry, 102-yard performance in a 33-21 win over Howard Payne on Sept. 16.
A TLU defense allowing 29.3 points and 450 yards per game, but only 3.3 yards per carry on rushing plays, looks for a bounce-back performance against the Warhawks, who don’t figure to be nearly as dangerous as No. 1 ranked UMHB was last Saturday. Some of the Bulldogs’ defensive standouts include linebackers Adarius Norwood (25 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and Joshua Head (4 TFL), defensive end Manny Longoria (4 TFL, 2.5 sacks), and cornerback Kedrick Ward (4 pass breakups, 1 INT).
Junior quarterback Kyle Grona (535 yds. total offense, 6 TD) leads a TLU offense averaging 24 points and 383 total yards (200.7 rushing) per game. Senior running-back Jordan Braden leads the team in rushing (203 yds.), and sophomore C.J. Romero (9 rec., 148 TD, 2 TD) has been the unit’s top receiver.
The Bulldogs and Warhawks are slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday in Abilene. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, with streaming video at tlubulldogs.com. Pre-game coverage starts at 12:30.