Brett Garner’s 30-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining broke a tie and extended Lindenwood’s magical season, with the Lions pulling off a 41-38 win over No. 5 Ouachita Baptist on Saturday in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Playing in the first Division II playoff game in school history, Lindenwood improved to 9-3 by winning its eighth straight game. The Lions will play in the second round next Saturday against a familiar foe, No. 10 Northwest Missouri State (11-1) in Maryville, Mo. Time of kickoff will be announced Monday.
Other than a brief span in the second quarter Saturday in which Ouachita led 21-10, the game was a nail-biter throughout, with neither team leading by more than four points. It was Lions, Tigers, and one bear of a football game that included eight lead changes. The game was tied at 38-38 when Gabe Goodman’s 22-yard field goal with 6:02 to play capped a 12-play, 55-yard drive for the Tigers (11-1), and it set up the winning drive.
Cade Brister completed all four of his passing attempts on the 10-play, 62-yard winning drive, none bigger than a third-and-4 conversion at the OBU 40 that went for 26 yards to Erik Henneman. At the 14, Lindenwood killed the clock to set up Garner’s field goal, but that wasn’t the last dramatic play of the game.
The Tigers had one more chance, starting at their 42, where they completed a 14-yard pass to get to Lindenwood’s 44. But Jordan Perry (University City) intercepted a pass to put the Lions in victory formation.
Brister (Fort Zumwalt North) passed for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and he led the Lindenwood rushing attack with 94 yards on 18 carries. Nash Sutherlin had 81 yards rushing as the only other ball carrier for the Lions, who averaged 5.2 yards per rush to go for 172. Sutherlin also had 76 yards receiving on eight catches, Henneman caught seven balls for 65 yards, and Glen Gibbons (Mascoutah) was good for 62 yards on six receptions.
Ouachita got 161 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Brockton Brown, and Brayden Brazeal passed for 204 yards on an efficient 17-for-22 performance.
Junior defensive back Grady Daniels (Timberland) had a team-best 11 tackles for Lindenwood, and sophomore lineman Tayvian Weary (Vianney) had four of LU’s eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Before moving to the Gateway Valley Football Conference this year, Lindenwood was a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate alongside Northwest Missouri. The Bearcats, who added to their Division II playoffs win record with their 49th Saturday by beating No. 12 Harding (10-2) 7-6, have won a record six D-II championships, including three of the last six.
North Dakota State 21, SIU Carbondale 7: Kobe Johnson, Adam Cofield and Trey Lance ran for touchdowns and the FCS No. 1 Bison completed a perfect regular season in Carbondale.
NDSU (12-0, 8-0 Missouri Valley) won its 33rd consecutive game, tying its own record (2012-14) for the longest win streak in FCS history and eighth longest all-time in Division I.
The Bison ran for 246 yards, with Lance throwing for 146 more.
The Salukis (7-5, 5-3) tied with Yale in the rankings at No. 25, got 117 yards rushing on 23 carries from Williams but had just 70 yards passing in seeing their winning streak of five games come to an end.
Southeast Missouri 31, Murray State 24: Daniel Santacaterina threw a pair of late touchdown passes to Zack Smith to rally host Southeast Missouri in its regular-season finale.
The Redhawks (9-3, 7-1 Ohio Valley) trailed 24-17 at the start of the fourth quarter when Santacaterina capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown throw to Smith to tie it 24-24. They took over on downs after a failed Murray State drive and Santacaterina again went to Smith, this time from 6 yards, for another score and a 31-24 lead with 8:57 to go.
Preston Rice threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns for the Racers (4-8, 2-6).
Indiana State 51, Missouri State 24: Dominique Dafney rushed for 244 yards and scored five touchdowns as visiting Indiana State rolled to an easy victory.
Kurtis Wilderman threw for 148 yards and Michael Haupert rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown and threw for another score for Indiana State (5-7, 3-5 Missouri Valley) which finished with two straight wins after dropping four games in a row.
Dafney started the scoring when he hauled in a pass from Haupert with 3:42 left in the first quarter.
Dante Hendrix returned a punt 70 yards to give the Sycamores a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter. Dafney broke for a 57-yard scoring scamper for a 28-7 advantage with 13:10 left in the third quarter. Dafney finished the scoring with a 1-yard plunge with 4:58 left in the game.
Peyton Huslig threw for 249 yards and two scores for Missouri State (1-10, 1-7).