Springfield, Mo. – After a back-and-forth first half, Evangel shut out Peru State in the second half to pull away to a 38-23 win on Homecoming Saturday afternoon at JFK Stadium.
Evangel and Peru State traded the lead six times in the first half. A Drew O’Cain 40 yard field goal gave the Crusaders the lead for good with a 24-23 advantage with 8:47 left in the second quarter.
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The Crusaders got a 3 yard touchdown run from Otis Brown early in the third quarter extending Evangel’s lead, 31-23.
With 1:25 left in the third quarter, Peru State attempted a 23 yard field goal that was blocked and returned 85 yards for a touchdown by Stephen Swillum. The touchdown gave the Crusaders a 38-23 lead.
For the second straight, the Crusaders were outgained in total yards but still won. The Bobcats totaled 498 yards to Evangel’s 465.
Tommy Meyer led the Crusaders with 101 rushing yards on 17 carries including one touchdown. He became the seventh Evangel player in program history to surpass 2,000 career rushing during the game. Jesse Vaughn had four receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown.
K Drew O’Cain’s 40 yard field was the 33rd of his career setting an Evangel record for most career field goals. The senior from Colorado Springs passed Chris Nowels (1990-92) to set the record.
Ryan Ludlow led Peru State with 141 rushing yards on 32 carries. The conference’s leading rushing had a touchdown reception and a rushing touchdown in the game.
The win is Evangel’s third straight marking the first time the Crusaders have won three games in a row since 2007. The 21st ranked Crusaders improved to 5-2 and 4-1 in the Heart of America conference while Peru State dropped to 3-4 and 1-4.