MONTICELLO — Arkansas-Monticello withstood a second half turnaround by Lindenwood University-Belleville as the Boll Weevils defeated the Lynx 41-27 on Saturday at Convoy Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium.
After UAM (4-3, 3-3 Great American Conference) took a 34-point lead in the third quarter, Lindenwood (3-5) scored 20 unanswered points to get the game within two touchdowns.
“What I think it comes down to is understanding how to finish the game,” UAM head coach Hud Jackson said. “We started playing some younger guys at that time to get the experience and we just had some plays that they made on both sides of the ball.
“It is just one of those things, where you have to learn how to finish.”
LU-Belleville began its run late in the third quarter when Kameron Harris scored on a 25-yard touchdown run. It cut UAM’s lead to 41-14 with 3:47 left in the third.
Harris finished the game with 20 carries for 180 yards with two touchdowns. His first score was a 78-yard run in the first quarter that gave the Lynx a 7-3 lead with 3:35 left in the period.
“(Lindenwood) played hard the entire football game,” Jackson said. “We just have to learn how to finish.
“Our seniors have to step up and get the younger guys to understand that it’s four quarters and you better step up and play or you let the other team in the game.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Lindenwood’s Colin Sheehan intercepted a pass by Brett Courville and returned it five yards for a touchdown. It trimmed UAM’s lead to 41-21 with 10:04 left in the game.
“Brett was put in a tough situation and they had a lot of pressure on him when he made the play,” Jackson said.
It was Courville’s only pass attempt in the game.
Lindenwood scored again on another big play with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter. Anthony Dorsey completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Harvey Binford and LB got within 14 points.
Senior Jamal Nixon hauled in three touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Weevils a 34-7 lead by halftime. He finished the game with nine catches for 120 yards.
“They just left me uncovered and I tried to take advantage of the opportunities and make the plays,” Nixon said.
At the start of the second quarter, Nixon hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Cody Trimble to give the Weevils a 10-7 lead. Nixon said Trimble’s demeanor proved invaluable for the offense.
“He came in calm,” Nixon said. “That relaxed the offense. When you see your quarterback back there calm, it just relaxes the whole offense.
“It allows everybody to go out there and do their job correctly.”
Nixon’s second touchdown was a 40-yard catch and run that gave the Weevils a 20-7 lead with 9:07 left in the second quarter. He also hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass.
“He is a big and physical wide receiver,” Jackson said. “When he gets the ball in his hands, he does some really good things.”
Jackson said Nixon rolled his ankle late in the game but said he should be fine by next week because Nixon is no stranger to playing through pain.
“He had a root canal on Thursday on his front tooth,” Jackson said. “The guy was in pain and still playing.
“… I think he might of gotten bit by a spider today too. But that’s just him doing what he normally does.”
UAM had nine different receivers with catches and Jackson said that is the key to this offense being successful.
“When we are productive and winning games, we have a lot of guys involved,” Jackson said. “I was very pleased with the wide receiver core. I think it did a good job.”
Skyler Scott had five catches for 57 yards and Cody Bordelon had 53 yards on five catches. Austin Morgan hauled in two passes, including a 3-yard pass from Trimble for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Trimble came into the game about midway through the first quarter. He finished the game 26-of-39 for 290 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
“In the first game, it was a little nerve-racking,” Trimble said of his confidence’s progression through the season. “After that, I feel like I’ve understood the offense a little bit better and I haven’t let the emotions get to me.
“I feel like I’ve been pretty relaxed every since then.”
Jackson said he was proud of Trimble but said he was still unsure if Trimble would start in the weeks to come.
“He is a smart kid and makes good decisions,” Jackson said. “I am very happy for him and the game that he had.
“He is going to do what is asked of him and put the ball in the hands of guys that can make plays. I am very proud of him.”
Once again, sophomore transfer Colton Morrison started the game but finished the game 5-of-12 with just 13 yards. Jackson said Morrison did not have a full week of practice due to an injury to his thumb.
Dumas native Rod Smith had 21 carries for 86 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. He also hauled in three catches for 22 yards.
UAM remains undefeated at home as they have now won four straight games in Monticello. They will wrap up their home schedule in the next two weeks.
One kick away
UAM freshman kicker Jamie McGee is now just one field goal away from tying Kevin Craft’s school record 15 field goals made during the 1999 season. McGee made two field goals in the win over Lindenwood-Belleville including a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 42-yard field goal in the second.
McGee had an opportunity to tie the record in the third quarter but he missed the 32-yard attempt.