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Lindenwood captain Nick Markowski

Lindenwood ended its fall campaign with a 55-14 defeat of Penn State Saturday in State College, Pa. The Lions led 26-7 going into the break and added 29 second-half points for the win.

For Lindenwood, the game was a much needed morale boost after a disappointing 7-3 loss to Davenport a couple of weeks back. The Lions played that game with a heavy heart after the death of a teammate, and Saturday’s win offered a small slice of reprieve.

“I think today the boys just came out and bonded together and made the right decisions on the field and were pretty clinical in a lot of the stuff they’d done,” said Lindenwood coach JD Stephenson.

“Penn State were great. Their lineout was great, set piece were great, and they’re definitely a dangerous team. I just think we kind of turned up and last game of the season, nothing to lose and just busted it all out.”

Penn State got on the board first, as shot at goal was missed by Lindenwood, and the Nittany Lions reversed field for a counter-attack try by Mike Eife. Converted, Penn State led 7-0.

Lindenwood struck back immediately with a Nick Markowski try off a lineout move. With the points after being secured, the Lions tied the game at 7-7. That score sparked a run of 36 unanswered points. A score off a Penn State turnover in the 20th minute, along with a breakaway try by lock Danny White in the 36th minute and a Nick Feakes try after another PSU turnover saw the Lions up 26-7 going into the break.

Jeremy Leber opened scoring in the second half with a try for Lindenwood. Penn State then got its second try in the 60th minute when Tommy Bashara took an offload to pay dirt. Lindenwood reserve Austin Tijerina scored back-to-back tries, spaced five minutes apart, to put the game out of reach. In the 79th minute, Jack Huckstepp crossed over to close out the scoring.

The game was captain and scrumhalf Nick Markowski’s last in a Lindenwood uniform. A part of the program’s first recruiting class, Markowski has helped move the Lions from DII national champion to one of the top teams in any division.

“He’s just a great leader on and off the field, and he’s going to be sorely missed moving forward,” said Stephenson. “We hope that the younger guys kind of take from his lead and really step up and fill that void.”