December 12, 2017

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Southeastern Rolls to Fourth Straight Victory at HBU

HOUSTON, Texas – The Southeastern Louisiana football team moved above .500 for the first time this season with a 56-10 Southland Conference road victory at Houston Baptist on Saturday night at Husky Stadium.

The win was the fourth straight for the Lions (4-3, 4-1 Southland) and marked the fourth consecutive contest in which SLU has scored 40 or more points. The Lions are now 4-0 all-time versus the Huskies (1-5, 0-4 Southland).

Southeastern continued its explosive performance on offense, finishing with 503 total yards. The Lions finished with a season-high 376 yards on the ground – the fourth-highest single-game total since the program returned prior to the 2003 season.

Freshman Marcus Cooper topped 100 yards rushing for the third straight game, leading the Lions with 123 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Junior Julius Maracalin added two rushing touchdowns, while senior Eugene Bethea and freshman Delmonte Hall added rushing score of their own.

Sophomore Lorenzo Nunez and freshman Byron Walker split time under center for the Lions. Sophomore Zeke Jenkins caught his second touchdown pass of the season for Southeastern. The Lions put together their highest scoring output of the season against an HBU defense that came in ranked second in the Southland in total defense.

“We were able to make some explosive plays against a good defensive team,” Southeastern head coach Ron Roberts said. “We were confident in our ability to run the ball and I’m proud of our guys effort tonight.”

On defense, the Lions scored two touchdowns, as senior Ryan Sigers returned a fumble for a touchdown and senior Mayori Ellison brought back his team-high third interception of the season for a score. Junior Shamar Busby forced the fumble that Sigers recovered, while junior Sean Clavelle also had a fumble recovery.

“Those two defensive touchdowns were game-changing plays,” Roberts said. “Those were huge in helping us pull away.”

Senior Sione Teuhema led Southeastern with two sacks and a career-high five tackles for loss, while senior Max Lyons was credited with a team-high 14 tackles.

SLU jumped on top on its opening drive. Cooper took an option pitch and raced untouched down the right sideline for a 91-yard touchdown run – the longest run in school history to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with 11:45 left in the opening quarter. Cooper’s jaunt bested the previous run of 90 yards by Mack Boatner versus Delta State on Nov. 8, 1980.

HBU moved into Lion territory on the ensuing drive, but the Lions forced a field goal attempt. Sophomore Kyle Ghetes pushed a 32-yard field goal wide left to keep the score at 7-0.

The Huskies would get on the board on their next drive. Junior Alec Chadwick connected on a 41-yard field goal to cut the Lions’ lead to 7-3.

The Lions would double their lead with an eight-play, 83-yard scoring march. Nunez connected with freshman Austin Mitchell to highlight the drive, which Maracalin capped with his team-high sixth rushing touchdown of 2017 to give Southeastern a 14-3 lead with 10:13 remaining in the opening half.

The Southeastern defense would add to the lead and cut off a promising Huskies’ drive. Busby stripped HBU senior Terrance Peters and Sigers picked up the loose ball and raced untouched 80 yards for a touchdown and a 21-3 SLU advantage with 8:06 left in the second quarter.

After forcing a three-and-out, Southeastern looked poised to pad its lead, moving into HBU territory. However, Nunez fumbled the snap and the Huskies took over at their own 29-yard line when junior Kyle Bowling fell on the loose ball.

SLU forced an HBU punt, but Nunez was picked off by HBU senior Terrell Brown to give the Huskies the ball at the Lion 28-yard line. The Huskies drove inside the Lion 10-yard line, but Teuhema sacked HBU freshman Bailey Zappe to force Chadwick to rush a 45-yard field goal attempt that missed wide left to keep the lead at 21-3 going into the break.

The Lions took the opening kickoff of the second half down for a score to add to their advantage. SLU marched 69 yards on 11 plays with Marcalin diving in from a yard out to extend its lead to 28-3 with 10:25 left in the third quarter.

SLU took over on the HBU 23-yard line after Zappe fumbled and Clavelle pounced on the loose ball. Six plays later, Bethea bulled in from a yard out to give the Lions a 35-3 advantage with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

After the Lions forced a three-and-out, they would add to their lead. A 43-yard catch of a

Walker pass by sophomore Bransen Schwebel highlighted a seven-play, 70-yard scoring march Jenkins caught a sliding three-yard touchdown pass from Walker to extend the lead to 42-3 with 2:01 left in the third quarter.

HBU drove into SLU territory on the first drive of the fourth quarter. However, Ellison stepped in front of a pass by freshman Andrew Haidet and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions a 49-3 lead with 13:47 left in the contest.

Houston Baptist answered less than a minute later. Haidet found junior David Racine open for a 78-yard touchdown reception to cut the Lion lead to 49-10 with 13:07 left in the game.

Southeastern capped the scoring late in the fourth quarter with a 13-play, 70-yard scoring

drive. Hall raced in from 13 yards out for his first collegiate touchdown to provide the final 56-10 margin.

Saturday was the first of two straight road contests for the Lions. Next Saturday,

Southeastern will head to Abilene Christian for a 2:30 p.m. contest. The game will be broadcast live on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU 90.9 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM, Kajun 107.1 FM, WFPR 1400 AM), online at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the TuneIn Radio app. A live video stream will be accessible at www.ACUSports.com.

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