Saturday’s second Missouri Classic between Lincoln University and Langston University featured 925 yards of offense and 14 touchdowns.
So naturally, the outcome hinged on one moment of brilliance on special teams.
Langton’s Evan Scott got his mitts on the potential game-tying extra point in the final minute of the game, preserving the Lions’ 49-48 victory over Lincoln at Arrowhead Stadium.
It was a stunning end to a shootout that seemed prime to continue in overtime.
Scott had been trying to knock down an extra point all afternoon before he got one when it mattered most.
“Chace Green came up behind me and told me to jump again. They’ve been kicking low all game. It wasn’t nobody but God,” Scott said.
Langston coach Dwone Sanders got a beautiful view of it on the Lions’ sideline.
“We designed it to come up the middle, we always pull the right guard. He came through. Hands up high and reach the sky, we always say, and the guy was great for us and he blocked it,” Sanders said.
Langston, 1-0, trailed by 21 points midway through the second quarter, and gave up 343 yards and 42 points in the first half.
The Lions responded by allowing just 114 yards and one touchdown in the final two quarters — and the lone score came on an 18-yard drive following a muffed punt and a penalty by the Lions.
Langston quarterback Mark Wright threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 98 yards and another score. The Lions’ Kievon Jackson ran nine times for 89 yards and a touchdown, and Sheldon Augustine caught five passes for 128 yards and two scores.
All played huge roles in Langston’s second-half comeback.
“We’re built for that. We’ve been working for that all year,” Scott said.
Lincoln, 0-1, didn’t do itself any favors in the second half. The Blue Tigers had a handful of personal-foul penalties, including one on head coach and former St. Louis Rams linebacker Mike Jones.
“We got emotional. I allowed emotions to get the best of me, and my players got emotional. I got a penalty, and the players lost their composure. This is totally on me. The players played their hearts out, and I need to be a better coach and stay composed,” Jones said.
The Blue Tigers couldn’t sustain a drive in the second half, but they did capitalize late when they needed to.
Jacob Morris threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Morris Henderson ran for 78 yards and two scores, including the touchdown that pulled Lincoln within a point.
“Special teams can win football games. We’ve just got to be excellent in every aspect of the game,” Henderson said. “We’ve got to keep fighting.”
Lincoln will head back to Jefferson City, Mo., wondering how this one got away. Langston will head back to Oklahoma with a great jumpstart to the season.
“You will hear me keep saying this. At Langston we trust the process,” Sanders said. “Discipline is everything. We didn’t get things going early. We had to settle ourselves down and get focused. (The win) is COLOSSAL. Where else better to do it than Arrowhead, baby?”