BEAUMONT - For the second time in two home games, Lamar University wide receiver Kevin Johnson struck for three touchdowns as the Cardinals remained perfect at home with an impressive 31-0 football shutout of Langston on Saturday evening at Provost Umphrey Stadium.
The Cardinals, who evened their record at 2-2 and will open Southland Conference play next Saturday when Southeastern Louisiana visits, also handed a 31-0 shutout to Prairie View A&M in their only other home game this season.
While Johnson scored three times, it was fellow Oklahoma State transfer Herschel Sims who put the first points on the board. Sims, who finished with 47 yards on 10 carries, scored on a 4-yard run just 36 seconds into the game to cap a two play, 23-yard drive. Johnson set up the short first drive with a 72-yard return on the opening kickoff.
"Great way to start the game," said LU head coach Ray Woodard about the quick score. "You couldn't have asked for anything more. Big play, and then we got a good pass and run from Van (Franks) right off the bat and then a score. Boom boom boom, score. That's how you want to start the game and just what we needed."
The second Cardinal scoring drive was even quicker than the first as quarterback Ryan Mossakowski hit Johnson for a 34-yard touchdown to end the 1-play drive in five seconds. The play, which came at the 5:06 mark of the first quarter, was set up by a 5-yard punt by Langston's David DeHarde.
The Lions' (1-3) best scoring chance came early in the second quarter when they drove down to the Lamar 2-yard line. On third-and-goal, running back William Taylor fumbled and Lamar's Chad Allen recovered at the 6-yard line to quash the drive.
Lamar's defense was strong all night, limiting the Lions to just 163 total yards. The Cards got a blocked field goal from Joe Okafor in the second quarter, recovered a fumble, recorded 11 tackles for loss and picked up four sacks in the game. Junior defensive end Jesse Dickson finished with two of the sacks with Mark Murrill and James Washington registering one each.
The Cardinals got a 37-yard field goal out of Justin Stout with two seconds to play in the first half to give Lamar a 17-0 lead at the break.
Johnson, who now has six touchdowns on the season, helped Lamar extend its lead to 24-0 early in the third quarter. After forcing a punt, Lamar drove 49 yards with Johnson scoring from 14 yards out on a Mossakowski pass with 10:07 to play in the quarter.
Lamar's final touchdown came with 11 minutes to play in the game on the end of the longest drive of the game. Mossakowski found Johnson across the middle and the redshirt sophomore scampered 33 yards to score the final points.
The Cardinals' drive covered 71 yards on nine plays and took over five minutes off the clock. It would be the only time that Lamar held the ball for over four minutes in the game as Langston won the possession battle with 33:21.
"We did what we needed to do," said Woodard. "We needed to play well and take care of the football. I have to give Langston some credit. They played hard, and they didn't give up. I felt like we improved tonight. I think we took a step back against Hawaii, but we took another step forward tonight."
Johnson would catch four Mossakowski passes on the evening for 84 yards. Franks finished with six grabs for 73 yards, while fellow senior Barry Ford had five catches for 84 yards.
Mossakowski threw his first interception of the year, but still finished 23-of-36 for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Lamar would add 115 net rushing yards to finish with 327 total yards.
Langston quarterback Brendan Crawford was 11-of-21 for 79 yards before being knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter. Taylor led the Lions' ground game with 17 carries for 55 yards.