Kearney, Neb. – The Lincoln University Blue Tigers got 346 yards of total offense from sophomore quarterback Jacob Morris, and three interceptions by freshman corner Maurkice Savage, to hold off Nebraska-Kearney, 34-27, Saturday in Jefferson City, Mo.
The game began at 2:00 p.m. at LU’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium. At halftime, with UNK up 14-13, the game went into a 3 ½ hour weather delay. When play resumed, the contest was moved to Jefferson City High School, which has lights on its field. The “Homecoming” game officially ended at 8:10 p.m.
With the conference win, LU (1-6, 1-6) ends a 16-game losing streak, dating back to the 2011 opener, and wins for the fourth time in its last 40 games. UNK, meanwhile, drops to 0-7 (0-7) and loses an eighth straight contest going back to last fall.
The Blue Tigers grabbed the momentum early in the third quarter after a punt by junior Kalvin Zoucha (Albion) pinned them at their own four-yard line.
Morris directed a six play, 96-yard scoring drive that featured a double pass that went for 30 yards and a 26-yard run by junior Morris Henderson that ended with a fumble but a fellow Blue Tiger pounced on the loose ball. Morris ended the long drive with a five-yard scoring run.
Early in the second quarter, he threw a 97-yard TD pass to senior corner O’Hara Fluellen to tie the game at seven. The pass is the longest in Lincoln’s history.
After the scoring run by Morris, senior Justin Drudik (Adams Central H.S.) drove the Lopers right down the field. However, his 3rd and six pass was picked off by Savage at the Tigers five-yard line.
The fifth-year senior has been a receiver since 2010 but began his collegiate career at quarterback. Drudik, the sixth different Loper to play QB this year, was also picked off by Savage on UNK’s first possession of the game.
Soon after Savage’s second pick, UNK cut it to a 20-16 deficit thanks to a blocked punt by senior safety Sam Kuck (Central City). The ball went out of the end zone for two points and the Lopers got the ball back on a free kick.
Moving down the field again, UNK saw sophomore back Ricky Trinidad (Trinity, Fla.) stopped for a two-yard gain on 4th and four from the Lincoln 30-yard line. UNK also failed on a 4th and one at the Lincoln 33-yard line in the first quarter.
The Blue Tigers second TD of the game came on fourth down from the Loper one yard line
Lincoln took over on downs after stopping Trinidad and went 72 yards in 12 plays, getting a six-yard scoring run by Henderson with 9:17 left to make it 27-16.
After a 24-yard field goal by Norfolk freshman Drew Farlee, Lincoln’s offense produced its third TD of the second half when Morris threw a 21-yard pass to receiver Maurice Woodard. That capped a 72-yard march.
The Lopers didn’t go quietly, however, going 69 yards in five plays with Drudik capping things with a 10-yard TD pass to Trinidad. Senior WR/RB Tommy Flanagan (Golden, Colo.) converted the two-point conversion with a pass to senior WR Adam Lehner (Hastings).
While Lincoln recovered the on-side kick, the Kearney defense forced a quick three and out. Starting from its own 20-yard line, Drudik completed five passes to move the ball all the way to the Blue Tiger 10-yard line with 34 seconds to go.
However, Savage stepped in front of another pass, this time at Lincoln’s two-yard line, to seal the win.
Morris was 19 of 33 for 298 yards, two TD’s and one INT. He also had 13 carries for 48 yards and a score. Henderson helped Lincoln rush for 152 yards as he amassed 66 yards on nine carries. Finally, Woodard had nine catches for 84 yards and Fluellen made nine tackles.
Drudik was 22 of 37 for 294 yards, one TD and three INT’s. Additionally, he carried the ball six times for 36 yards and a score.
Trinidad had his second straight 100 yard rushing day, going for 156 yards on 32 carries. He also was one of nine Lopers to catch a pass. Lehner came on late to lead the receiving corps, having grabs five for a career-high 132 yards. This marks his second career 100 yard day.
Defensively, junior ILB Kellen Werner (Grand Island) had 10 tackles, including three for lost yardage, with junior end Matt Bowman (Kearney Catholic) having eight tackles, 3.5 coming behind the line of scrimmage.
UNK hosts Southwest Baptist next Saturday at a time be announced. The Bearcats are now 1-6 (1-6) on the year after a 37-34 overtime loss to Fort Hays State.