Monday, December 10, 2018

No. 22/23 Sam Houston State holds off SLU rally, 28-25

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2018 | Views: 315

No. 22/23 Sam Houston State holds off SLU rally, 28-25
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A late Southeastern Louisiana rally fell just short in a 28-25 loss to No. 22/23 Sam Houston State in Southland Conference football action Saturday afternoon in Bowers Stadium.

Southeastern (3-6, 3-4 Southland) trailed 28-10 early in the fourth quarter, but scored two quick touchdowns to pull within three with just under three minutes left. However, the host Bearkats (5-3, 4-2 Southland) were able to secure a couple of first downs and run out the clock without the Lions having one more chance on offense.

The Lions finished up with 453 total yards in the loss, but it was two missed opportunities that were the difference in the game. Twice the Lions had first-and-goal chances, but came away with just three points on those two drives.

Southeastern quarterback Chason Virgil led the SLU offensive effort, throwing for 274 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 20-of-32 passing. CJ Turner led the Lions with six catches for 58 yards, while junior Juwan Petit-Frere hauled in his team-high fourth touchdown of the season.

The Lions concentrated on the run game more than has been typical in 2018. Darren Johnson led the way with 15 carries for 79 yards, while Devonte Williams rushed for 56 yards and a score on 13 rushes.

SLU was led on defense by Xavier Lewis, who forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble to go with eight tackles and a sack. Tamarcus Russell and Tre’ Spann led the Lions with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Shamar Busby recovered a fumble for Southeastern, while Ferlando Jordan intercepted his third pass of the year.

The Bearkats finished with 455 yards on the offense, as quarterback Ty Brock was good on 23-of-32 passes for 320 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Brock’s top targets were Dee Bowens (eight catches, 155 yards, one touchdown) and Nathan Stewart (5-103). Kyran Jackson led the SHSU rushing attack with 114 yards and three touchdowns on 19 totes.

Sam Houston State wasted no time taking the early lead. On the third play of the game, Bowens got loose for a 64-yard touchdown pass from Brock to give the Bearkats a 7-0 cushion just over a minute into the game.

The teams traded punts before a SLU turnover led to another SHSU score. Virgil was picked off by Will Lockett and the Bearkat defender returned the pick back to the SLU 13-yard line. Four plays later, Jackson bulled in from two yards out to put the Bearkats up, 14-0, with 5:33 left in the opening quarter.

After a SLU three-and-out, Sam Houston State was poised to add to its lead. However, Lewis stripped Bowens and Busby pounced on the loose ball at the Lion 14-yard line to keep the deficit at 14-0.

The Lions turned the ball over on downs on the first play of the second quarter, but a sack by David Fields forced a Bearkat three-and-out.

Southeastern finally got going on the next play after the SHSU bunt. Bransen Schwebel broke free and ran under a 50-yard pass by Virgil. Four plays later, Petit-Frere snagged a crossing route and scored from 16 yards out to cut the Bearkat lead to 14-7 with 11:37 left in the second quarter.

Sam Houston State was again forced to punt on its next drive. A 14-yard run by Nih-Jer Jackson and a 15-yard gallop by Julius Maracalin set the Lions up inside the Bearkat 30-yard line. However, Virgil was intercepted by Darius Mouton to end the Southeastern scoring threat.

The Bearkats were again forced to punt, but punter Cameron Hearn dropped the snap and was swarmed by the Lions, allowing SLU to take over at the SHSU 20-yard line.

Southeastern looked to punch it in, but Turner was stopped just short of the goal line on third-and-goal. The Lions had to settle for a 17-yard Tatum field goal that cut the Sam Houston State lead to 14-10 with 1:57 left in the opening half.

SHSU looked poised to add to its halftime cushion on the final drive of the second quarter. A 40-yard pass from Brock to Stewart set the Bearkats up in Lion territory. Nice tackles by Fred Brown and Spann kept SHSU from punching in a goal-to-go situation. A bad snap prevented Tre Honshtein from getting his field goal attempt off on the half’s final snap.

SLU went three-and-out on the first drive of the second half and SHSU capitalized. Jackson capped an eight-play, 55-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge that extended the Bearkat lead to 21-10 with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter.

After a SLU punt, the Bearkats moved into Lion territory, but Jordan intercepted a Brock pass to end the threat. Southeastern again went three-and-out, but Lewis ended the next SHSU drive, drilling Brock on a sack that caused a fumble and scooping the loose ball to set the Lions up at the SHSU 48-yard line.

The Lions drove all the way down to the Bearkat five-yard line, but the drive stalled there. To make matters worse, Tatum missed just his second field goal since week one to keep the lead at 21-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bearkat drive after Tatum’s missed kick covered 80 yards on nine plays. Jackson walked in from 11 yards out to give Sam Houston State a 28-10 commanding lead.

Southeastern would not quit despite the deficit. A 37-yard reception by Petit-Frere highlighted an eight-play, 64-yard march that Williams wrapped up with a one-yard touchdown run to pull the Lions within, 28-17, with 10:25 left.

The two teams traded punts until Southeastern took over at its 48-yard line with 4:30 remaining. Six quick plays was all the Lions needed to get back into the end zone, as Virgil scored from a yard out to cap the drive. Virgil found Schwebel for a two-point conversion to chop the Sam Houston State lead to 28-25 with just under three minutes remaining.

Unfortunately, Southeastern’s defense couldn’t come up with the last necessary stop. The Bearkats picked up three first downs and were able to kneel the clock out to secure the victory and spoil the Lions’ upset bid.

Southeastern will close out its 2018 home schedule with a 2:30 p.m. game next Saturday versus McNeese at Strawberry Stadium. The Lions-Cowboys tilt will air on Cox Sports Television.

Southeastern will hold Military Appreciation Day in conjunction with the Nov. 3 contest, as all military and service personnel will receive two free tickets with a valid ID. The SLU-McNeese contest will also be Senior Day, as the Lion seniors will be honored approximately a half hour before kickoff.

Fans can also hear the Nov. 3 game on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and WFPR 1400 AM). Fans can also listen live at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Radio FX, TuneIn Radio and Lions Gameday Experience apps.

SLU – 0 10 0 15 (3-6, 3-4 SLC)
SHSU – 14 0 7 7 (5-3, 4-2 SLC)