No. 23 Lions take on ACU on the road
HAMMOND, La. – The No. 23 Southeastern Louisiana football team will close out its 2019 regular season road schedule on Saturday with a 1 p.m. Southland Conference contest at Abilene Christian in Wildcat Stadium.
The game between the Lions (6-3, 5-2 Southland) and the host Wildcats (5-5, 4-4 Southland) will be televised on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and The Boss 103.7 FM/1400 AM WFPR), online at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Lions Game Day Experience and TuneIn Radio apps.
Riding a three-game win streak, Southeastern heads into the final two weeks of the season in a four-way tie atop the Southland Conference standings with Nicholls, Sam Houston State and Central Arkansas.
With its 34-0 victory last Saturday at Central Arkansas, the Lions posted their first shutout since 2009 on the way to their second win over a FCS top 10 team this season. Ferlando Jordan intercepted a pair of passes, while Xavier Lewis led SLU with eight tackles.
Southeastern finished with 490 total yards and controlled the ball for over 38 minutes in the win. Cole Kelley came off the bench to engineer the Lion attack, rushing for a single-game school-record tying four touchdowns, while also completing 20-of-24 passes for 273 yards and a score.
SLU enters Saturday’s contest ranking among the national FCS leaders in total offense (480.0 ypg, 5th), scoring offense (37.9 ppg, 9th) and passing offense (333.9 ypg, 4th). The Lion quarterback tandem of Kelley (50-for-62, 649 yards, 9 TD, 1 INT) and Chason Virgil (195-for-292, 15 TD, 9 INT) have effectively split time under center and combined for the nation’s best completion percentage (69.2).
The SLU duo has spread the ball around this season with CJ Turner (46 catches, 506 yards, 4 TD), Devonte Williams (43-391-2 TD), Bransen Schwebel (36-402-3 TD), Austin Mitchell (35-664-7 TD) and Javon Conner (31-340-3 TD) serving as the top options.
Williams (364 yards, 4 TD) and Taron Jones (330-4 TD) lead the SLU ground attack, while Kelley has a team-high eight rushing touchdowns.
The Lion defense is allowing 24.8 points and 392.7 yards per game. Alexis Ramos (57 tackles), Lewis (48), Trae Drake (43), Tre’ Spann (43) and Donniel Ward-Magee (42) make up the Lions’ top five tacklers.
Southeastern enters the regular season road finale ranked near the top of FCS in sacks (29, 5th) and tackles for loss (79, 6th). Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (14.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks), Josh Carr Jr. (13.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks) and Ronald Cherry III (9.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks) lead SLU’s pass rush attack.
In the secondary, Jordan shares the Southland lead with five interceptions and has taken back a single-season school record three INT’s for touchdowns. Lewis and Shawntrez Spates each have picked off two passes.
Austin Dunlap highlights Southeastern’s special teams units, ranking third in the Southland and 23rd nationally with a 42.3 punting average.
The Wildcats had their three-game winning streak snapped last Saturday. ACU built an early 10-0 lead, but Sam Houston State rallied for a 24-10 victory.
Luke Anthony (230-for-361, 2,217 yards, 16 TD, 7 INT) engineers an Abilene Christian offense that averages 31.5 points and 438.9 yards per game. Tracy James (812 yards, 14 TD) fuels the rushing attack, while the duo of Koby Clark (70 catches, 617 yards, 3 TD) and Josh Fink (59-733-5 TD) are ACU’s top weapons in the passing game.
Opponents are scoring 26.3 points and averaging 383.1 yards per game versus ACU. Jeremiah Chambers (92 tackles, 15.5 TFL) and Jack Gibbens (86 tackles) lead the Wildcats, while Ryan Stapp has a team-high three interceptions.
The two teams have split the all-time series, 3-3, with both teams holding a 2-1 advantage on the other’s home field.
No. 23 Southeastern will host Nicholls in the 29th River Bell Classic on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium. The game will be televised on Cox Sports Television and on ESPN+ outside of the CST area. The contest can be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and The Boss 103.7 FM/1400 AM WFPR), online at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Lions Game Day Experience and TuneIn Radio apps.
For ticket information, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. The Lions’ remaining home schedule will see SLU welcome Southland Conference foe Nicholls (Nov. 21).