December 13, 2017

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Explosive First Half Propels SLU Past Demons, 49-20

NATCHITOCHES, La. – Southeastern Louisiana scored 42 points in the first half on the way to an overwhelming 49-20 road victory over Northwestern State in Southland Conference football action Saturday night at Turpin Stadium.

The Lions (2-3, 2-1 Southland) finished with a season-high 580 total yards on the way to its second straight win and its first road victory of 2017. The win was the sixth straight for the Lions over the in-state league foe Demons (1-3, 1-1 Southland).

The single-game point total marked the most points SLU has ever scored in the 61 meetings between the two schools. The margin of victory was the largest-ever for Southeastern in Natchitoches.

“We did an excellent job of coming out of the gates fast,” Southeastern head

coach Ron Roberts said. “We were clicking in all phases from the start and I’m obviously very pleased with the effort tonight.”

The Lions featured their most balanced attack of the season, rushing for 294 yards and passing for 286 yards in the victory. Sophomore quarterback Lorenzo Nunez completed 8-of-11 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, before giving way to freshman backup Byron Walker for the entire second half.

Nunez connected on touchdown passes to senior Jariah Tolbert and freshman Damien Dawson in his two quarters of work. Senior Juwan Dickey led SLU with four catches for 123 yards, while Tolbert finished with a career-high 94 yards on two receptions.

SLU saw 11 different players credited with a rush in the victory. Freshman running back Marcus Cooper led the Lions with 140 yards on seven carries. Junior Julius Maracalin tied a career-high with three touchdowns, while junior Darren Johnson also rushed for a touchdown.

The Lions used just about every player that dressed on Saturday, especially on defense, as 25 different players recorded a tackle. Senior Max Lyons led SLU with nine steps, an interception, two tackles for loss and a sack. Senior Sione Teuhema also was credited with his team-high fourth sack of the season.

NSU junior quarterback J.D. Almond threw for 256 yards on 17-of-27 passing with two touchdowns and an interception.

After stopping the Demons on the opening drive, SLU took the early lead with an 11-play, 93-yard drive that took over five minutes off the clock. A 58-yard Dickey reception highlighted the scoring march that Johnson capped with a one-yard scoring plunge. The score staked Southeastern to a 7-0 lead with 4:51 left in the opening quarter.

NSU answered quickly on the ensuing drive. Almond found junior Jaylen Watson open down the left side line. The Demon playmaker hauled in the deep pass and zig-zagged his way for a 74-yard touchdown. Senior kicker Eric Piccione’s point after attempt missed wide left to allow the Lions to maintain a 7-6 lead with 3:39 remaining in the first quarter.

Southeastern came up with an answer of its own on the next play from scrimmage. Nunez found Tolbert open for an 88-yard touchdown pass and a 14-6 lead with 3:28 left in the opening period. The pass was the longest play from scrimmage this season by the Lions.

The Lions extended its lead with its third straight touchdown drive to open the game. Southeastern went 85 yards on eight plays on the march that carried into the second quarter. A 26-yard run on a reverse by sophomore Javon Conner highlighted the drive and Maracalin leapt in from a yard out to extend the SLU advantage to 21-6 with 12:15 left in the opening half.

After the two teams traded empty possessions, the Lions extended its lead with a quick four-play, 74-yard drive. On the first play, Nunez nearly fumbled the snap before flipping it on an option pitch to Cooper and the speedster raced 64 yards to give SLU a goal-to-go opportunity. Three plays later, Nunez found Dawson wide open for a two-yard touchdown pass. Dawson’s first career touchdown reception gave the Lions a 28-6 cushion with 6:10 left in the first half.

After Southeastern forced a three-and-out, the special teams unit got into the scoring act. Junior Aaron Craig broke through the middle untouched and blocked sophomore Parker Pastorello’s punt. Senior Joe Pack recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown and a 35-6 SLU lead with 5:05 left in the second quarter.

Southeastern closed out its first-half scoring with an eight-play, 92-yard scoring drive. Dickey ran down a 42-yard pass from Nunez to key the drive, as Maracalin broke a tackle and rushed in from 12 yards out to give SLU a 42-6 lead with less than a minute left in the first half.

NSU cut into the halftime lead, as Almond connected with senior Bobby Chan-Chan for a 32-yard touchdown pass on the final play of a wild first half. The Lions racked up 461 total yards in the first two quarters and posted their most first-half points since scoring 42 in a 76-7 win over HBU on Nov. 8, 2014.

Southeastern was forced three-and-out on its first drive of the third quarter and Northwestern State moved into SLU territory. However, Lyons intercepted Almond in the end zone to end the Demons’ scoring threat with 9:35 left in the third quarter.

Three plays later, Cooper busted loose up the middle for a 66-yard run to set up the Lions inside the NSU 10-yard line. Two plays after that, Maracalin found the end zone for the third time, scoring from five yards out and extending the Lion lead to 49-13 with 7:13 left in the third quarter.

Both teams emptied the benches after Maracalin’s third touchdown ended any hope for a NSU comeback. A muffed snap by sophomore punter Ivy Wall set up the Demons at the SLU 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Two plays later, junior quarterback Clay Holgerson tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to freshman Tyreik Campbell to cut the Lion lead to 49-20 with 7:32 left in the contest.

Southeastern will return home to host Incarnate Word for Homecoming at 4 p.m. next Saturday in Strawberry Stadium. The Lions-Cardinals game will be streamed live by the Southeastern Channel on the Southland Digital Network at www.Southland.org/live. The contest can also be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU 90.9 FM, Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM, WFPR 1400 AM), online at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the TuneIn Radio app.

The Homecoming parade is set to begin at noon and will roll through Friendship Circle. As a result, there will be no parking in Friendship Circle on Saturdayand the area will be closed to all vehicles beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Prior to 9 a.m., fans will be allowed to drop off items at their tailgates. Those fans with Friendship Circle parking passes will be allowed to park in Lot B for the Homecoming game.

SLU – 14 28 7 0 – 49 (2-3, 2-1 SLC)

NSU – 6 7 0 7 – 20 (1-3, 1-1 SLC)

 

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SLU – Johnson 1 run (Burkhard kick), 4:51
NSU – Watson 74 pass from Almond (Piccione kick failed), 3:39

SLU – Tolbert 88 pass from Nunez (Burkhard kick), 3:28

2nd Quarter
SLU – Maracalin 1 run (Burkhard kick), 12:15

SLU – Dawson 2 pass from Nunez (Burkhard kick), 6:10

SLU – Pack 0 blocked punt return (Burkhard kick), 5:05

SLU – Maracalin 12 run (Burkhard kick), 0:56

NSU – Chan-Chan 32 pass from Almond (Piccone kick), 0:00

3rd Quarter

SLU – Maracalin 5 run (Burkhard kick), 7:13

4th Quarter

NSU – Campbell 7 pass from Holgorsen (Piccone kick), 7:32

 

SLU        NSU

FIRST DOWNS                                                 19           20

RUSHES-YARDS (NET)                                  45-294    34-67

PASSING YDS (NET)                                       286         304

Passes Att-Comp-Int                                          18-11-0   41-25-1

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS                63-580    75-371

Fumble Returns-Yards                                       0-0          0-0

Kickoff Returns-Yards                                       1-21        5-83

Punt Returns-Yards                                             4-25        1-1

Interception Returns-Yards                                 1-0          0-0

Punts (Number-Avg)                                           3-37.7     7-32.4

Fumbles-Lost                                                      0-0          2-0                                         Penalties-Yards                                                   7-66        3-21

Possession Time.                                                 27:48      32:12

Third-Down Conversions                                    6-of-13   5-of-17

Fourth-Down Conversions                                  2-of-4     2-of-4

Red Zone Scores-Chances                                  5-6          1-1

RUSHING: SLU – Cooper 7-140, Nunez 5-43, Maracalin 9-36, Johnson 6-26, Conner 1-26, Hall 8-22, Walker 4-14, Durall 1-5, Ingraffia 1-4, Bethea 2-(-7), Wall 1-(-15). Totals – 45-294. NSU – Jones 10-30, West 7-18, Anderson 7-15, Campbell 3-3, Almond 7-1. Totals – 34-67.

 

PASSING: SLU – Nunez 8-11-0-253-2, Walker 2-6-0-20-0, Ingraffia 1-1-0-13-0. Totals – 11-18-0-286-2. NSU – Almond 17-27-1-256-2, Holgorsen 7-11-0-40-1, Sears 1-3-0-8-0. Totals – 25-41-1-304-3.

 

RECEIVING: SLU – Dickey 4-123, Tolbert 2-94, Ingraffia 1-27, Petit-Frere 1-14, Conner 1-13, Schwebel 1-13, Dawson 1-2. Totals – 11-286. NSU – Chapman 9-48, Chan-Chan 4-71, West 3-21, Watson 2-81, Lazare 2-20, Bell 1-18, Bourque 1-13, Jones 1-13, Anderson 1-12, Campbell 1-7. Totals – 25-304.

 

A – 9,073.

About Andy Bryson 572 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach