In what has to be the biggest upset of the D1A playoffs, Lindenwood defeated Saint Mary's 43-22 at Saint Mary's to move on to the D1A semifinals.
Given how good Lindenwood looked last week against Texas A&M, and given the injuries Saint Mary's had been hit with, perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise.
But Lindenwood game Saint Mary's very little space, and challenged the Gaels' defense at every turn. With Saint Mary's piecing together a center pairing after both regular starters were injured last week, Lindenwood had an opportunity to test that midfield, and the Lions did so.
Saint Mary's got into penalty trouble relatively early, and Nick Feakes put Lindenwood ahead three minutes in with a penalty goal. The Gaels replied through Sean Yacoubian. But the scrumhalf missed another very makeable kick.
Both teams found themselves in attacking position but came away with nothing. Finally, midway through the first half, Lindenwood put flanker Thomas O'Connor over after several bashes at the line following a lineout. Feakes converted and Lindenwood led 10-3.
Saint Mary's had a charge down the sideline, but the Lions covered on the grubber ahead. Right after, Lindenwood was back on the attack, and Deion Mikesell raced in to make it, with the Feakes conversion, 17-3 Lindenwood.
A little shocked, Saint Mary's pressured the Lindenwood line, but again failed to score. That try finally came, however, when the Gaels spun it wide and Tommy Wallace was in at the corner. Just before halftime, the Gaels did it again, getting stymied in a maul but shoving Yacoubian over. The scrumhalf converted the difficult kick to produce a 17-15 halftime lead for Lindenwood.
But any hopes for Gaels fans were dispelled thanks to a serious case of the drops from Saint Mary's - very uncharacteristic - and some superb power running from Lindenwood that put Mikesell, center Juan Romero, and then Mikesell again.
Feakes converted all three for a 38-15 lead. Yacoubian got some points back one a quick tap that caught Lindenwood napping, but Lindenwood came right back to score and make it 43-22. Lindenwood was just more clinical, strangled the Saint Mary's offensive efforts, and capitalized on Gaels mistakes.
Tries: Mikesell 3, Romero, O'Connor, Parker
Convs: Feakes 5
Saint Mary's 22
Tries: Yacoubian 2, Wallace
Convs: Yacoubian 2