ROLLA, Mo. – With the all-time leader in total yardage in the history of Missouri S&T's football program in attendance, the player who sits second on that list put on quite a show at Allgood-Bailey Stadium Saturday night as the Miners defeated Lincoln 45-7 on Miner Hall of Fame Night.
Braxton Graham (Seneca, MO/Seneca) accumulated 256 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns in the victory and increased his all-time yardage total to 4,976, a mark that only trails the 5,992 racked up by Ashton Gronewold, who was part of the induction class to the Hall of Fame that was honored at Saturday's game.
Graham caught two touchdown passes from Tyler Swart (Dickinson, TX/Dickinson) covering 15 and 57 yards and in between those two scoring catches, made a spectacular catch that preceded Swart's go-ahead touchdown run early in the second quarter and followed that a short time later with a dazzling 76-yard punt return for a score.
The first of the two touchdown catches came on the Miners' opening drive of the game, but the Blue Tigers (3-6, 2-4 Great Lakes Valley Conference) knotted the score when Henry Ogala connected with Blake Tibbs on a 40-yard scoring pass near the end of the first quarter.
But on the first play of the second quarter, Graham went high in the air to make a leaping catch while surrounded by three Lincoln defenders for a 51-yard reception to the Blue Tigers' nine-yard line. One snap later, Swart put S&T (7-2, 4-1 GLVC) up for good when he ran into the end zone on a quarterback keeper.
The Miners forced the Blue Tigers to punt on their next possession and Graham took the punt at his own 24 and weaved his way through the Lincoln coverage team until he got free past midfield and took it the rest of the way to extend the S&T lead to 21-7.
From there, the Miner defense took over matters as it held Lincoln to 113 yards for the balance of the contest. S&T also recorded a season-high seven sacks – two by Ben Straatmann (Washington, MO/Washington) -- and forced two Blue Tiger turnovers along the way.
Ben Styron (Harrisonville, MO/Harrisonville) kicked a 22-yard field goal midway through the second quarter for the Miners' final points of the opening half, then S&T tacked on three more touchdowns after the intermission. Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) scored on an eight-yard run, followed by Graham's 57-yard touchdown reception and a 27-touchdown run by Aaron Moya(Canutillo, TX/Canutillo).
The Miners finished the night with 433 yards of total offense to 202 for Lincoln, as Swart completed 14-of-28 passes for 285 yards – 173 of which went to Graham on his six catches. Jones ran for 68 yards as S&T ended the night with 148 yards on the ground.
Bo Brooks (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) and Landon Compton (Lamar, MO/Lamar) had 10 tackles apiece on the other side of the ball, with Brooks recording one of the seven sacks among his three tackles for a loss. Joseph Boettcher and Justin Onwugbufor (Maize, KS/Northwest) had seven stops each.
Missouri S&T will hit the road for the final time during the 2018 regular season next week, as it will face McKendree (5-4, 3-2 GLVC) in a 1 p.m. contest in Lebanon, Ill. The Bearcats bumped off William Jewell 47-31 Saturday afternoon.