JOPLIN — Whatever Lindenwood head coach Jed Stugart said to his gathered players on their way to the locker room after a first half in which the Lions saw their 20-0 lead turn into a 20-13 halftime advantage, it must have been dynamite and definitely unable to be printed in a newspaper.
With a motivational fire lit under them, the guests from St. Charles surged to a 51-13 win Saturday over Missouri Southern at Fred G. Hughes Stadium, behind a 28-0 third quarter.
In that big third quarter, Cade Brister threw a pair of touchdown passes to Eric Henneman, Grady Daniels scored on a 50-yard interception return, and Cameron Sanders closed out the points with a 3-yard scoring run.
Barrett Foley booted a 32-yard field goal for the lone points in the fourth.
Missouri Southern scored all its points in the second quarter, which drew the ire of Stugart and the Lindenwood coaching staff.
Starting quarterback Sean Kelly scored on a 1-yard run and Paul Wolff kicked 35- and 37-yard field goals for the other six points.
Kelly’s touchdown gave Southern its first points of the season, hence the celebration for the home Lions on the day of the unveiling of their new dynamite video board.
The home Lions’ offense began picking up in the second quarter with the involvement of running backs Caleb Batie, who rushed for 151 yards on 19 carries, and Dalton James, who added 87 yards on 18 carries. Batie and James proved to be bright spots in a resounding defeat.
Kelly and the passing game struggled mightily, finishing with 11 completions in 24 pass attempts for a meager 33 yards and one interception. The Lions’ longest gain with the forward pass was 12 yards.
Deshon Cowling, Akel Beard, and Justin Legier each finished in double-digit tackles with 12 (Cowling) and 11 (Beard, Legier).
Brister threw for 212 yards and three scores on 20 of 33 accuracy and Henneman caught eight passes for 74 yards and four scores, apparently a Lindenwood record.
Southern, 0-2 overall and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, returns to action next on the road against Northwest Missouri, just exactly the opponent for when a team wants to end an extended losing streak and get its first victory of the season.
Southern has lost 15 straight games dating back to late October in the 2016 season.