Lindenwood University’s most memorable football season ended Saturday against the most storied program in NCAA Division II. And it wasn’t close.
Northwest Missouri State became the first D-II program to get to 50 playoff wins, rolling 63-7 Saturday in Maryville, Mo., against a Lindenwood program that picked up its first D-II playoff victory last week.
The Bearcats, ranked No. 10, amassed 413 yards rushing by averaging 8.4 yards per carry in flexing their muscles against their former Mid-America conference opponent. Northwest (12-1) improved to 6-0 all-time against Lindenwood (9-4) and extended its home playoff winning streak to 24 games.
The Bearcats will travel to Big Rapids, Mich., to play No. 2 Ferris State (11-0) next Saturday in the quarterfinals. Ferris beat Central Missouri 37-10 Saturday at home.
Against Lindenwood, Northwest put the game away early by scoring touchdowns on five of their first six possessions, and led 49-0 before Lindenwood got on the board with a 21-yard TD pass from Cade Brister to Erik Henneman with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
Stymied by a Bearcats front seven that allowed just 21 yards rushing on 19 attempts, the Lions tried to stay in the game by going to the air. Brister (Fort Zumwalt North) attempted 53 passes, completing 27 for 205 yards. But he was intercepted four times, three by Blake Bayer. Brister’s 13 yards rushing was the team high.
Henneman had four catches for 61 yards, and Payton Rose had five receptions for 53 yards.
For Northwest, Isaiah Strayhorn ran for 179 yards and two scores on 16 carries, and quarterback Braden Wright picked up 116 and three TDs on 12 rushes. Wright passed for 152 yards without a touchdown or interception.
Lindenwood had won eight straight games, including 41-38 last weekend at No. 5 Ouachita Baptist, and scored 28 or more points in every game during that run. The Lions, the Great Lakes Valley champs with a 7-0 record in their first year since moving from the MIAA, had scored 24 or more points in every game this season.
Illinois State 24, Southeast Missouri 6: James Robinson rushed for 297 yards on 41 carries — both career highs — and the Redbirds won in a first-round FCS playoff game in Cape Girardeau.
ISU (9-4), which finished in a three-way tie for third in the Missouri Valley Conference, advances to play No. 7 Central Arkansas.
Robinson’s previous highs were 256 yards and 29 carries. He scored on an 11-yard run in the first quarter, and the Redbirds led from there, taking a 21-3 halftime lead on a 16-yard run by Bryce Jefferson and a 33-yard pass from Jefferson to Andrew Edgar with 1:25 left in the second quarter.
Joe Pyle started in place of banged-up SEMO quarterback Daniel Santacaterina and threw for 124 yards. Santacaterina, dealing with foot and shoulder injuries, came in during the third quarter but threw for only 81 yards with two interceptions.
SEMO (9-4) had won its previous six games.