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National Champions! LWC Football wins 45-13 over Northwestern

By Brady Budke

Grambling, LA - For the first time in program history, the Lindsey Wilson football team will be bringing home the big red banner to Columbia, Kentucky. In a season with so much uncertainty, the Blue Raiders capped off a perfect 11-0 season with a 45-13 win over Northwestern (IA) in the NAIA FCS National Championship Game.

It was a tremendous individual performance for quarterback Cameron Dukes, who was eventually crowned the Offensive Player of the Game. Dukes went 18-of-24 through the air for 157 yards while producing three rushing touchdowns on the ground. Overall, Lindsey Wilson outgained Northwestern on offense in yards at 347-to-231.

On the other side of the field, Michael Leslie claimed the Defensive Player of the Game honor. Leslie corralled nine total tackles while earning half of a sack and half a tackle for loss. As a team, the Blue Raiders defense forced five punts, turned over Northwestern three times on downs, and held the Red Raiders to a season-low in yards (231) and points (13).


Northwestern claimed the ball in the opening possession, pulling together a seven play drive which resulted in a punt. Lindsey Wilson took full advantage by driving the ball right down the field with a 13 play, 75 yard drive that lasted 5:38 which concluded in a Dukes one yard touchdown rush.

After the touchdown, both squads added a punt each on offense before Northwestern was hit with a crucial mistake early in the second quarter. On the Red Raiders third possession and deep in their own territory, a bad punt gave Lindsey Wilson the ball on the NC 18 yard line. However, despite the great field position, the Blue Raiders were forced to eventually settle for a 33 yard field goal from Ian Sauter.

After forcing a fourth straight Northwestern punt, Lindsey Wilson jumped even further ahead on the scoreboard. On a big third down, Noel Patterson claimed a wide receiver pitch and reversed field where he sped his way past the defense for a 41 yard touchdown.

Not to be denied, the Red Raiders pulled together a staggering 17 play, 75 yard drive which was capped off by a passing touchdown on fourth down on the goal line with just seconds remaining in the first half.

Lindsey Wilson received the kickoff out of the halftime locker room, and quickly made a return statement. An eight play, 61 yard drive that chipped 3:34 off the clock was completed with Dukes punching in his second rushing touchdown of the game from two yards out to give the Blue Raiders a 24-7 lead.

After the touchdown, the Lindsey Wilson defense stepped up big by forcing Northwestern to turn the ball over on downs at its own 47 yard line. This proved to be a large mistake for the Red Raiders, as a 46 yard rush from Darius Clark opened the opportunity for Kobe Belcher to roll in a one yard rushing touchdown.

Despite trailing by 24 points, Northwestern held firm by pushing out a scoring drive of its own that resulted in six points after a missed two-point conversion attempt.

However, for the third time on the night, it was Dukes who called his own number for a rushing touchdown, this one from three yards out. The mighty drive lasted 14 plays, went 45 yards, and cut 7:45 off the game clock.

Another turnover on downs for Northwestern flipped the possession back in favor of the Blue Raiders, who executed the final scoring drive of the game. This time, it was Cameron Evans who entered the game and carried it six yards for a touchdown.

Earlier on Monday, head coach Chris Oliver was named the AFCA-NAIA National Coach of the Year. Oliver, who became the program's first ever head coach back in 2010, improves his overall record to 93-33 alongside winning his first national championship.


This story was posted on 2021-05-11 06:55:02
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LWC Football caravan makes it to Columbia



2021-05-11 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener.
The National Champion Blue Raiders Football team caravan passing through downtown Columbia on the way to Blue Raider Stadium for the victory celebration today.

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Official championship hardware



2021-05-11 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College.
Kicker/punter Ian Sauter carries the official championship hardware off the bus during the homecoming celebration at Blue Raider Stadium Tuesday morning. The Blue Raiders capped off a perfect 11-0 season with a 45-13 win over Northwestern (IA) in the NAIA FCS National Championship Game.

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LWC football head coach Chris Oliver



2021-05-11 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College.
Lindsey Wilson College football head coach Chris Oliver, middle, is congratulated by LWC women's basketball head coach John Wethington, right, and LWC Assistant Dean of Students Abe Cross. The football coach and his team traveled through the night from Grambling, LA, to arrive Tuesday morning to a homecoming celebration at Blue Raider Stadium. The Lindsey Wilson football program won its first-ever, NAIA football national championship on Monday evening. Oliver, who became the program's first-ever head coach back in 2010, was named AFCA-NAIA National Coach of the Year.


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Quarterback Cameron Dukes



2021-05-11 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College.
Quarterback Cameron Dukes departs from the bus with his team and the LWC coaching staff to be welcomed by the LWC community on Tuesday morning. Dukes, who was crowned the Offensive Player of the Game, went 18-of-24 through the air for 157 yards while producing three rushing touchdowns on the ground. The Lindsey Wilson football program won its first-ever, NAIA football national championship on Monday evening capping off an uncertain season and making program history.

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Fans greet the returning champions



2021-05-11 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College.
A large group of supporters and fans of the LWC football program gathers at Blue Raider Stadium on Tuesday morning to welcome home the Lindsey Wilson football team and coaching staff. In only its eleventh season, the Lindsey Wilson football program won its first-ever, NAIA football national championship on Monday evening capping off an uncertain season and making program history.

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Buses arrive at Blue Raider Stadium



2021-05-11 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College.
The buses roll into Blue Raider Stadium carrying the 2020 NAIA football national champs. The championship program received an official police escort into Columbia. The Blue Raiders capped off a perfect 11-0 season with a 45-13 win over Northwestern (Iowa) in the NAIA FCS National Championship Game.

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Hang that banner: LWC Football wins National Championship



2021-05-11 - Grambling, LA - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College.
Hang that banner. The grand prize for the evening is the NAIA national championship red banner dubbed "Big Red". Lindsey Wilson football's win on Monday evening is the 15th national title for Lindsey Wilson College athletics -- making the program the most successful college sports program in Kentucky. The banner will be hung in Biggers Sports Center among the red banners won by the men's and women's soccer programs, and the volleyball and cycling programs.

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