Lions clip Cards to Move to 2-0 in league play - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Lions clip Cards to Move to 2-0 in league play

Information provided by Southeastern Athletics:

BEAUMONT, TX - For the first time since 2009, the Southeastern Louisiana football team is 2-0 in Southland Conference play after a 31-21 victory at Lamar Saturday afternoon at Provost Umphrey Stadium.

In addition to allowing Southeastern (2-3, 2-0 Southland) to match its best-ever start to league play, the Lions ended their 14-game road losing streak. The victory over Lamar (2-3, 0-1 Southland) was the team's first away from home since a 27-0 win at Northwestern State on Nov. 6, 2009. 

"We're proud of today's effort," Southeastern first-year head coach Ron Roberts commented. "We got off to a great start, but Lamar's a good team and we knew they would come back. I was extremely pleased with the defensive effort. We did a nice job defending the run and creating turnovers."

The Lions used a complete team effort to get past the Cards for the first time since a 21-19 win in 1969. Southeastern limited Lamar to 244 total yards and forced Lamar junior quarterback Ryan Mossakowski into four interceptions. Senior Robert Alford, sophomore Tyler Stoddard, freshman Denzel Washington and senior Tay Alford each picked off passes for the Lions.

The Lions came into Saturday's game with 132 yards rushing for the season. Southeastern surpassed that total with 165 yards on the ground in Saturday's victory. Freshman Xavier Roberson toted the ball 15 times for 75 yards, while senior Michael Chaney carried 18 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Nathan Stanley was efficient, connecting on 15 of 28 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Jeff Smiley led Southeastern with five catches, while junior Tony McCrea had a team-high 55 yards receiving. Senior Blaine LeBlanc caught the touchdown from Stanley.

Stoddard led Southeastern with seven tackles, including 2.5 for loss. Stoddard, senior Tramaine Lucas and sophomore Justin Church each had sacks for the Lions. Junior Theo Alexander was credited with three pass breakups for the Lions.

Mossakowski threw for 168 yards on 20-for-35 passing, throwing two touchdowns to sophomore Payden McVey to go with his four interceptions. Hershel Sims led Lamar with 36 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Defensively, junior Jermaine Longino led all players with 13 tackles for the Cardinals. Tyrus McGlothen and Nashon Davis each had interceptions for Lamar, but for the second straight week the Lion offensive line kept Stanley from being sacked.

The Lions led throughout, opening up an early 14-0 lead and taking a 14-7 lead into halftime. Southeastern stretched its seven-point halftime lead by opening the second half with a 12-play, 59-yard scoring drive. McCrea accounted for 33 yards of the drive with a 15-yard run on a reverse and an 18-yard catch. Junior Seth Sebastian bounced in a 26-yard field goal off the left upright to give Southeastern a 17-7 lead with 10:28 left in the third quarter.

Lamar answered with a six-play, 75-yard scoring march to pull within three. A 30-yard pass from Mossakowski to Kevin Johnson followed by a 20-yard Mossakowski scramble set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to McVey to make it 17-14 with 7:40 left in the third quarter.

The two teams traded three-and-outs, then Robert Alford padded the Lion lead with a 75-yard punt return touchdown to put the Lions up, 24-14, with 5:27 in the third quarter. The Hammond native raced down the left sideline and broke several tackles to put the Lions back up by double digits.

The return totally swung the momentum in the Lions' favor. After a sack by Stoddard highlighted a quick three-and-out for Lamar on the ensuing possession. Southeastern moved the ball quickly into Cardinal territory after a great double move by McCrea got him open for a 37-yard strike from Stanley. Stanley then connected on an 18-yard pass to sophomore Stanley Moore, converting a third-and-12 and setting the Lions up with a first-and-goal on the Lamar three-yard line as the third quarter ended.

On the first play of the final quarter, Stanley hit LeBlanc on a play action pass for a three-yard touchdown to give the Lions a commanding 31-14 lead with 14:55 remaining.

Lamar earned a couple of first downs on the ensuing drive, but pressure by sophomore Justin Church forced Mossakowski to throw an errant pass, as Stoddard made a leaping interception at the Lamar 37-yard line. Southeastern was moving in to put the final nail in the coffin, but McGlothen intercepted Stanley and ran the ball back 96 yards for a score, pulling Lamar to within, 31-21, with 6:58 left in the contest.  

Southeastern again look to put the game away proper on the ensuing drive, as a 47-yard kickoff return by Smiley set the Lions up at midfield. Later in the drive, senior Brian Young hit LeBlanc on a 16-yard pass on fourth and two extended the drive. By the time Lamar stopped Southeastern on downs, the Cards took over with 3:10 left on their own 18-yard line.

Lamar earned a couple of first downs, but Robert Alford closed it out with an interception at midfield. The Lions' fourth interception of the game sealed it with 2:13 remaining.

The Lions dominated the early portions of the contest. Southeastern jumped to a 7-0 lead with their first touchdown scored in the first quarter this season. Lamar took the opening kickoff, but an interception by senior linebacker Tay Alford set Southeastern up at their own 44-yard line.

Stanley led the Lions down the field on the opening drive, covering 56 yards on seven plays. A 25-yard strike from Stanley to junior Marquis Fruge' highlighted the march that Chaney capped with a two-yard touchdown run to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with 8:54 remaining in the first quarter.

A sack by Church forced a quick Lamar three-and-out, but Stanley was intercepted on the ensuing drive by Davis near the goal line. The Southeastern defense again stiffened, forcing a Lamar three-and-out that gave the ball back to the Lions at their own 49-yard line.

Stanley engineered another seven-play scoring march, highlighted by a pass interference play and a 17-yard strike to Moore. Chaney pushed in from four yards out on a third-and-one to give the Lions a 14-0 lead with 13:44 left in the second quarter.

Lamar answered with an eight-play, 61-yard drive taking 3:35 off the clock. A 25-yard reception by Sims was the key play in the march that was punctuated by an eight-yard pass from Mossakowski to McVey. The score cut the Lion lead to 14-7 with 10:01 left in the opening half.

The two teams struggled offensively in the final 10 minutes of the half, though Robert Alford had a punt return touchdown called back due to an illegal block by Alexander.

Lamar's defense gave the Cardinals a great scoring opportunity in the final minute after forcing Southeastern to punt from its three-yard line. A 16-yard punt return by Mike Vinson set up the Cards at the Lion 27-yard line. However, Thompson intercepted Mossakowski in the end zone on the final play to send the Lions into the break with a touchdown advantage.

Southeastern will return to action next Saturday, facing UAB at 2 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala. The Lions' non-conference finale will be broadcast live in the Hammond area on KSLU-FM (90.9) and on the Internet at www.LionSports.net.

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