Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lincoln Blue Tigers Kick Off 2016 With Battle of the LUs

Complete Game Notes

Game 1:
 Langston (7-3 in 2015) at Lincoln (1-10 in 2015)
Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 3 - 2:00 p.m.
Location: Jefferson City, Mo.
Stadium (Capacity): Dwight T. Reed Stadium (5,500)
Tickets: All Kids – Free | Adults - $10 | Non-LU Students/LU Faculty & Staff - $5 | LU Students (With ID) - Free
Streaming -
Radio - KJLU 88.9 FM - Jefferson City, Mo.
Audiocast -
Live Stats -
Special Events - Take a Kid to the Game & True Blue Game
Series - Langston leads, 39-21-2

For the first time since 2012, the Lincoln football team will open a season at home on Saturday (Sept. 3) as the Blue Tigers host Langston at 2:00 p.m. CDT. The contest is Take a Kid to the Game Day, with all kids receiving free admission, and the True Blue Game, with Lincoln fans invited to deck out in all blue as they cheer the Blue Tigers.

This is the third-straight year in which Lincoln and Langston have opened the season against one another, and the teams have split the previous two match-ups. Langston won in 2014, 49-48, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Lincoln then returned the favor last year, beating the Lions, 35-32, in Langston, Okla.

Prior to Saturday's game, the Blue Tiger Athletics Club will host a free tailgate party in the parking lot next to Dwight T. Reed Stadium. The tailgate will be hosted by Central Bank and is free to all Blue Tiger fans.

- Lincoln renews its longest rivalry in program history on Saturday when the Blue Tigers host Langston. It will be the 63rd time since 1924 that the Blue Tigers and the Lions have played, with Langston holding a 39-21-2 advantage in the all-time series. Lincoln won the last meeting, 35-32, on the road last season.

- This is the first time that Lincoln will open a season at home since 2012, when the Blue Tigers began the year with a league contest against Lindenwood at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. It will be Lincoln's first home-opener vs. a non-conference team since 2011, when LU began the Mike Jones era with a win over Avila.

- A win for Lincoln would mark the first time that the Blue Tigers have won their season opener in back-to-back years since 1979 and 1980. It would also give Lincoln its first consecutive wins in consecutive seasons against an opponent since defeating Haskell in 2007 and 2008.

- 2016 marks the fourth-straight season that Lincoln will play at least one other HBCU. The Blue Tigers have played Langston in each of the past two seasons and beat Grambling State in the Missouri Classic in 2013. Lincoln has at least one win over a rival HBCU in each of the past three seasons.

- Langston is one of three HBCU opponents on Lincoln's 2016 schedule, joining Lincoln (PA) and Lane College.

- The Blue Tigers enter Saturday with an all-time record of 250-434-24.

- Head coach Mike Jones is in his sixth season at Lincoln. He is 8-47 both overall and at LU. Jones is the 21st head coach in the history of Blue Tiger football.

- Lincoln is in its third season as a member of the GLVC. LU was in the MIAA for 23 years, including three-straight from 2011-13, for football before making the switch in 2014. The GLVC is the fifth different conference in which the Blue Tigers have been a member, joining the Midwest Athletic Association, the Great Lakes Football Conference, the Central States Football League and the MIAA.

- This is the 86th season of Lincoln football. The Blue Tigers first fielded a team in 1920 and played every year until 1943, when Lincoln took a year off due to World War II. LU then played each season from 1944-1989. The football program was disbanded at that point, but was brought back in 2000.

OFFENSE - Lincoln returns a pair of All-GLVC receivers, including Bryson Winfrey, who was an all-league second team honoree as an offensive utility player and an honorable mention at wide receiver. Winfrey led LU with 60 receptions and also threw three touchdown passes. Darius Hicks is also back after gaining 559 yards and catching three touchdown passes. Also back for the LU receiving corps is Delvon Rouser, who finished seventh in the GLVC with 4.8 receptions per game. Leading the passing attack isDennis Vinson, who completed 62.5-percent of his passes a season ago. The Lincoln offense boasts one more all-conference performer in Miles Drummond, who led the Blue Tigers with four rushing touchdowns in 2015. Also carrying the load this season is Will Randolph, who started his collegiate career at Texas A&M and is expected to be LU's starter on Saturday.

DEFENSE - Leading the Blue Tiger defense this year is Marvin Holley, an All-GLVC honorable mention at safety who finished fifth on the team with 63 tackles in 2015. Holley also had a pair of interceptions and broke up a pass. LU has one other returning starter, Julius Jackson, a defensive end who made 40 tackles last year, including 3.5 for loss and a sack. Six of Lincoln's other projected defensive starters are returners, including Jervonta Jones, who made 4.5 tackles for loss in 2015. Lawrence Hogue, who played in nine contests and broke up two passes while recovering a fumble in 2014, is back after missing the 2015 campaign. Addison Tucker, a two-year key member of the linebacker rotation, is also back for his junior season.

SPECIAL TEAMS - Darius Hicks, who averaged 16.5 yards on kickoff returns last season, returns to handle both kick and punt returns in 2016. Dennis Jackson, who gained 147 yards on seven returns last year, will also handle kick return duties. Alex Templeton is expected to handle both punting and kicking duties while C.J. Closser is the holder and starting center Alec Wallingsford will serve as the long snapper.

Langston's passing attack is directed by Mark Wright, who last season threw for 1,517 yards and 12 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The Lions' top-returning wideout is their running back, Kievon Jackson, who grabbed 10 passes for 172 yards and a score. As a rusher, Jackson led Langston with seven touchdowns while gaining 365 yards last season. Wright also added four rushing scores while his back-up, Norbert Ralph, threw nine touchdown passes and rushed for four scores in nine contests.

The defense will be bolstered by the return of three of Langston's top-five tacklers from a year ago, led by Evan Scott, who made 65 total takedowns. That includes 3.5 for loss and three sacks as well as a pair of intereceptions and a fumble recovery. Ray Douglas returns after making 59 tackles in 2015 as well as two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Douglas also made four tackles for loss. The other key returner is De'Amonte Miles, who had 53 total tackles last season.

Langston's biggest loss was Sheldon Augustine, who was a playmaker as a receiver and a kick returner and is now pursuing a professional career. That will leave openings in the special teams for returners. Both the punting and the kicking duties will be handled by newcomer Michael Ryan-Calderon. The long snapper is Malik Argue, who also plays on the Lions' defensive line. 


Mike Jones 
is in his sixth season with the Blue Tigers. Jones has led LU through transitions into the MIAA in 2011 and the GLVC in 2014. A 1991 graduate of Missouri, Jones spent 12 seasons as a professional football player and is well known in Missouri for making "The Tackle" that stopped the Tennessee Titan's Kevin Dyson on the one-yard line to preserve the St. Louis Rams' victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. Before coming to Lincoln, Jones was was also the head coach at Hazelwood East High in St. Louis, leading the team to a state title in 2008.

Quinton Morgan was named the head coach of the Lions on Dec. 2 following nine seasons of serving on Langston's staff. Morgan played running back, wide receiver and defensive back for the Lions from 2004-2005 and most recently was the defensive backs coach at Langston. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Morgan played four years of professional football in two arena leagues.  

ALL-LEAGUE:  The Blue Tigers bring back four players who earned All-GLVC recognition last year, including Bryson Winfrey, who was a second team honoree as a utility player and an honorable mention at wide receiver. Darius Hicks also was an all-league honorable mention at receiver while Miles Drummond and Marvin Holley earned All-GLVC honorable mention distinction at running back and safety, respectively.

BROKEN RECORDS:  Lincoln's passing attack in 2015 was the best in program history, with the Blue Tigers breaking single-season records for both completions (242) and passing yards (2,832). LU's passing game has the potential to be even better in 2016, as Lincoln returns four of its top five receivers from a year ago, including two who earned All-GLVC recognition. Lincoln also brings back Dennis Vinson, who appeared in six games and completed 62.5-percent of his passes last year. 

THE FOURTH AWAKENS:  No defense in the GLVC was better on fourth down than Lincoln was in 2015. The Blue Tigers allowed opponents to convert on just six of 21 fourth-down attempts, the ninth-best defensive rate in NCAA Division II. LU also blocked a GLVC-high seven kicks, finishing 12th in DII in that statistic.

With 31 receptions this year, Bryson Winfrey will become Lincoln's all-time career record. Winfrey enters 2016 with 113 career catches, with the Lincoln record standing at 143 by Maurice Woodard from 2010-13. In 2015, Winfrey led the Blue Tigers with 60 receptions. 

For the second-straight season, Lincoln will have six games at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. The Blue Tigers will get to enjoy Missouri cooking for most of the season, though, as only two of LU's 11 contests in 2016 are outside of the Show Me State. The Blue Tigers play at Lincoln (PA) next week, and travel to Indiana to play Indianapolis in October. Lincoln's remaining three road games are against Missouri opponents.

Lincoln's first road game of the season will also be its longest, as the Blue Tigers travel to Pennsylvania to play the other Lincoln University next Saturday (Sept. 10) at 12:00 p.m. CDT.

Dan Carr, Assistant AD for Media Relations

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