College Sports

Bearcats, Lynx score home-field victories

McKendree’s Jeremiah Wilkins crosses the goal line after his 30-yard interception return for a touchdown Saturday against Lincoln.
McKendree’s Jeremiah Wilkins crosses the goal line after his 30-yard interception return for a touchdown Saturday against Lincoln.

The McKendree University football team was clicking on all cylinders on Saturday in a 65-0 win Saturday afternoon at home against Lincoln University.

It was appropriate that on Halloween at Leemon Field the Bearcats put up some scary numbers on both sides of the ball. Offensively, McKendree rolled up 587 yards of total offense against the Blue Tigers. The 65 points scored by the Bearcats is the most by a McKendree team in the program’s NCAA Division II era (which dates back to 2012) and is the team’s highest single-game scoring effort since a 66-0 home shutout of Waldorf College back in 2009.

The Bearcats’ defense matched a season-high with eight quarterback sacks while allowing a season-low 265 yards of total offense. McKendree even collected a special-teams score for a touchdown off a blocked punt early in the third quarter.

McKendree also notched its first shutout in more than five seasons in Saturday’s win. The last time the Bearcats held an opponent scoreless came in a 41-0 victory at Leemon Field over Olivet Nazarene University back in September 2010.

The Bearcats improve to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. McKendree will close out the home portion of its 2015 schedule next Saturday (Nov. 7) by hosting Quincy University in another GLVC tilt. Kickoff for the Senior Day match-up is set for 1 p.m.

“We wanted our guys to bounce back in a positive way following the loss last week (at Missouri S & T),” said McKendree head football coach Mike Babcock. “They really came out and played well in every phase in the game. This was a true team victory and was proud of the way they played from whistle to whistle.”

Senior quarterback Isaac Fisher showed the way offensively by putting up nearly 400 yards of total offense against Lincoln. Fisher completed 26-of-30 pass attempts for 308 yards with three touchdown tosses while rushing for a game-high 82 yards on 11 carries. He completed his first 16 pass attempts in the contest and was 22-of-24 in the first half. Fisher threw a pair of TD passes to senior wide receiver Cameron James (Edwardsville) and another to freshman tight end Skylar Paulson. In all, 11 different players caught at least one pass for the Bearcats, including a team-leading seven by James.

Sophomore defensive lineman Darion Simmons and freshman defensive end Brad Wyss each had two sacks on the day for McKendree. Junior linebacker Jeremiah Wilkins made his first career interception for the Bearcats a memorable one as he returned it 30 yards for a touchdown just before halftime.

LU-Belleville 20, Robert Morris 16: The Lindenwood University-Belleville Lynx put together a game for the ages, as they took down No. 14 Robert Morris on Senior Day.

East St. Louis native and Lindenwood senior Kam Harris scored the go ahead touchdown with 22 seconds remaining to give the Lynx the victory. It was Harris’ second rushing touchdown of the day as he capped a historic career at Lindenwood Stadium, calling the field home for his playing days at Althoff High School as well as LU-Belleville.

The Lynx were down 10 points to the Eagles with just over seven minutes remaining. Quarterback Tarean Austin completed five of six pass attempts on the drive before scoring from 3 yards out for his sixth rushing touchdown of the season. The two-point attempt was completed to Walter Jackson to make it 16-14 with 3:40 remaining.

The LU-Belleville defense held and the Lynx began the possession at the Eagles 39 after a poor punt. Harris ran for 19 yards on the first play. After an incomplete pass, Harris came up with a 19-yard run.

After two failed attempts, Harris pushed it in for his seventh rushing touchdown of the season.

“Today was a great win for our team. We played hard for four quarters, overcame adversity, and finished off a very good Robert Morris team,” said Lynx coach Dale Carlson. “I am so happy for the seniors to finish their home career with a win over a nationally ranked team. To keep fighting and comeback in the fourth quarter to win will be a long lasting memory of their college career.”

The Lynx will play their remaining two games on the road as they take on Taylor University next week before concluding the regular season at Concordia University. Both of the games are Mid-States Football Association Mideast match-ups to close out the season.