(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — The Central Missouri Mules shutout Lindenwood in the second half and turned a close game into a runaway as they won their first game of the season, 47-28, on Saturday afternoon at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field, according to a press release. The Mules trailed 28-26 at halftime, but outscored the Lions 21-0 in the second half.
The Mules (1-2, 1-2 MIAA) got on the board early when Zach Quines picked off Dillon Miller’s pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown just 90 seconds into the game.
The Lions (2-1, 2-1 MIAA) wasted no time in responding. A seven play, 83-yard drive was capped by a Miller to Alex Robinson 24-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-all with less than five minutes gone by in the opening quarter. The Mules came right back on the ensuing possession with a nine-play, 80-yard drive of their own. Hayden Hawk hitRonrei Lloyd for a 44-yard pitch and catch to the Lindenwood 18. Four plays later, Hawk hit Anthony Kirkwood for a five-yard scoring strike and the Mules went back in front 14-7.
The back-and-forth continued when Lindenwood took their next possession 74 yards in eight plays capped by a three-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Jordan Gater to tie the game with 3:52 left in the first quarter. After a defensive stop the Lions took over at their own 14 yard line. On the second play of the drive, Miller hit Robinson for an 83-yard touchdown and LWU took a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, UCM took over at their own 36 yard line. The Mules drove 64 yards in 13 plays covering 6:12. Hawk hit Lloyd for a 24 yard touchdown, but the extra point hit the upright and UCM trailed 21-20.
On UCM’s next drive they were forced to punt from midfield. The ball was snapped over Will Mondragon‘s head and the Lions recovered at the UCM 23 yard line. Three plays later Marvin Byrd plowed into the endzone to give LWU a 28-20 lead. The Mules came right back with a six-play, 72-yard drive to get into the endzone. Hawk hit LaVance Taylorfor a 37-yard gain on third down and then rushed right up the middle from 13 yards out for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good and UCM trailed 28-26 at halftime.
The Mules took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove right down the field to take the lead. A 37-yard pass to Tristan McClelland on 3rd and 11 gave UCM a first down in Lindenwood territory then on 2nd and Goal, Hawk hit Cullen Rosine from five yards out to put UCM in front 33-28. The two-point conversion was no good.
The Mules were looking to add to their lead on the next possession driving right down the field, but a fumble on the two yard line was recovered by Lindenwood and gave the Lions new life, for the moment. The Mule defense forced a punt and after a 50-yard punt UCM had the ball at their own 45 yard line. Nine plays and 55 yards later Hawk hit Lloyd for his second touchdown of the game, this time from four yards out and the Mules led 40-28.
After the defense held again, the Mules took over at their own 11 yard line. Ray Harris had back to back rushes of 32 and 19 yards to move into Lindenwood territory. Three plays later Hawk hit McClelland from 15 yards out and the Mules were in front 47-28.
The Lions took their next possession down to the UCM three with a first and goal. An incomplete pass on first down and a one yard rush on second down set up third and goal at the three. Ricky Spratley then stuffed a run in the backfield for a loss of two and a fourth down pass fell incomplete to give the Mules the goal line stand and the final margin of victory.
Hawk had a record setting day in the pocket. He finished 31 of 39 for 401 yards and five touchdowns and also added 33 yards rushing and a score. His six touchdowns accounted for ties the school record held by six other players. His 401 yards passing are the eighth most in a single game in UCM history and his five touchdowns passing are tied for the second most in a game.
Taylor finished with 101 yards on 19 carries, while Harris had 62 on nine carries. Kirkwood hauled in seven passes for 62 yards and a score, whle Lloyd and McClelland each caught five balls for 102 and 100 yards, respectively. Lloyd had two touchdown grabs and McClelland had one.
Defensively, Spratley finished with 11 total tackles, including eight solo stops and a tackle for loss. Kadarius Gren had nine solo tackles, while Quines and Alex Perlin each had six tackles. Quines added the 36-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Miller was 29 of 52 for 390 yards with three scores and an interception for Lindenwood. Jaron Alexander had 16 catches for 149 yards, while Robinson caught seven passes for 167 yards and two scores. Byrd rushed 12 times for 54 yards and a score. Defensively, Dillon Hawkins had 12 tackles, while Roderick Ryles finished with 10.
The win gives UCM a 3-0 lead in the all-time series against Lindenwood. the 47-28 final score was the same score as the first ever meeting back in 2011 in St. Charles.
The Mules are now 25-6 during the Jim Svoboda era when scoring at least 21 points and this was just the third win under Svoboda when trailing at halftime.
Central Missouri is on the road next week when they travel to Kirksville, Mo. for what could be the final meeting all-time between the Mules and Truman State. Kickoff from Stokes Stadium is set for 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on 1450 KOKO, 98.5 The Bar and warrensburgradio.com. Shawn Jones and UCM Athletic Hall of Famer Bill Turnage will have the call along with Greg Hassler on the sidelines.. The Mules Tailgate Show will begin at 5:40 p.m.