Williamsburg, KY – It was the kind of day that young football players dream of on Saturday in Williamsburg. The eighth-ranked Patriots and seventh-ranked Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders both entered the day 9-0 and 6-0 in conference play. The winner wins the MSC Bluegrass Division Title and is likely a host for the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series. The other will go on the road for the opening round. Unfortunately, the Patriots would end up on the losing side of the game, falling to the Blue Raiders 24-21.
The Patriots honored their 13 seniors before the opening kickoff, which they received and returned 13 yards to the 22 yard line by Devonte Miles. On a mix of rushing and passing, UC would end up finding the scoreboard first to take the lead on a season-long 60 yard TD run from Josiah Robbins. The extra point from Devon McMillin was good, giving UC a 7-0 lead. The Patriots would hold LWC to a three-and-out on their opening series, but a muffed punt recovered by the Blue Raiders would give them an extra chance to tie the game, which they would on a five-yard strike from Cameron Dukes to Joshua Lewis on the slant. The PAT was good, tying the game up a 7-7.
On a 12 play drive that began in the first quarter and finished on the first play of the second, the Patriots milked seven minutes off the clock as Robbins would find Darius Young on a six-yard TD pass as UC would retake the lead 14-7. Lindsey would respond on their next drive as they would put together their own 12 play drive that ended with a four-yard QB keeper by Dukes as he hit the endzone to tie the game up at 14-14 with 10 minutes to play in the half.
Robbins would have his offense driving once again, but this time as he was looking for Brandon Stuckey as he split the coverage, James Todd would step in front for the interception, taking it back 36 yards all the way into Patriot territory. The Blue Raiders would be stalled immediately, being forced for face a third and 24 back on their own 46-yard line. Busted coverage though would see Terrill Cole Jr. coast down the sideline and catch the 54-yard pass to take the 21-14 lead entering halftime.
A quiet third quarter with no scoring would lead to fireworks in the fourth. With half the quarter gone, the Blue Raiders would get short field after a shanked punt from the Patriots. Only able to pick up one first down on the drive, Lindsey would settle with a 32-yard field goal from kicker Jared Dougherty to extend their lead to two scores at 24-14 with five minutes left in the game. The Patriots would not give up as Robbins would complete 5-7 passes on the next drive including a 27-yard scorcher to Stuckey for the touchdown. The extra point was good, making it 24-21.
Lindsey's opportunity to put the game away would falter as UC regained possession with two minutes to play near midfield. Young would catch back-to-back passes for seven and 25 yards for a first down. After picking up seven on a Weston Hayes catch on first down, the Patriots were faced with a fourth down on the 22 yard line. With no timeouts, UC's field goal team would hit the field, but with time running out on the play clock, the snap was fumbled. As Robbins would pick up the ball and attempt to get the first down, he would be stopped short, giving the Blue Raiders the victory.
Robbins had an impressive game on the day, going 20-27 through the air for 228 yards and two scored with the one interception. He added 88 yards on 14 carries with a score. Young had 10 snags for 72 yards with a score. Stuckey added three grabs for 57 yards and a TD. Overall, UC's offense outgained the Blue Raiders 411-299 on the day. UC went 4 of 10 on third downs in the contest while LWC went 10 of 18 on the day in the same category.
Defensively, the Patriots were led by a pair of seniors. Adam Johnson had 13 tackles (five solo) with two tackles for loss and two sacks. Tyler Pendleton also had 13 tackles (seven solo) with 1.5 tackles for loss, a half sack, and a forced fumble. The defensive unit tallied nine tackles for loss, five sacks, a forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and four pass breakups.
The Patriots will now await to find out where and who they will play in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series. The Selection Show will be held on Sunday, November 17th at 7 pm eastern time on Facebook Live.