Phil Scherer | Legacy Managing Editor
September 4, 2015; 9:30
Quarterback Jesse Scroggins found wide receiver Greg Coble in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining as the Lions pulled out a dramatic 20-14 victory in their home opener Thursday night against Washburn University.
After stopping a fake field goal attempt, which could have ended the game for the Lions, they received the ball with 1:44 remaining on the clock, just enough time to put together one final drive.
Finally connecting with receivers who had struggled to get open against the Washburn secondary all evening, Scroggins found Tre’ Roby and Ahmad Springer on consecutive passes for a combined 41 yards, putting the Lions inside the red zone.
Following a Coble reception that put the Lions on the 3-yard line, it took just three plays for the Lions to seal their first home win since Sept. 28, 2013.
“The defense was tired, and things opened up for us,” Scroggins said. “Find the open hole, get the ball to the boys, and let them do what they do.”
Though it was Scroggins who led the Lions to victory on the final drive, it was the LU defense that truly carried the day. [metaslider id=131950]
In the first half, the defensive unit, led by All-MIAA linebacker Connor Harris, held the Washburn offense to just 60 total yards and one third down conversion, never allowing them to reach the red zone.
That effort made up for a lack of offensive production by the Lions, who saw seven penalties and five fumbles stall promising drives throughout the first two quarters, leading to a scoreless tie at halftime.
After the defense finally allowed a Washburn touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter, the Lions answered back with a Scroggins touchdown run, evening the score at 7-7.
That score remained until the early stages of the final quarter, when defensive back Bakari Triggs jumped in front of a Washburn pass attempt, intercepting the ball and returning it 45 yards into the end zone to give the Lions a 13-7 lead.
“We knew at some point he was going to throw to us, and throw that interception because we had great coverage and we were all over him in the backfield,” head coach Patrick Ross said. “Those combinations make for a quarterback to make bad decisions sometimes.”
On the ensuing Washburn drive, however, Ichabod quarterback Derek McGinnis put together his best drive of the night, leading the team 71 yards to retake a 14-13 lead.
Following a quick three-and-out by the Lions, McGinnis led the Ichabods on a nearly seven-minute drive, but failed to put the game away.
Leaving less than two minutes on the clock, the stage was set for a dramatic finish as the Lions offense took the field for their game-winning drive.
Moving forward, the Lions are hoping that this game has a carry-over effect on the rest of their season.
“This gives us so much momentum,” Coble said. “Hopefully we can turn it into a snowball effect and just keep pushing, keep grinding and doing our absolute best.”