Stephen F Austin 28, Southeastern Louisiana 20

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 12, 2011
Contact: Kemmler Chapple, (985) 974-5466

Southeastern Rally Falls Short at SFA

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Southeastern Louisiana football team nearly rallied back from two scores down, but Stephen F. Austin stopped Southeastern on the potential tying drive to hang on for a 28-20 victory in Southland Conference football action Saturday night at Homer Bryce Stadium.

The Lions (2-8, 0-6 Southland) moved the ball inside the SFA 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter. However, Stephen F. Austin (5-4, 4-2 Southland) turned up the pressure to force Southeastern junior quarterback Brian Young into three straight incomplete passes to earn its fourth straight win.

“I thought our guys played really hard and didn’t quit after falling behind early,” Southeastern head coach Mike Lucas said. “Our defense made some plays tonight against a very good offense and gave us a chance to win the ball game. But we weren’t able to get our offense going until the fourth quarter.”

The Lion defense kept Southeastern in the game on a night that Stephen F. Austin limited Southeastern to 292 total yards. Junior Frank Bryant, freshman Tyler Stoddard, freshman Marice Sutton and junior Robert Alford all had interceptions for Southeastern, who finished the game with a plus-two turnover margin after coming in to the contest -18 in takeaways for the season.

SFA quarterback Brady Attaway countered his four interceptions with 312 yards passing and three touchdown throws on 25-of-52 passing. Gralyn Crawford and Kris Lott led the Lumberjacks with six receptions apiece. Keith Lawson led the SFA rushing attack with 12 carries for 83 yards.

Young was efficient in connecting on 32-for-41 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. Senior Simmie Yarborough led the Lions with nine catches for 56 yards, while freshman Dean Johnson grabbed a career-high eight catches for 52 yards. Senior Kory Theodore also added six catches for a team-high 68 yards and a touchdown. Junior Zeke Jones returned for the first time in over a month to lead the Lion rushing attack with 13 carries for 79 yards and a score.

In addition to the four interceptions, several Lions had standout defensive performances. Senior Keiron Jones led the Lions with a career-high 17 tackles, while Stoddard and Sutton had 10 stops apiece. Stoddard and fellow freshman Jonathan Kinchen each had 1.5 tackles for loss.

After Southeastern went three-and-out on the game’s initial possession, SFA drove to the Lion 25-yard line, but Lumberjack kicker Jordan Wiggs had his 42-yard field goal fall short with just under 11 minutes left in the opening period.

Southeastern moved near midfield, but was forced to punt and SFA took over at its own 10-yard line. The Lions had Stephen F. Austin backed up with a third-and-20, but a defensive holding call gave the Jacks an automatic first down. SFA took advantage with a 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive that Marquis Mosely capped by catching a two-yard scoring toss from Attaway with 5:25 left in the opening quarter

Another Southeastern three-and-out resulted in a punt that Crawford returned 51 yards to the Lion 12-yard line. Two plays later, Gus Johnson rushed in untouched for a 12-yard score and a 14-0 SFA lead with 3:13 left in the opening quarter.

Weary gave the ball back to SFA on the next offensive trip, as he fumbled at the Lion 40-yard line. Defensive lineman Gordon Booker II pounced on it to set the Lumberjacks in Southeastern territory.

However, Southeastern turned the tables, as Bryant intercepted Attaway and returned it 78 yards to the SFA one-yard line. On the next play, Zeke Jones bulled in from a yard out to cut the lead to 14-7 with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.

On the final play of the first quarter, Stoddard picked off Attaway. The Westlake native’s first career interception gave the Lions the ball back at their own 44-yard line to start the second quarter. However Stephen F. Austin stiffened to force a Lion punt. SFA would be stopped three and out as well

On the first play of the next drive, senior Brandon Collins caught a pass well behind the line of scrimmage. Theodore was wide open down the sideline, but Collins overthrew Theodore on a sure touchdown.

After the team’s traded empty possessions, a bad snap by Bryan West on a Stephen F. Austin punt gave the Lions the ball deep inside Lumberjack territory. SFA’s defense held firm though to set up Seth Sebastian with a 33-yard field goal attempt that the Lion sophomore knocked through to cut the lead to 14-10 with 3:51 remaining in the half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Crawford set up SFA at midfield with a 44-yard kickoff return. A 31-yard pass from Attaway to Cordell Roberson highlighted a six-play, 50-yard scoring drive. Crawford snagged a throw from Attaway to cap the drive and put the Lumberjacks up, 21-10, heading into the halftime break.

The two teams traded punts on the first two possessions of the third quarter. On Stephen F. Austin’s second drive of the half, a personal foul on junior T’Darryl Grays allowed SFA to move to the Lion 29-yard line. But on fourth-and-nine, Sutton picked up his first interception as a Lion to give Southeastern the ball back deep in their own territory.

Young finally put together a lengthy drive on the ensuing possession. A 23-yard pass from Young to Theodore highlighted an 11-play, 76-yard scoring march. Sebastian pulled the Lions within one score at 21-13 with 5:18 left in the third quarter.

The two teams traded empty possessions until early in the fourth quarter. Attaway found Hammond native and St. Thomas Aquinas product Ryan Gamble for a 45-yard touchdown to push the SFA lead to 28-13 with 13:52 left.

On the next play, Caleb Nelson seemingly put the game away with a jumping interception of a Young pass near midfield. Nelson ran the interception all the way back to the Lion three-yard line. However, Robert Alford picked off Attaway in the end zone to give the Lions the ball back.

On the drive, Southeastern marched 80 yards in nine plays to pull within eight points. Young kept the drive alive with an 18-yard scramble on fourth-and-one near midfield. On the next play, Young found Theodore in the back of the end zone on a 29-yard scoring throw to cut the lead to 28-20 with 10:35 left in regulation.

SFA marched right back down the field, as a 25-yard run by Johnson highlighted a drive that moved the Lumberjacks into field goal range. However, Wiggs’ 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right to keep Southeastern within one score.

The two teams once again traded three and outs, allowing Southeastern to take over at its own 13-yard line with 5:53 left. A 26-yard pass to Yarborough and a 30-yard run by Zeke Jones set Southeastern up with first and goal on the 10-yard line. However, SFA stiffened and Southeastern turned it over on downs after Willie Jefferson hit Young as he threw on fourth-and-goal, causing the Lion junior’s pass to fall incomplete.

SFA took over with just over two minutes to play. Jeremy Barnes rolled off two first down runs to allow the Lumberjacks to kill the clock and secure the victory.

Southeastern will close out the 2011 season on Thursday, when it hosts Nicholls State at 7 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium. Next Thursday’s contest will be televised on Cox Sports Television and broadcast in the Hammond area on KSLU-FM (90.9) and on the Internet at www.LionSports.net.

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