MCKENZIE, Tenn. – No. 10-ranked Lindsey Wilson football made a statement tonight with a 58-3 win over 14th-ranked Bethel (Tenn.) at Wildcat Stadium.
The Blue Raiders (5-0, 2-0 in the Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division) won every aspect of the top-15 showdown in their most complete game of the season.
– Lindsey Wilson scored 58 straight points after the Wildcats (3-2, 0-1) took a three-point lead five minutes into the game.
– The Blue Raiders outgained their host 426-162 in total yardage, including running for 244 yards against a Bethel defense that had allowed just over 109 yards per game against NAIA competition this season.
– The Blue Raider defense tallied a pair of touchdowns for a second straight week.
– Lindsey Wilson won the turnover battle five to one.
With the win, Lindsey Wilson football and LWC head coach Chris Oliver picks up career win number 75. The Blue Raiders sport a 75-32 all-time record in their 10th season.
Bethel started strong, taking its opening drive 55 yards before settling for a Rodrigo Campos’ 33-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.
Following its first possession, the Wildcats managed just 107 yards the remainder of the game against the stout Lindsey Wilson defense. The shutout in the second, third, and fourth quarters marks the 11th time in 20 quarters this season the Blue Raiders have not yielded points.
Lindsey Wilson needed just four plays and 96 seconds to cover 86 yards to take a 7-3 lead. Cameron Dukes’ quarterback keeper from six yards out capped the quick and impressive drive.
After the Lindsey Wilson defense surrendered four first downs in Bethel’s opening drive, the Blue Raiders became stingy on defense, continually handing the ball back to its offense. That is when they weren’t scoring themselves.
The Blue Raider defense forced consecutive three-and-outs — the last ending with a strip fumble recovery on the Bethel nine-yard line. The takeaway was one of a season-high five on the night for the Lindsey Wilson defense.
Dukes hit Jaleel Warren in the back of the endzone on the first play of the drive to extend the lead to 14-3. Dukes ended the game with 153 yards passing with two touchdowns while running for another 57 yards and two more scores. Warren — who caught his first touchdown pass of the season — was one of 10 receivers with at least one catch in the game.
After a third straight Bethel three-and-out, the Lindsey Wilson offense used a seven-play, 64-yard drive to push its advantage to 21-3. Jaylen Boyd concluded the drive with a three-yard plunge into the endzone for his third rushing touchdown of the season.
Boyd finished the game with 115 rushing yards on just nine carries. It is his fifth career 100-yard rushing game.
Boyd’s night was made easy by the Lindsey Wilson offense line that consistently won the line of scrimmage. Bethel entered the game averaging over nine tackles for a loss and three sacks per contest. The LWC offensive line surrendered just one sack and five tackles behind the line of scrimmage during the game.
Four minutes after the Boyd score, Dukes connected with Jay Gaudlock on a 25-yard touchdown for a 28-3 lead. Gaudlock finished with a team-high three catches for 52 yards and the score.
While the offensive line was having a terrific night, the Lindsey Wilson defensive line continued to wreak havoc throughout the first half. The Blue Raider defense finished the game with a season-high 15 tackles for a loss and a couple of sacks.
With Bethel trying to gain some momentum heading into halftime, Luke Bowman forced a fumble, scooping and scoring to push the Blue Raider lead to 34-3. The score is Bowman’s second in as many games.
Any hopes for a Bethel comeback were dashed with Lindsey Wilson’s opening drive of the second half. The Blue Raiders methodically marched 61 yards on 12 plays, capped by a Dukes keeper to extend the lead to 41-3.
Stevie Miller joined Bowman with a defensive score on the subsequent Bethel drive, intercepting Blake Meadors and returning 34 yards for a 48-3 lead. Miller ended with six tackles — tying Demani Jenkins for team-high honors — and his first pick of the season.
Jared Dougherty added a 26-yard field goal — to improve to 6-for-6 this season — and Payton Veraldi added a quarterback keeper to finish the scoring in the 58-3 win.
Veraldi orchestrated the longest drive of the season for the Blue Raiders in that final scoring drive in both plays and time. Lindsey Wilson covered 78 plays over 19 plays in 7:34. Lindsey Wilson’s previous highs this season were 12 plays and 5:09.
The Blue Raiders assume sole possession of first place in the Bluegrass Division with the win.
Lindsey Wilson returns to action at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 12, as Cumberland (Tenn.) visits Blue Raider Stadium in a Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division tilt.