BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A strong second half performance by Lindenwood saw the Lions find a way to slow down Indiana’s potent attack, and punch a ticket to their third D1A Semifinal in as many seasons following its 36-28 victory.
The opening half of the D1A Quarterfinal match hosted by the Big Ten Universities Champions didn’t lack any fireworks. Lindenwood scored twice through flanker Brandon Chalker and another via Morgan Findlay. However, the Hooisers had no problems counterpunching, and went into the break leading 21-19 thanks to tries from Jake Hidalgo, Alex Dorrier, Connor Marsh and a trio of conversions by Teddy Terezis.
“It was a battle from the start,” described Lindenwood coach James Harrison. “Both teams came out with a lot of energy. One team would score and the other would answer right back.”
The visitors would own the opening exchanges of the second half, sending Chalker over for his second converted try, and adding a Lunaile Tshuma penalty. The Lions were able to pressure Indiana’s defense during periods of the second forty minutes, but it was a couple of defensive adjustments by Lindenwood that made the difference, and helped hold the BTU champs to just seven second half points.
“In the second half we focused on our defensive shape and line speed rather than contesting,” Harrison said. “The Indiana ball carriers are tough to stop, especially at full pace. We had to really emphasize meeting them before the gainline.”
Reserves Ashley Harrop and Casey Smith would get on the stat sheet with converted tries for Lindenwood and Indiana, respectively, but the Lions bite was too much.
The win sets up Mid-South versus Mid-South Semifinal, as Life beat Davenport to advance in the D1A Playoffs. Lions were bounced from last year’s Playoffs by the Running Eagles in the Semifinals, falling 43-14.