The Lindenwood football team (2-0) earned a 37-3 win over Keiser (1-3) on Saturday evening from Hunter Stadium in St. Charles, Mo.
The much anticipated home opener brought in more than 4,000 fans on Family Day. Payton Rose started the scoring with a 33-yard touchdown reception from the arm of Brister. It marked the 71st career touchdown pass by Brister, setting program record. The Seahawks answered with a 32-yard field goal, but the defense played flawless throughout the remainder of the game.
Kobe Smith made a statement in his first home game as a Lion, hauling in a touchdown pass at the 12:08 mark of the second quarter. Less than six minutes later, Brister found Smith again on a 78-yard bomb to make it a 21-3 lead. On the ensuing drive for Keiser, the Lions were flying around on defense, as Tayvian Weary secured a sack to help force a punt. After a short punt, the Lions went six plays for a total of 52 yards before Andrew Martin bulled his way in for a short touchdown run. Lindenwood took a 28-3 lead into the half with the help of three scores in the second quarter alone.
The second half started slow for both teams, as each team had a short first drive to start the third frame. Keiser put together a 15-play drive, but the Lindenwood defense stood strong and forced a turnover on downs. The Lions added three points to their total at the 12:34 mark of the fourth quarter, after Logan Seibert knocked in a 32-yard field goal.
The Seahawks had the ball for just three plays before Darion Mullins laid a big hit on the quarterback, allowing Jaden Patrick to recover the fumble to give the Lions possession. It took the Lions just five plays before Justin Williams scored on a 16-yard scamper for the 37-3 lead. Keiser again put together a long drive, but the defense stood strong yet again to close out the game with the 34-point victory in the home opener.
Brister compiled 377 yards through the air, as Rose (180) and Smith (111) each eclipsed 100 yards receiving. Smith hauled in two touchdown passes and 104 yards after the catch. Lindenwood put up 126 yards on the ground to total 521 yards of total offense. The Lions tallied 24 first downs, and converted on all four red zone trips, including three touchdowns.
Tyrone Griffin led the defense with 11 total tackles, and added one tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Tra Ranson laid a handful of big hits, as he and Chase Giorgi each posted seven tackles. Sterlin Williams has provided a quality rush from the edge early in the season, as the Zephyrhills, Fla. native posted 2.0 sacks and one forced fumble. As a team, the Lions posted 3.0 sacks, 7.0 tackles for loss, and six pass breakups in the game.
“This was a big test for us,” said head coach Jed Stugart. “We came off a huge road win last week and we have a tough conference opponent next week, so we had to keep our focus and not overlook a quality opponent at in a different division. We did just that and felt like we played a consistent four quarters.”
Cade Brister (19-for-32, 377 yards, 3 TD, 30 rush yards)
Payton Rose (9 catches, 180 yards, 1 TD)
Kobe Smith (8 catches, 111 yards, 2 TD, 104 YAC)
The Lions will hit the road on Saturday as they head to Martin, Tenn. to take on UT Martin at 6:00 p.m.