Oct. 1, 2011
HAMMOND, La. - Lamar University rallied for 28 unanswered points in the second half Saturday afternoon and went to post a 48-38 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in the Cardinals' first Southland Conference football game since the 1986 season.
The four-touchdown spurt erased a 24-13 SLU lead and gave the Cardinals a 41-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Lions cut their deficit to 41-31 on Brian Young's 1-yard touchdown sneak, but the Cardinals responded with Andre Bevil's second play-action pass for a score, this one a 29-yarder to Marcus Jackson.
In defeating the Lions on the road for the second-straight season, the Cardinals received a four-touchdown, 270-yard passing effort from Bevil, who completed 19 of 32 atttempts with one interception. Jackson caught two touchdown passes and threw another of 62 yards to split end J.J. Hayes after catching a lateral from Bevil.
Bevil's other scoring passes went for 44 yards to Jackson, 32 yards to running back Mike Venson and 2 yards to tight end Paden McVey. Venson rushed for a season-high 84 yards on 27 carries and added four receptions for 54 yards. Also, backup running back Octavious Logan netted 70 rushing yards and logged touchdown runs of 4 and 6 yards.
Jackson finished with a career-high 123 receiving yards on five catches, and Hayes, who was playing in his 13th game as a Cardinal went over the 1,000-yard barrier with 92 yards on four catches, giving him 66 catches for 1,057 yards for his Cardinal career.
Lamar's defenders helped the offense by coming up with a fumble recovery inside the 10-yard line by linebacker James Washington, another fumble recovery by linebacker Asim Hicks and with interceptions by linebacker Jacody Coleman, cornerback Adrian Guillory and free safety Ryan Clark.
The victory, achieved before a Strawberry Stadium crowd of 5,104, moved coach Ray Woodard's
Cardinals to 3-1 on the season, while the Lions dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in the SLC.
"I would like to say it was good coaching and good schemes but it wasn't," said Woodard. These players played their butts off, and they deserved it.
"I think the fact that we'd won over here last year, we didn't panic. I think we matured a little bit. Both sides really kept the other side in it. They kept each other in the ball game all day.
"Starting in the second half, we played closer to perfect than they (the Lions) did. We didn't play perfect, but they had a heck of a lot more turnovers than we did (five to the Cardinals' two). We played a very good second half."
In easily their most impressive offensive display of the fall, the Cardinals compiled season-highs of 25 first downs, 229 rushing yards, 332 passing yards and 561 total yards.
"Venson) got better as the game went on," said Woodard. "They (the Lions) were very strong in the first half, fresh. I think they got a little tired in the second half and that made it easier to run in the second half. He had a really good second half.
"Andre Bevil played his butt off today-- just running around and making plays. The kid has really come a long way. Andre is doing a better job of staying in the pocket this year, because we're giving him extra time, but we thought we needed to get him out on the edge.
"Andre throws the ball on the run better than anyone I've ever coached. We said let's let him run around and make some plays.
"This is a tough place to play. This is a good environment for football."
Lamar's defense dodged a bullet on SLU's first offensive position as Hicks forced the fumble that Washington recovered at the Cardinal 5-yard line with 12:33 left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals weren't so fortunate on the Lions' second possession as a 41-yard pass from Young to Kory Theodore quickly moved the hosts into the red zone. A penalty and a sack pushed the Lions back to the 26-yard line, but running back Sam Fairley took the ball up the middle on the next play and rambled practically untouched for the game's first touchdown.
Kollin Kahler's 72-yard punt - third-longest in school history - swung the field position in Lamar's favor later in the quarter, and the Cardinals quickly took advantage. Two plays after the Lions punted, Bevil connected over the middle to Jackson for the 44-yard touchdown that pulled the Cardinals to within 7-6, but the Lions blocked Justin Stout's conversion attempt to preserve their one-point edge with 4:53 remaining in the period.
Jordan Wells' 67-yard return on the ensuing kickoff shifted the momentum back to the Lions, but the Cardinals escaped this threat when Hicks recovered a Zeke Jones fumble at the 7-yard line with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
Bevil then guided the Cardinals on their 11-play, 93-yard drive to the go-ahead touchdown. He helped keep it alive with a 25-yard, third-down scramble to the Lions' 36-yard line on the second play of the second quarter. Two plays later, Bevil broke free of a would-be tackler's grasp and completed a clutch 27-yard pass over the middle to Jackson.
After a 9-yard Bevil-to-Kendrick Prejean gained the Lions' 4-yard line three plays later, Logan took the ball up the middle for the touchdown that gave the Cardinals a 13-7 lead with 11:55 left in the first half.
Eight seconds after returning the ensuing kickoff, the Lions regained the lead on Young's 51-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Collins. Moments later, cornerback Robert Alford intercepted a Bevil pass deep in Lamar territory, but the Cardinals were successful in holding the Lions to Sebastian's 40-yard field goal that made it 17-13 with 10:27 left in the second quarter.
Sebastian later missed wide right on a 50-yard field goal attempt, and the teams traded possessions for the remainder of the half that ended one play after Jacody Coleman's second interception of the season.
With eight, Lamar had one more first down at the half, but the Lions outgained the Cardinals 231-177 in total yards
The Lions gained a little separation on their second possession of the second half as they drove 60 yards on five plays to seize a 24-13 lead. LaTraun Weary capped the push with a 38-yard run on his first carry of the afternoon with 8:30 left in the third quarter.
Keeping the ball mainly on the ground, the Cardinals answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ignited the game-turning 28-point streak and reduced their lead to 24-20. Along the way the Cardinals received first-down runs of 13 yards by Venson and 7 yards by Bevil.
Bevil also completed a 15-yard, first-down pass to Venson on the drive, and the Cardinals gained a first down at the 2-yard line on a pass interference infraction. Bevil then found McVey open in the back end of the north end zone on the next play with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
Defensive tackle Mario Foster came up with a huge behind-the-line stop of Fairley on a fourth-and-one play on the Lions' next possession, and the Cardinals struck for the Jackson-to-Hayes bomb on the very next play.
On the second play of the final quarter, Bevil executed an excellent play-action pass to the wide-open Venson for the 32-yard score that increased the Cardinals' advantage to 34-24.
Clark's pivotal interception came at the Lions' 41-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and he returned it to the 24. On first down, Bevil carried the ball around right end for an 18-yard gain, and Logan rammed his way off right tackle for the final six yards to run the score to 41-24 with 13:25 remaining.