Yomi Alli blocked his second kick in the past three weeks, which started a scoring trend that never ended for Missouri Western.
Western defeated Lincoln (Mo.) 81-20 Saturday at Spratt Stadium. It was the second year in a row in which the Griffons put up 81 points against the Blue Tigers.
Alli’s block, which was returned 98 yards by the freshman in the second quarter, put the Griffons up 19-6. Had the extra point block not occurred, Lincoln would have been down by just 10.
In the very next play Tarrell Downing returned his second touchdown, which put the Griffons up by 20, doubling a score which might have been.
“Coach Bell did a great job of finding the weakness in the special teams,” Alli said. “I just did what Shane and J West taught me.”
Alli, who is becoming a fan favorite with his special teams play and big hits, recorded five tackles, had a quarterback pressure and a hit against Lincoln’s Robert Redmond to go with his block touchdown return.
“I know one thing’s for sure: If I got caught, Coach P. would have never let it down.”
Western started the game with Downing’s first return, a punt that he first dropped. After he picked up the football, Downing made two moves to speed his way through a big hole to go 72 yards for the score.
“The kickoff return was a really big one,” said coach Jerry Partridge, before giving credit to the other big special teams player . “Yomi took the time to block an extra point and run it back. It was a big play.”
A few minutes later, running back Michael Hill scored on a 53-yard pass from Travis Partridge.
After Western added a field goal, Lincoln scored a one-yard-touchdown from Deon Brock. The Blue Tigers were inside the 1o-yard-line after Travis Partridge threw an interception to pre-season All American O’Hara Fluellen.
“He hesitated a little bit,” Jerry Partridge said of his first-year starting quarterback.
The ensuing extra point was then blocked by Alli, and he returned it all the way for the Griffons own two point, which turned the game by three points in favor of the Griffons.
Western scored three more touchdowns to end the half up 43-6, two of the scores were by Hill. One was from 13 yards out, and the other was on a 44-yard scamper.
“I think Coach P. could have went in there and run the ball through those holes,” Hill said. “I really didn’t do nothing. I caught the ball on the screen and just ran straight. The same with the other one.”
The special teams didn’t miss a beat as Downing’s two returns helped Western jump out to its big halftime lead.
“I had great blocking in front of me,” Downing said. “[This is] a confidence booster. We just got to keep on keeping on.”
Western scored 38 points in the second half, as much of the backups came in to finish the game. Zuerlein hit a 50- and a 51-yard field goal to put him at 4-4 on kicks more than 50 yards on the season. He is also a perfect 7-7 on field goals 40 yards or more. His only miss this season was a 29-yard field late in the game against Central Missouri, a game in which Western won 23-6.
The Griffons scored seven different ways Saturday (punt return, kickoff return, extra point return, run, pass, interception return and field goal) on their way to the 61 point victory.
Western tied its own record of points scored in a game. Last season, the Griffons won 81-14 over Lincoln.