COLUMBIA, Ky. - Senior quarterback Mike Brinkley threw for three touchdowns and senior defensive back Josh Nixon came up big for the Bulldogs, but it was not enough as Union dropped a 36-21 decision to host Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Saturday.
Brinkley completed half his passes but managed 199 yards passes and three touchdowns, giving him 81 for his career. Nixon, meanwhile, forced a fumble at the goal line to prevent a Blue Raider touchdown and intercepted a pass, returning it 67 yards to set up a Union score in the third quarter. Nixon also had five total tackles with one going for a loss of three yards.
Despite the 15-point margin of victory, the game was much closer as needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to clinch the win.
Up 23-18 midway through fourth, Lindsey Wilson faced a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Quarterback Branden Cresap got lost in the pile, and for the longest time, no one knew if he scored or not. As the pile separated and conference by the officials, a touchdown was called to give the Blue Raiders a 29-18 lead with 8:06 remaining.
Union cut the margin with a Jared Miller 28-yard field goal, making it 29-21 with 6:45 to go.
The Bulldogs forced the Blue Raiders to punt on the ensuing possession, taking over on the Union 19 with 4:11 on the clock. However, Union was unable to move the ball and turned it over on downs at its own 25. Lindsey Wilson then needed only four plays to find the end zone again as Tyrome Lott scrambled 13 yards for the score, making the final 36-21.
Union (0-1 overall) returns to action next Saturday at Campbellsville (Ky.). Game time is set for 7 p.m.
In the first half, Union struggled to find any consistency offensively. The Bulldogs had 132 yards of total offense in the first half, but 61 of those came on a Brinkley-to-Domonique Jefferson touchdown pass in the second quarter as the Blue Raiders led 23-6 at the break.
Nixon got Union jumpstarted in the second half as he intercepted a pass on the Union 27 and returned it 67 yards to the Lindsey Wilson 6. Three plays later, Brinkley hit Jontrel Colbert for a 12-yard scoring play, pulling Union within 23-12 with 12:08 to go in the third.
Later in the quarter, the Bulldogs pieced together a nine-play, 80-yard drive to pull within five. Brinkley found William McGarvey for an 18-yard scoring strike to make it 23-18 with 5:53.
Union continued to battle, but Lindsey Wilson (1-1 overall) outscored the Bulldogs 13-3 in the fourth in capturing the 36-21 win.
Lindsey Wilson outgained Union 326-290 in total offense. Cresap completed 13-of-29 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. Lott led the Blue Raider ground game with 81 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Brinkley completed 14-of-28 passes for 199 yards and three scores with Jefferson hauling in two passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Rob Brown carried the ball 20 times for 81 yards.
Defensively, Ryan Shipley led Union with nine total tackles with one sack. Zach Eagler had seven total stops as well as two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.