Football wins in close match against Saginaw Valley

Lindenwood+quarterback+Cade+Brister+during+the+game+against+Saginaw+Valley+State.++%3Cbr%3E+Photo+by+Caleb+Riordan
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Football wins in close match against Saginaw Valley

Lindenwood quarterback Cade Brister during the game against Saginaw Valley State.   Photo by Caleb Riordan

Lindenwood quarterback Cade Brister during the game against Saginaw Valley State.
Photo by Caleb Riordan

Lindenwood quarterback Cade Brister during the game against Saginaw Valley State.
Photo by Caleb Riordan

Lindenwood quarterback Cade Brister during the game against Saginaw Valley State.
Photo by Caleb Riordan

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CALEB RIORDAN | Reporter

Lindenwood pulled off another win in dramatic fashion over Saginaw Valley State University, 35-31 on Saturday.

The Lions came into this game looking for its first non-conference win of the season. 

The Lindenwood offense started out the game stagnant with a 3-and-out on its first drive and sophomore quarterback Cade Brister threw an interception on the next drive. The Lions were able to counter with an interception by senior Ricky McCoy that led the offense to start its drive on the Cardinals 33-yard line. The drive ended in points for the Lions by way of a touchdown pass from Brister to sophomore receiver Payton Rose. The touchdown was the only points of the quarter for either side. The Lions led 7-0. 

After a Lions 3-and-out, the Lions senior defensive back came up big for the second time. McCoy snagged his second interception of the game that gave the Lions offense the ball near midfield. Defense was the story of the game thus far for both sides as the Cardinals forced the Lions into another yet another 3-and-out. 

With 7:31 left to play in the half, Brister found Rose darting up the seam and the two connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown capped off a 5-play 63-yard drive to extend the Lions lead to 14-0. 

The Lions picked off the Cardinals yet again. This time it was senior Christian Rabay who came down the Lions third interception of the half. 

The interception led to nothing as the Lions punted from its own 1-yard line. The Cardinals found a way to put points on the board in the following possession. On just the second play of the drive, senior quarterback Ryan Conklin found junior Chad Gailliard on a pass in which Gaillard reversed field and took it 37 yards to the house. The Lions went into halftime with a 14-7 lead. 

The offenses picked up for both sides in the second half. The Cardinals scored a 1-yard touchdown on the ground to cap off a 14-play 75-yard drive on its first possession. The extra point tied the game at 14. 

The Lions came right back on its first possession. The Brister-Rose connection continued to show up as the two connected on a 50-yard pass that led the Lions past mid-field. The drive ended when junior Nash Sutherlin fumbled the ball into the endzone and sophomore tight end Alex Scharf dove to recover it for a touchdown. The Lions grabbed the lead back, 21-14.

Lions linebacker Matthew Thibault (No. 34) faces off against Ryan Conklin from Saginaw Valley.
Photo by Caleb Riordan.

The Cardinals started the fourth quarter continuing a productive drive that started toward the end of the third. The drive ended in a 40-yard field goal that cut the Lions lead to 21-17. 

The Cardinals forced a Lions punt on its next drive and took the ball back with a chance to take the lead. The Cardinals offense ran the ball right up the field in three plays and scored to take a 24-21 lead. 

The Lions offense hit back. On third down, Brister stepped up in the pocket and fired a bullet over the middle to senior Erik Henneman for a 35-yard gain to save the drive. A few plays and an offside penalty by the Cardinals later, Brister scrambled for a 6-yard touchdown to grab the lead right back. With 8:36 left in the game, the Lions led 28-24. 

The action came to a halt until about a minute left in the game. A costly pass interference penalty by the Lions gave the Cardinals a first down in the red zone. A few plays later, Conklin found his receiver in the left side of the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown. The Cardinals took a 31-28 lead with 55 seconds left. 

The first play of Lindenwood’s final drive, Brister found senior receiver Najee Jackson for a 30-yard gain. Sutherlin picked up 10 yards on the next play when Brister found him on a check down. The very next play, Brister launched a pass to the endzone from the Cardinals 36-yard line that found the hands of Henneman, but he was unable to come down with the catch. 

Two incompletions later, the Lions found themselves in a fourth-down situation with the game on the line. Out of a timeout, Brister looked Jackson’s way once again. Jackson’s defender fell down which resulted in him being wide open. The crowd erupted as Brister connected with Jackson for a 36-yard touchdown. For the second straight week, the Lions grab a win in dramatic fashion, 35-31. 

“Excited man. Overwhelmed with joy man,” Jackson said after catching the game-winning touchdown. “I knew my time was coming, the team knew my time was coming. They called on me and I made a play.” 

Head coach Jed Stugart was pleased with the resilience of his team and how they performed in high-pressure situations in the last two weeks. 

“At the end of the day when you got a team that is resilient and fights back, that’s what’s most important,” Stugart said. “I think it does great for our locker room, just to have a belief that we can win and come from behind.”

Brister threw for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. Rose finished with 6 catches for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jackson finished with 5 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Junior Drew Seers led the defense and made his mark on the game totaling 20 tackles. 

This was the Lions first non-conference win of the season and lifted its record to 4-3. The Lions will meet Quincy University to take on the Hawks Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m.