Michael Sprauge | Lindenlink Staff
In a program that has a history of explosive offenses, record setting performances are hard to come by. The Lindenwood Lions set or tied four individual school records in a 49-28 victory over the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Hunter Stadium.
The attack was highlighted by a junior quarterback Ben Gomez’s 480 passing yards, breaking the school record of 445 set by Ben Kisner in 2008. Gomez also matched Philip Staback’s school record set in 2010 for most throwing scores in a game with six.
Gomez called the performance shocking after the game.
“I didn’t know it was going to be that much, but it is awesome,” Gomez said. “I’m just glad we came out and won.”
Despite the video game-like numbers, Gomez only played in three quarters of the game. The 42-point third-quarter lead was enough to pull many LU starters off the field at different points in the fourth quarter.
Senior wide receiver Andrew Helmick caught six Gomez passes, two for touchdowns. Helmick’s 200 receiving yards surpassed George Mumphard’s seven-year-old school record of 184.
Helmick credited his success to his teammates.
“Ben threw me a great ball, the offensive line did a great job keeping him up, and my other receivers were running routes to get me open.”
On a relatively quiet rushing day, senior running back Denodus O’Bryant punched in a 9-yard run to put the Lions up 21-7. This put O’Bryant at 330 career points, one point ahead of kicker Halley Ferrel (2006-2009) for most in school history.
Gomez capped off an eight play, 66 yard first drive with a 26 yard TD throw to Helmick to start the game. After forcing a UNK punt, the Lions again drove down the field. Gomez connected with junior tight end Thomas Stubbs for a 23 yard TD, putting the Lions up 14-0.
The Lopers answered with their longest drive of the day, 82 yards, resulting in a 25 yard TD run by sophomore running back Cody Anthony. The 14-7 score was the closest the Lopers came, as Gomez and company rattled off 28 straight points for a 42-7 halftime lead.
After receiving the second half kickoff, UNK was quickly forced to punt. The only blemish on the day for the Lions came on Gomez’s first pass of the second half. After the ball was tipped at the line, it was intercepted by cornerback Ryan Lendrum. The UNK offense drove to the LU five yard line before being stopped on a fourth-and-1.
LU took the ball on its own 9. Gomez drove the Lions 91 yards, hitting senior wide receiver Matt Angell at the goal line. Angell fumbled the ball before recovering it in the end zone for another LU score. These were the last of Gomez’s 480 yards and six TDs.
UNK added three fourth-quarter touchdowns in a game that was controlled by LU from the beginning.
“We knew this was a big game for us to make a statement,” coach Patrick Ross said following the game. “We are trying to get better each week and things just clicked for us today.”
LU moved to 4-1 on the season following a dominating performance that was far more out of reach than the final score indicates. UNK fell to 0-5 on the season.
The Lions wrapped up a four-game homestand and now head on the road for two games. They return home on Oct. 20 for the Homecoming game against Washburn University.