For the first round of the NCAA 2019 Football Playoffs, the Bulldogs will face off against Mary Hardin-Baylor University, ranked both number one in their bracket and number one in the nation for D-III football.
It is traditional for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Confernce (SCIAC) to send one D-III football team to the playoffs each year. However, this year for the first time in the history of the athletic conference, SCIAC will sent two D-III football teams. Both the Chapman Panthers and our University of Redlands Bulldogs have sparked playoff births this year.
The Bulldogs boast a nine-win one-loss record this season, with their only loss coming at the hands of Chapman by three points. The Bulldogs roster consists of 15 All-Conference Players including: starting quarterbacK Nathan Martinez, starting tight end Blake Roy, and starting defensive end Elias Hackney, who have all received First-Team All-Conference awards. This is Hackney’s third straight season winning this award; Blake Roy has received the same award back to back.
Most oddsmakers give Redlands a low likeness of getting out of the first round, but Redlands has one of the better defenses in D-III football. Starting corner, Jeff Hector, has had eight interceptions in ten games this season, and is one of the five All-Conference Defensive Players on the roster.
If Redlands offense gets off to a hot start behind the quarterback play of Nathan Martinez, they could surprise many of the oddsmakers. I’m predicting an upset with the Redlands Bulldogs defeating the Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders 17-14 today at 10 am.
The game can be watched from Belton, T.X. on various internet streaming sites as well as a special screening in the Irvine Commons.
Photograph by Stephanie Schoppe.