The McKendree University recorded its most complete team effort of the 2016 season on Saturday in posting a convincing 40-7 victory Saturday at Leemon Field against Missouri S&T.
Offensively, the Bearcats rushed for a season-high 264 yards and recorded touchdowns on their first two possessions. On the defensive side, McKendree collected a season-best eight quarterback sacks and limited the Miners to just six yards rushing on the day. The Bearcats’ special teams unit even figured into the mix with the recovery of a loose ball following a third-quarter kickoff and a career day from senior kicker Steven O’Block in cruising to the win.
McKendree improves to 5-3 on the year and is now 3-2 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
“It was great to see all three aspects of our team have a great day today,” said McKendree head coach Mike Babcock. “It was a case of push and grind by everyone and the result was a great 60 minutes of football. We had some guys step up when their number was called because of injuries, and they helped get us going today. That’s great to see.”
O’Block tied a school record by kicking four field goals — all of which came in the second half — and set a new program mark for points scored by a kicker with 16. O’Block, who also had four field goals in a 2014 game at Lincoln University, matched the record he shared with Brian Schneider (1998 vs. Walsh University) and Stephen Webb (2002 vs. Northwestern Oklahoma State University). In addition, O’Block’s 16 points against Missouri S&T topped the previous game record of 14 that he shared with Schneider and Webb.
In addition, O’Block moved past Schneider for second place on the Bearcats’ career list for points scored by a kicker during Saturday’s victory. O’Block now has 248 points in his four seasons at McKendree and needs just six points to overtake Webb for the career mark.
Junior running back Preston Thompson enjoyed a career day against Missouri S&T, rushing for a career-best 105 yards on 26 carries. Thompson also added an 11-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
After missing the last two games due to injury, senior defensive end Lucky Baar returned to the Bearcats’ lineup and registered 3 ½ sacks versus the Miners. Baar, who became the career sack leader at McKendree back on Oct. 1, boosted his career total to 43. He is just three behind the NCAA Division II career mark for sacks of 46 set by March Schiechl, who played at Colorado School of Mines from 2007-10.
Freshman running back Demarius Ward (Belleville East) scored his first career touchdown on a 10-yard burst up the middle with 1:42 remaining.
McKendree will hit the road for its next two contests, beginning Saturday with a GLVC battle at Lincoln University. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Jefferson City, Mo.
St. Francis 20, LU-Belleville 13
At Belleville, Despite outgaining the University of St. Francis 234-203, the Lindenwood University-Belleville football team was unable to collect its first win on the year as the Fighting Saints escaped Lindenwood Stadium with a win to spoil homecoming for the Lynx.
For the first time since the St. Ambrose outing, the Lynx (0-7; 0-4 MSFA) running game got going today as they posted a season-high 157 yards.
At the quarterback position, however, before leaving the game with an injury, Darrien Boone was 8-of-15 for 70 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Backup Chris Henington managed the offense well in Boone's absence, completing three passes.
The Lynx will hit the road for the final time this season this Saturday as they’ll pay a visit to No. 24-ranked Robert Morris University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.