Information provided by SLU Athletics
HAMMOND – Southeast Missouri senior quarterback Kyle Snyder found junior wide receiver Paul McRoberts from two yards out with five seconds left to give the Redhawks a 24-23 victory over No. 3/4 Southeastern Louisiana in non-conference football action Saturday night at Houck Stadium.
The Lions (2-2) dropped their second straight contest. Southeast Missouri improved to 2-2 overall with the victory.
Lion senior quarterback and Walter Payton Award candidate Bryan Bennett gave SLU the lead with just under three minutes left with a 22-yard touchdown run. However, SEMO answered with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Snyder's game-winning throw.
Southeastern had the Redhawks facing a third-and-10 inside the red zone, but SEMO dialed up the quarterback draw that Snyder took all the way down to the Lion 2-yard line. After the Redhawks burned their last timeout, Snyder found McRoberts on a quick slant to give SEMO the upset victory.
Despite not getting in full gear until the fourth quarter, the Lion offense racked up 436 yards of total offense. Bennett completed 15-of-29 passes for 200 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Junior Xavier Roberson led the Lions with four catches, while senior Devante Scott hauled in three passes for 74 yards. Junior Jeff Smiley and senior Jeremy Meyers each caught touchdowns for the Lions.
The Lions finished with 225 yards on the ground. Junior Rasheed Harrell paced the SLU rushing attack with 18 carries for 89 yards. Bennett also rushed for a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game.
Defensively, the Lions were led by seniors Drew Misita and Tyler Stoddard, who finished with 13 and 12 tackles, respectively. Stoddard also intercepted a pass, while junior Denzel Thompson forced a fumble that junior Josh Dakin was credited with recovering.
Snyder finished the game 16-for-31 for 141 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. McRoberts hauled in both scores, finishing the game with seven catches for 89 yards. Redhawk senior running back Lennies McFerrin finished the game with 95 yards and a score on 26 carries.
After both teams traded empty possessions to start the game, Southeastern took the early lead midway through the first quarter. Bennett found Scott for a 62-yard catch and run to highlight an eight-play, 62-yard scoring drive. Senior Ryan Adams capped the drive with a 25-yard field goal to give SLU a 3-0 lead with 7:15 left in the opening period.
After another stop, the Lions drove their way deep into Southeast Missouri on the ensuing possession. However, SEMO senior linebacker Wisler Ymonice picked off Bennett at the Redhawk 19-yard line to squelch the scoring threat.
Another Lion turnover led to Southeast Missouri's first score of the game. Southeastern junior Kody Sutton fumbled to give the Redhawks the ball back at the Lion 25-yard line. Four plays later, McFerren powered in from a yard out to take a 7-3 lead with 6:04 left in the first half.
The Lions answered on the ensuing drive to take the lead with a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The Redhawks stopped SLU to set up an Adams field goal. However, Roberts dipped in to his bag of tricks and sophomore holder Cole LeBlanc found Meyers wide open for an 11-yard touchdown on a fake field goal. The score put the Lions up, 10-7 with 2:58 left in the first half.
Southeastern appeared that they would go into the break with the lead when Dakin intercepted a Snyder pass on the last play of the half. However, the pick was negated by a Lion penalty and SEMO sophomore kicker Ryan McCrum drilled a 54-yard field goal to send the game into the break knotted at 10.
The Redhawks carried the momentum into the second half to take the lead on the opening drive of the third quarter. Snyder found McRoberts from 12 yards out to cap an 11-play, 73-yard drive to give SEMO a 17-10 lead with 8:24 left in the third quarter.
The Lions drove into Redhawk territory on the ensuing drive, but turned the ball over downs when Harrell was stopped short on a fourth-and-four in SEMO territory.
After a Lion punt, Southeast Missouri methodically drove into the Lion territory as the third quarter wore down. However, with the Redhawks on the verge of taking a two-score lead, Stoddard picked off Snyder at the goal line to end the SEMO scoring threat.
The Lions finally scored to cut the lead with 5:18 left in the contest. A 36-yard run by Roberson highlighted a seven-play, 90-yard march. On fourth-and-goal, Bennett found Smiley from four yards out to cut the lead to 17-16. Southeastern tried a fake on the extra point, but sophomore quarterback D'Shaie Landor was stopped short on the two-point try.
The Lion defense got the ball back for the offense, as Thompson stripped McFerrin and Dakin fell on the loose ball to set up Southeastern at the Redhawk 38-yard line. After Harrell broke free for a 19-yard screen pass on third-and-15, Bennett faked out the Redhawks and raced in from 22 yards out to give SLU a 23-17 lead with 2:53 remaining. However, the Redhawks answered with the game-winning drive over the final 2:43.
Saturday's game was the second of three straight away from home for SLU. Next Saturday, the Lions travel to Incarnate Word for a 6 p.m. Southland Conference contest in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be streamed live on www.uiwcardinals.com. The game will also be broadcast live in the Hammond area on the flagship station of Southeastern Football, KSLU-FM (90.9), as well as affiliates and Northshore Broadcasting stations Kajun 107.1 FM (WHMD) and The Highway 104.7 FM (WJSH).