The Lindenwood University-Belleville football team dropped its season opener on the road against Siena Heights University on Saturday as the Lynx fell 31-16.
Lindenwood-Belleville (0-1; 0-1 MSFA), totaled 269 yards on the day, 194 of which came through the air while 75 yards came on the ground.
The team went 4-of-12 on third down and 2-of-4 on fourth down plays. Individually, in his first start after transferring from Austin Peay, Darrien Boone went 17-of-29 for 188 yards but threw four interceptions. Christopher Henington, meanwhile, got some late minute action as he went 1-of-3 and tossed his first collegiate touchdown.
Boone also led the team in rushing with 30 rushing yards on 15 carries. Billy Arndt had five carries for 21 yards while Devon Williams had six carries for 17 yards and one touchdown. Michael Aschemann led the Lynx receivers with six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Adnan Al-Amami had a big game with a career-high 11 tackles while Cody Sands was impressive in his first game back since injury, totaling nine tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
Vinton Harris, a Belleville native, dominated on the defensive line with his seven tackles and 3.5 sacks for 23 yards.
After a quick three-and-out by the Lynx offense, Siena Heights got the ball on the LU-Belleville 33-yard line after a 23-yard punt return by Darius Price.
It took the Saints just 3 minutes,33 seconds to put seven on the scoreboard as Garrett Schaller capped off the nine play 33-yard drive with a 5-yard run in to make it 7-0.
Starting on its own 36 for its second drive of the day the offense really got going as Boone found Aschemann for a 20-yard gain. After a 2-yard rush, Boone picked up 21 yards with his legs and ran down to the Saints 16-yard line. They eventually moved up to the 8-yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Saints.
After unsuccessfully scoring on its first, second and third down tries, it was fourth down and goal. Boone looked to find a receiver but he got picked off in the end zone by Cha’Quan Love, forcing a touchback and keeping the game at 7-0.
On the ensuing drive, after two rushes that gained zero yards, Saints quarterback Lucas Barner found Deontae Rush for an 80-yard touchdown which gave them a 14-0 lead. That was Barner’s biggest play of the day as he went 14-of-23 for 235 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Rush who finished with four catches for 123 yards.
Siena Heights went on to tally a field goal and through the end of one quarter of play the Saints were on top 17-0.
Starting off in the second quarter the Lynx defense came up big with a defensive stop on the Saints’ 34-yard line. The Saints came on out to punt but there was a bad snap which allowed Sands to rush in and make the tackle, giving LU-Belleville the ball on the Siena Heights 13-yard line with 9:50 on the clock.
Five plays later, the Lynx got on the score sheet as Devon Williams rushed in from 1-yard out to cut the deficit down to 17-7.
Siena Heights had the chance to extend its lead out to 20-7 before the break but Brady Tanguay’s field goal attempt was blocked by the outstretched arm of Sands which kept the scoreboard at 17-7.
The Lynx tried to get one final score in before halftime but Boone was picked off at the Saints 27-yard line and through two quarters of play LU-Belleville trailed by 10.
The defense picked up for both teams’ to start off the third quarter but the Saints offense got going at the 10:21 mark. After two incomplete passes from the 50-yard line, Barner did it himself as he rushed for 22 yards down to the Lynx 28-yard line. Three players later, Barner found Rush once again for a 26-yard score to give them a 24-7 advantage through three quarters of play.
The Saints tacked on another rushing touchdown from Schaller, this time it was from 11-yards out, extending the lead out to 31-7 with 8:48 left.
Despite the score, LU-Belleville continued to give everything they had. Another big special teams play happened with three minutes left as Aaron Wagner looked to punt the ball away deep inside the Saints territory but his attempt was blocked by Deland Rock-Johnson, which gave the Lynx the ball at SHU 4-yard line.
Henington came in for Boone and it paid off as he found Aschemann on fourth and goal for the 6-yard score, cutting the lead down to 31-14. LU-Belleville later earned a safety for two more points but that proved too be the final score as the Lynx fell by 15.
The team will return to action in front of the home crowd Saturday night as they’ll host Olivet Nazarene University. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Fans make sure to stay updated on lindenwoodlynx.com later next week for a full preview of its game against ONU.
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