Missouri Western’s defense put on a spectacular performance Saturday afternoon at Spratt Memorial Stadium, as they forced five turnovers and improved their record to 4-2)after a 40-8 victory over the Lindenwood Lions 2-4.
Western took the field Saturday afternoon on Military Appreciation Day on their home turf. Craig field was filled with military members from all branches, and the buzz during the National Anthem seemed to hold much more weight considering the times that our country faces at this moment.
Lieutenant Colonel, professor of military science and Missouri Western alumni Zachary Kerns would share his thoughts about Missouri Western dedicating this day to the military.
“Its great for the cadets as they are starting their military service, it lets them feel that love,” Kerns said.
The love shown to the military echoed to the field as Western drove the field with supreme confidence scoring on their first possession with a five-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Josh Caldwell, marking the third consecutive game with a touchdown on the opening drive.
Head coach Matt Williamson spoke about the confidence that he has been seeing from his team on opening drives.
“I think they are confident in our system and how we’re playing, but we wanna make sure our players aren’t getting too comfortable,” Williamson said.
While Williamson was trying to make sure his team was not too comfortable, the defense was making the Lions uncomfortable, forcing three interceptions from quarterback Najee Jackson in the first quarter. Jackson prior to Saturday had not thrown an interception on the season.
When asked about making their quarterback force his first turnovers of the season, cornerback and recipient of the first interception of the game, Brandin Dandridge, credited his defensive line.
“When guys like Darrian Bass, Nate(Iloilo), Markelle(Fulker) are creating chaos near the quarterback, it makes it easy for us in the secondary to make plays”
As far as the rest of the game goes, a drive-by-drive recap isn’t needed because Western continued to dominate on both sides of the ball, with only one miscue which came in the third quarter when the Lions returned a kickoff 99- yards. Williamson reflected on that error in the third an how it has cost him some sleep.
“I still haven’t slept the last two nights because of that,” Williamson said.
Next Saturday Western takes their number one ranked offense along with their defense who ranks number one in turnover ratio to Pittsburg State to take on the 2-4 Gorillas who they have not beaten since 2012.