September 23, 2018

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Southeastern Football: ULM 34, Southeastern Louisiana 31

MONROE, La. – ULM junior R.J. Turner blocked a potential game-tying 37-yard field goal by SLU senior Jonathan Tatum on the final play to allow the Warhawks to secure a 34-31 victory in the opening game of the season for both teams Thursday night at Malone Stadium.

 

The Lions (0-1) led 31-26 with just over two minutes left when ULM (1-0) took over at its own 38-yard line. The Warhawks drove 63 yards on seven plays with junior quarterback Caleb Evans scrambling in from 11 yards out and then converting a two-point play to give the Warhawks a 34-31 advantage with 37 seconds left.

 

However, SLU would not go away quietly. Making his first start as a Lion, Southeastern junior quarterback Chason Virgil connected on long passes to senior Nih-Jer Jackson (24 yards) and junior Juwan Petit-Frere (27 yards) to set up Tatum’s potential game-winner.

 

But Turner ended it with his block to keep Southeastern from opening the Frank Scelfo Era with its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent in 23 tries since the program returned in 2003.

 

SLU racked up 437 total yards of offense under the direction of Virgil, who completed 28-of-39 passes for 358 yards – the highest total by a Lion quarterback since 2011 – and four touchdowns in his debut under center in the green and gold.

 

Virgil connected with nine different receivers on the night, including Petit-Frere, who led all players with 148 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. Virgil also found sophomore Austin Mitchell and junior Lorenzo Nunez – last year’s starting quarterback who started the opener at receiver – on touchdown throws.

 

ULM’s highly-touted offense was as good as advertised, accumulating 554 yards under the direction of Evans, who completed 35-of-53 passes for 346 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, along with the go-ahead rushing touchdown. Both of Evans’ scoring tosses were hauled in by senior Marcus Green, who led the Warhawks with seven catches for 99 yards. Senior Derrick Gore led the Warhawks with 104 yards rushing and a score on 21 carries.

 

The Warhawks’ gaudy numbers underscore a game effort by the Southeastern defense, which kept Virgil and company within striking distance. Senior Tamarcus Russell finished with 20 tackles – the most by a Lion since the program returned in 2003. In his Lion debut, junior Matthew Wright finished with 16 tackles and was joined in double figures by junior Dejion Lynch (11) and sophomore Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (10).

 

Adeyemi-Berglund also led Southeastern with two pass breakups. In his collegiate debut, SLU redshirt freshman Ferlando Jordan recorded an interception, while Lion junior Tre’ Spann was credited with a fumble recovery.

 

The Warhawks struck first to open the game and took the opening kickoff 77 yards on 13 plays, taking just over five minutes off the clock. Gore capped the methodical drive with a two-yard plunge to give ULM a 7-0 advantage.

 

Southeastern answered right back with a 10-play, 74-yard scoring march of its own, as Virgil and Nunez shared time under center. A 26-yard scramble by Nunez set the Lions up with goal-to-go and two plays later, Virgil found Mitchell with a nine-yard scoring pass to knot the score at 7-7 with 5:16 left in the opening quarter.

 

On the ensuing Warhawk drive, Jordan intercepted an Evans pass and returned it 42 yards to the ULM 18-yard line. Three plays later, Nunez hauled in a 15-yard toss from Virgil to give the Lions a 14-7 lead with 3:40 left in the first quarter.

 

ULM cut into the lead with another lengthy drive that carried over into the second quarter, as the Warhawks drove 88 yards on 17 plays. Adeyemi-Berglund broke up a third-down Evans pass to force the Warhawks to settle for a 22-yard field goal by senior Craig Ford, chopping the SLU advantage to 14-10 with 13:02 left in the opening half.

 

The Warhawks forced SLU into a three-and-out on the next drive and drove 65 yards on 12 plays. The drive was extended when junior Xavier Lewis was whistled for targeting after it looked as if he stopped the Warhawks short of a first down on a third-down play.

 

Several plays later, Evans scrambled and found Green open in the back of the end zone from three yards out to put ULM back ahead. SLU sophomore Ronald Cherry III blocked Ford’s extra-point attempt to keep the deficit to 16-14 with 7:21 left in the opening half.

 

The Lions put the ball in the hands of their most dangerous playmaker to reclaim the lead. On the third play of the ensuing drive, Petit-Frere grabbed a short Virgil crossing pass and raced untouched for a 59-yard touchdown and a 21-16 SLU advantage with 5:56 left in the second quarter.

 

ULM moved into Southeastern territory on the next drive, but another Warhawk turnover helped SLU maintain its lead. Evans dropped the shotgun snap and Spann pounced on the loose ball to end the ULM scoring threat.

 

It looked as if Southeastern would add to its lead in the waning seconds of the first half. Virgil went six-for-eight on the final drive of the half and set the Lions up with a 43-yard field goal attempt by Tatum, but it fell just short to keep the SLU lead at 21-16 at the break. The wild first half saw the two teams combine for 488 total yards.

 

ULM wasted no time erasing the five-point deficit early in the third quarter. After holding Southeastern to a three-and-out, Evans found Green for a 79-yard catch-and-run that put the Warhawks up, 23-21, just over two minutes into the third quarter.

 

Virgil made his first mistake on the ensuing drive. ULM sophomore Corey Straughter intercepted the Lion junior at the Warhawk 29-yard line and returned it all the way to the Lion 21.

 

However, the SLU defense stiffened to hold the Warhawks without a first down. Ford’s 37-yard field goal banged off the right upright to keep Southeastern within two.

 

After Southeastern was forced into another punt, ULM padded its cushion. The Warhawks drove 62 yards on 13 plays deep into Lion territory. However, Southeastern held firm and kept ULM out of the end zone, as the Warhawks had to settle for a 28-yard Ford field goal and a 26-21 advantage with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter.

 

Two Warhawk personal fouls on the ensuing kickoff allowed Southeastern to start its next drive on the ULM 38-yard line. An 18-yard pass from Virgil to junior Bransen Schwebel set up a 34-yard field goal by Tatum on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 26-24.

 

The Lions’ bend-but-don’t-break defense came up big again on the next ULM drive. Adeyami-Berglund hit Evans as he threw on a third down to force a 34-yard field goal attempt by Ford and the Warhawk senior pushed it left to keep the lead at 26-24 with 11:17 left.

 

Southeastern took the lead on the ensuing drive, marching 80 yards on seven plays. Virgil was 4-for-5 on the go-ahead drive, as Petit-Frere caught a short pass, broke a tackle and raced 34 yards for a touchdown and a 31-26 lead with 8:23 remaining.

 

The Lions again came up with a defensive stop on the next drive. The Warhawks drove inside the SLU 30-yard line, but on fourth down and six, Wright broke up an Evans pass in the end zone to give the Lions the ball with under four minutes left.

 

Southeastern was forced to punt, however, and ULM took over for the eventual game-winning drive.

 

ULM was the first of two in-state FBS foes the Lions face to open the 2018 campaign. Next Saturday, Southeastern travels to LSU for a 6 p.m. contest in Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU and via the WatchESPN app. SLU’s first meeting with the Tigers since 1949 will also air on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU 90.9, Kajun 107.1, The Highway 104.7, WFPR 1400), www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the TuneIn Radio and RadioFX apps.

 

Tuesday will also mark the debut of Inside Southeastern Football with Frank Scelfo, airing on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network. Hosted by Scelfo and Allen Waddell, the hour-long show will air at 7 p.m. from Tope La Catering and will be streamed live on Facebook Watch at www.facebook.com/sluathletics. While the first show will be on Tuesday due to next Monday being Labor Day, all of the season’s subsequent shows will be on Mondays at 7 p.m. through Nov. 12.

 

SLU – 14 7 0 10 – 31 (0-1)

ULM – 7 9 10 8 – 34 (1-0)

 

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

ULM – Gore 2 run (Ford kick), 9:41

SLU – A. Mitchell 9 pass from Virgil (Tatum kick), 5:16
SLU – Nunez 15 pass from Virgil (Tatum kick), 3:40

2nd Quarter
ULM – Ford 22 FG, 13:02

ULM – Green 3 pass from Evans (Ford kick failed), 7:21

SLU – Petit-Frere 59 pass from Virgil (Tatum kick), 5:56

3rd Quarter
ULM – Green 79 pass from Evans (Ford kick), 12:56
ULM – Ford 28 FG, 1:21
4th Quarter
SLU – Tatum 34 FG, 14:55
SLU – Petit-Frere 34 pass from Virgil (Tatum kick), 8:23
ULM – Evans 11 run (Evans run), :37

 

SLU        ULM

FIRST DOWNS                                                  22           31
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)                                  23-72      43-208

PASSING YDS (NET)                                       365         346

Passes Att-Comp-Int                                          42-29-1   53-35-1

TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS                65-437    96-554

Fumble Returns-Yards                                        0-0          0-0

Kickoff Returns-Yards                                       5-136      5-119

Punt Returns-Yards                                             0-0          0-0

Interception Returns-Yards                                 1-42        1-50

Punts (Number-Avg)                                           5-42.6     1-52.0

Fumbles-Lost                                                      0-0          1-1

Penalties-Yards                                                   11-89      10-75

Possession Time.                                                 24:11      35:49

Third-Down Conversions                                    3-of-10   11-of-18

Fourth-Down Conversions                                  0-of-0     1-of-2

Red Zone Scores-Chances                                  3-4          5-7

 

RUSHING: SLU – D. Williams 6-27, Nunez 4-22, D. Johnson 4-8, A. Mitchell 2-8, Petit-Frere 1-6, Virgil 6-1. Totals – 23-72. ULM – Gore 21-104, Evans 13-62, White 5-28, Vaughn 3-12, Green 1-2. Totals – 43-213.

 

PASSING: SLU – Virgil 28-39-1-358-4, Nunez 1-2-0-7-0. Totals – 29-42-1-365-4. ULM – Evans 35-53-1-346-2. Totals – 35-53-1-346-2.

 

RECEIVING: SLU – D. Williams 6-25, Petit-Frere 5-148, Turner 5-50, A. Mitchell 4-34, Nunez 3-36, Ingraffia 3-34, Jackson 1-24, Schwebel 1-18, D. Johnson 1-(-4). Totals – 29-365. ULM – Green 7-99, Turner 7-95, Brown 6-60, White 4-25, Gore 3-18, Spiller 2-15, Hodoh 2-12, Vaughn 2-10, McCray 1-8, Rodrique 1-4. Totals – 35-346.

 

A – 10,137.

 

TICKET INFORMATION

For season ticket information and individual game tickets, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. The Lions will welcome conference foes Central Arkansas (Sept. 15), Northwestern State (Sept. 29), Houston Baptist (Oct. 13 – Homecoming), Abilene Christian (Oct. 20 – Hall of Fame Game) and McNeese (Nov. 3).

 

CLEAR BAG POLICY

Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.

 

TOUCHDOWN CLUB/S CLUB

Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners.

 

All membership fees and donations to both the Touchdown Club and S Club (football) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern football program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA/#SelfieWithScelfo
For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @SLUFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

 

Fans can also win a pair of SLU Football season tickets by participating in the #SelfieWithScelfo campaign during the month of August. Follow @SLU_athletictix on Twitter for more information.

 

INSIDE SOUTHEASTERN FOOTBALL WITH FRANK SCELFO

Inside Southeastern Football with Frank Scelfo will debut on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at Tope La Catering (113 East Thomas Street) in downtown Hammond. The season’s first show will air on Tuesday due to Labor Day. The season’s remaining shows will be held each Monday through Nov. 12 with a 7 p.m. start for each.

 

The show will air 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 and TuneIn Radio apps. A live video stream of the show will be available via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/sluathletics.

By: Southeastern Athletics 

 

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