COLUMBIA, Ky. — The defending national champions lived up to their top-seeded billing on Sunday.
Senior quarterback Cameron Dukes rushed for three scores and threw a pair of touchdown passes as No. 1 Lindsey Wilson piled up 539 yards of offense and rolled past No. 16 Montana Western 48-21 in the first round of the NAIA playoffs in a game that was pushed back a day due to travel delays.
The Bulldogs, playing in their first postseason game since 2002, end their season at 8-4 overall.
Western quarterback Jon Jund threw two touchdown passes to Nate Simkins, and Jamison Hermanson racked up 101 receiving yards.
The Bulldogs scored first on a 34-yard field goal from Jon Mears to cap off the opening drive of the game. The Blue Raiders then responded with 20 unanswered points to take a 20-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Jund then scored on a 7-yard keeper to trim Lindsey Wilson's lead to 20-9, but Cameron Dukes then scored on a 9-yard run and 18-yard touchdown pass to Jaleel Warren to give Lindsey Wilson a 34-9 halftime lead.
With 4:30 left in the fourth quarter, Jund connected with Simkins for a 5-yard touchdown. But Lindsey Wilson against responded with a pair of unanswered scores — a 4-yard touchdown run from Jaylen Boyd and Dukes' final touchdown run — to grab a 48-15 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Raiders' defense held the Bulldogs to 219 yards of offense and allowed Western to convert just 1-of-12 third down attempts.
Lindsey Wilson will now host No. 12 Keiser (Fla.) in the quarterfinals.