Western football had their senior day spoiled this past Saturday as they dropped their final home game of 2018 to Lindenwood University by the score of 27-23.
The Griffon offense started strong once again, proving themselves more than capable of putting points on the board in a number of ways against anyone they take the field against. This game turned into a busy day for senior kicker Tyler Basch, who went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts on the day.
Senior quarterback Dom Marino was again spreading the ball around all over the field to his weapons, completing 12 passes to eight different receivers. Marino was unable to find the endzone through the air, however, as redshirt freshman running back Donnell Hawkins was able to take a handoff 21 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Hawkins led the way for a balanced rushing attack, gaining 41 yards on just four carries, good for 10.2 yards per attempt. Marino also added another 30 yards on the ground himself.
Marino also threw for 144 yards through the air, with senior receiver Keylan Mack leading the way with 39 yards receiving.
After Hawkins’ score made it 23-6 with just under eight minutes left, Western seemed to have the game all but wrapped up as a nice home win.
Lindenwood had other ideas.
The Lions stormed back to score 21 unanswered points in the final five minutes, with the help of an onside kick, to come away with a shocking 27-23 victory on the road.
“What got us in yesterday’s game was we let our foot off the gas,” Marino said. “We talk about being relentless and that the game is never lost. We learned that that same relentlessness needs to be even increased with a lead because the game is not won until it hits zero.”
As the clock struck zero, Western was left stunned and looking for answers.
“I think we went into the game underestimating our opponent,” freshman Kobe Cummings said. “We did not take advantage of the opportunities we had. No matter how well the offense played or how well the defense played, we did not win, and it is a bummer. But, I believe everything happens for a reason, so now it is time to focus on preparing for a bowl game and going out on top.”
Western will get the chance to end their season on a positive note, as it was announced that the Griffons qualified for a bowl game against Southern Arkansas to be played in Texas on Dec. 1.