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Kearney, Neb. – Six different players reached the end zone, junior quarterback TJ Davis threw two more touchdown passes and the defense recorded its second shut out of the season as No. 21/22 Nebraska-Kearney rolled past Lincoln (Mo.) University, 56-0, Saturday afternoon at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field.
UNK (7-1) wins at home for a fifth straight time and sets up a de facto MIAA Championship game next Saturday at No. 10 Northwest Missouri State (6-1). The Bearcats strolled past Northeastern State, 59-7, today in Oklahoma. UNK and Northwest are the only two league teams currently with one loss.
“Hey here we go right? Gosh, this is where we want to be with Loper football. This week and the next three games is what we came to Kearney, Nebraska to do,” said UNK head coach Josh Lynn. “This is what Loper football is about and should be about.”
Two years ago at Cope the Lopers bested the ‘Cats by a 24-17 score. It marked UNK’s first win over Northwest in 29 years and fourth in the series (4-12). For added measure, it’ll be “Homecoming” in Maryville; the game kicks at 1 p.m.
The Lincoln Blue Tigers (0-7) have now lost 13 in a row, dating back to October 2019. Today the Lopers emptied the bench and out gained LU by a 623-166 margin. The Blue Tigers actually ran three more plays, 60-57, and had the ball longer, 30:09-29:51. However, UNK averaged 10.9 yards per play and tallied a season-best 432 rushing yards.
Davis (Colorado Springs) had accounted for four TD’s in each of the last four games but was pulled midway through the second quarter today. He finished 3 of 5 for 144 yards and two TD’s while rushing once for five yards. He also had a 70-yard pitch-and-catch to senior back Dayton Sealey (Hastings) called back due to a holding penalty. UNK and LU combined for 172 penalty yards thanks on 17 accepted flags.
“It was a good win and a lot of people got to play today. Extremely happy with how our guys prepared … they had a great week of practice. We’re keeping out head down and do what we do,” said Lynn. “We needed that (different guys playing). We have some younger guys in our program that need those quality reps.”
Redshirt senior back Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.) started the scoring with a 22-yard scamper at the 10:49 mark of the first quarter. A 62-yard completion from Davis to redshirt senior cruiser Thomas Tews (Omaha Concordia) setup UNK’s second TD, a nine-yard run by Sealey. To cap the first, super senior Quinn Brummer (Millard West) forced and recovered a fumble which led to UNK’s next score. That was a 17-yard toss from Davis to redshirt freshman slot JerQon Conners (St. Louis).
Soon after, Sealey turned a screen pass into a 65-yard score. He raced down the right sideline and then went around and through some Blue Tigers for a 28-0 lead. That came at the nine-minute mark of the second and Davis’ day was done.
“Football teams got to take care of football teams. With TJ, there’s an end goal here. Getting someone else in and letting them play. Not only that but avoid injury and getting him to the next game,” said Lynn.
Redshirt freshman back Miko Maessner (Kearney) made it 35-0 before halftime with his first collegiate score, a five-yard run. He ended the day with a team-high a team-best 109 yards on 10 carries. Redshirt junior back Joe Stiffend (Plainfield, Ill.) scored twice in the second half with redshirt senior Garrett Meyer (Omaha Gross) having 14-yard TD run.
Reserve quarterbacks Jacob Green (Frederick, Colo.) and Shaun Ross (Raytown, Mo.) also showed out, Ross tallying 98 yards on 10 attempts while going 2 of 3 in the air for 23 yards and a score. Frederick relieved Davis in the first half and finished with 61 rushing and 24 passing yards.
Lincoln got 82 rushing yards from veteran back Hosea Franklin with QB Zamar Brake going 6 of 19 for 88 yards. He was sacked six times and harassed all day by the Loper defense. The Blue Tigers were forced to punt six times, were 2 of 12 on third down and 0 for 4 on fourth down.
Reserve safety Matty Bartels (Aurora, Colo.) had a team-high six stops, reserve OLB Delonte Dickey (Greenwood Village, Colo.) had two sacks for 15 yards, reserve ILB Jimmy Harrison (Hobbs, N.M.) managed five stops and a TFL with Brummer at five tackles as well. As a unit the Loper “D” had 12 tackles for a loss of 50 yards, five QB hurries and two PBU’s.
“We go out and work hard all week long and the product is three or four hours on Saturday,” said Lynn. “A good test for your program is when the 2’s and 3’s can go in there and execute the offense and defense.”
The first edition of the region rankings will be released on Monday afternoon and both UNK and Northwest will be in the Top 10 of “Super Region 3”.