By Dan Carr/Assistant AD for Media Relations
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Lincoln football team scored first and forced four turnovers, but Emporia State beat the Blue Tigers, 35-24, in LU’s Senior Day football game on Saturday (Nov. 5). It was the final home game of the year for Lincoln, which will close its 2022 campaign in St. Joseph, Mo. against Missouri Western on Saturday (Nov. 12) at 1:00 p.m. CST.
Before the game, Lincoln recognized its seven graduating seniors: Cody Bagby, Julius Jackson-Linkhart, Javier Moreno, Jaylon Mosley, Charles Ransom, Caleb Rozar and TeAndre Skinner.
The Blue Tigers won the coin toss, elected to receive, and then marched down the field to score the first points of the afternoon on Moreno’s 34-yard field goal. Aderias Ealy caught a 19-yard pass from Zamar Brake to get the ball down close to the red zone after Omar Allen picked up 13 yards on a pair of carries earlier in the drive. Damon Bell, meanwhile, made a seven-yard reception to get LU within range for the field goal.
Emporia State (8-2, 8-2 MIAA) answered with a touchdown drive, but both defenses stepped up and the score remained at 7-3 heading into the second quarter. During that second period, Aeneas Tibbs intercepted two passes while Eric Brown picked off another as Lincoln (0-10, 0-10 MIAA) trailed by just 13-10 entering the final four minutes of the half. ESU scored a touchdown earlier in the quarter, but the extra point attempt was no good. Ealy then helped make it a three-point affair with an 85-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
The Hornets would end up taking a 35-10 lead into the final quarter, but Lincoln refused to go down quietly. A 19-yard punt return from Chrisshun Robinson gave LU great field position on its next scoring drive, and a six-yard reception by Samuel Ingoli followed by a three-yard scamper from LaMarco Yates gave the Blue Tigers a first down at the ESU 13. Brake then found Ealy wide open in the end zone for another touchdown, pulling LU to within 35-17 halfway through the fourth period.
The Lincoln defense forced a three-and-out, and the Blue Tiger offense once again marched down the field. Ealy caught a 22-yard pass to start the drive, and later hauled in an 18 yard pass to get down to the visitor 27. A 13-yard run by Brake, followed by a pair of grabs by Ingoli, allowed Lincoln to reach the one-yard line. Yates punched the ball in on the next play to close the gap down to 11, but Emporia State ended up recovering the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.
Brake threw for 273 yards while Ealy finished with seven grabs for 170 yards. Ingoli caught six passes for 52 yards, and Bell also tallied six receptions on the afternoon. Clayton Winkler had four punts travel at least 50 yards, two of which pinned ESU inside its 20, and Moreno went 4-for-4 on kick attempts. Michael Cunningham averaged 52.5 yards on kickoffs.
Defensively, Mosley led the Blue Tigers with 15 tackles while Jackson-Linkhart was next with 12, and Skinner broke up a pass to go with eight takedowns. Bagby had a hurry and four tackles, and Brown, who recorded a 38-yard return on his interception, finished with three tackles and a hurry. Markey Mallary recorded six tackles, Cory Macon had five takedowns and a tackle for loss, and Pat Harris and Kyvin Carroll each also recorded five tackles apiece.