College Football: St. Francis handles Lindenwood 41-28
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media September 14, 2013 9:36PM
St. Francis' Mike Passo (42) and Derrick Caldwell (3) try to bring down a Lindenwood runner on Saturday. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:55AM
The University of St. Francis defense stole the spotlight during its meeting with Lindenwood University on Saturday afternoon in Belleville.
The result was a lopsided 41-28 victory that gives the Saints a 2-0 start to the season for the first time in five years.
USF forced five turnovers that led to 21 points and led 34-0 before Lindenwood rallied.
“We don’t do anything easy, but we’re 2-0,” St. Francis coach Joe Curry said. “It’s a tale of two weeks and we’re still a young team. Last week, when the game was on the line, the kids responded great (a 43-26 win at Olivet Nazarene). Today, we didn’t.”
The Saints scored the first three times they touched the ball.
After Quest Young ran three yards for a score to cap a 14-play drive, Lindenwood turned it over on its first two possessions. Mike Passo recovered a fumble and ran 10 yards for a score to give the visitors a 13-0 lead with 9:10 left in the first quartet.
Derrick Caldwell’s interception set up a 4-yard touchdown pass from E.J. White to Dustin Greenwell, pushing the lead to 20-0 after one quarter.
A 35-yard pass play from White to Sheldon Magee (6 catches, 97 yards) with 7:44 to play in the second quarter gave the Saints a commanding 27-0 lead at the half.
Meanwhile, the Saints’ defense allowed 49 yards and just four first downs and forced three turnovers, turning two of them into touchdowns, in the first half.
“Our first quarter was awesome,” Curry said. “We played well offensively and defensively. I thought we played a good half of football. The second half, we played into their hands a little bit and didn’t handle adversity very well.”
Magee’s second touchdown, from 14 yards out, gave the Saints a 34-0 lead.
Lindenwood finally got on the scoreboard when Trey Parker intercepted a pass and returned it 41 yards for a score with 7:07 left in the third quarter.
The score seemed to spark the Lynx. After a defensive stand, quarterback Kerry Gibson’s draw resulted in a 4-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 34-14 with 23 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Eight different players carried the ball for the Saints, who finished with 234 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Malik Norman had 82 yards on 16 carries and a 3-yard touchdown run to finish the scoring.
White became the school’s career rushing leader on a 36-yard run midway through the third quarter. The fifth-year senior has 2,443 career rushing yards. White also completed 27-of-38 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions.
USF will try to make it three straight road wins to start the season when it plays Saturday at Trinity International in Deerfield.