Lamar welcomes Southeastern La. for Southland opener
Sept. 27, 2012
BEAUMONT - Lamar University will look to stay perfect at home Saturday when the Cardinals welcome Southeastern Louisiana to Provost Umphrey Stadium for their Southland Conference football opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Not only is Lamar 2-0 at home, but the Cardinals have yet to give up a point in Provost Umphrey Stadium. The Cardinals (2-2 overall) have identical 31-0 victories over both Prairie View A&M and Langston heading into Saturday's contest.
Lamar is the first Southland Conference school to post back-to-back home shutouts since McNeese State in 1985. It is also the first time in the 49-year history of the league that a team has opened the season with back-to-back home shutouts.
The game will be televised on SLCTV and can be heard on KLVI 560 AM with Harold Mann providing the play-by-play and former LU linebacker Bo Brown serving as analyst.
Lamar is also offering Family Four Packs with each purchase getting four tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks and four candies for just $70. Tickets are available at the Montagne Center ticket office, by calling (409) 880-1715 or by visiting LamarCardinals.com.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two schools with Lamar holding a 3-1 series advantage. The only other game between the two in Beaumont was a 34-21 LU victory in 1967. Lamar and SLU have met in each of the last two years with Lamar winning 29-28 in 2010 and 48-38 last year.
"I just hope we get as much luck as we've had the last two years," said LU head coach Ray Woodardabout facing the Lions for the third straight season. "Both years we went down there and got wins but I felt very fortunate in both games. I thought we had a lot of things go right for us. Hopefully, we'll get that many breaks Saturday afternoon because we may need it. They're a very good football team."
Lamar has come from behind to win in each of the last two meetings. The Cardinals trailed 28-8 in 2010 before scoring three straight touchdowns in the second half to escape with the win behind the play of quarterback Andre Bevil.
It was Bevil once again in 2011 that put on an offensive display as Lamar overcame a 24-13 deficit to open Southland play 1-0. Bevil passed for 270 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another 77 yards, as Lamar finished with 561 yards of total offense.
The Cardinals are coming off an impressive defensive display against Langston in which the Lions managed just 163 total yards of offense and 92 passing yards. Lamar registered four sacks and seven other tackles for loss in blanking Langston for the second time in the last three seasons.
Junior defensive end Jesse Dickson had two sacks in the game and leads the Cardinals with five tackles for loss on the season. Fellow defensive lineman Mark Murrilladded three tackles for loss in the contest as Lamar controlled the line of scrimmage all game.
Linebacker Jermaine Longinoleads the Cards with 27 tackles on the year as Lamar is now ranked first in the Southland Conference in total defense allowing just 281.8 yards per game. The Cards are third in the league in scoring defense at 23.5 points per game allowed.
Offensively, sophomore wide receiver Kevin Johnsonposted his second three-touchdown game of the season. The Oklahoma State transfer, who added a 72-yard kickoff return against Langston, scored on passes of 34, 33 and 14 yards and now has a team-leading six touchdowns on the year.
Lamar's other score against Langston came on a 4-yard run by sophomore tailback Herschel Sims. Sims leads Lamar's ground game with 180 yards on the year and has two of the Cardinals' three rushing touchdowns this season.
Junior quarterback Ryan Mossakowskiis coming off a 239-yard passing day against the Lions. With his three touchdown tosses to Johnson, Mossakowski now has five scoring strikes on the year to go along with his 627 passing yards. Mossakowski is completing 63.8 percent of his pass attempts and has thrown just one interception on the year.
The Lions (1-3 overall, 1-0 in the Southland) are coming off an impressive 25-24 victory over McNeese State last week. SLU, which has a new head coach in Ron Roberts, overcame a 24-10 halftime deficit to knock off the Cowboys.
"Offensively, they have a lot of players back," said Woodard about the Lions. "A lot of their linemen were guys we saw last year and they blocked us pretty good last year. Defensively, they did a good job of slowing McNeese down and really shut them out the second half. I was really impressed with that.
"They really played well on both sides of the ball in the second half against McNeese. They have to feel like that's the best half of football they've played this season. I'm very impressed with what Coach Roberts has done. They are a well coached team."
SLU is third in the Southland in passing offense at 237.2 yards per game with senior quarterback Nathan Stanley connecting on 83-of-152 pass attempts for 882 yards and three touchdowns. Stanley had 247 passing yards and one touchdown in the McNeese victory.
The Lions have struggled against the run through four games, allowing just over 220 yards per game on the ground. SLU is giving up 35.0 points per game to rank seventh in the conference and the Lions are putting up just under 14 points per game.
Sophomore Stanley Moore leads a quartet of receivers who have double-digit catches with 15 receptions for 213 yards. Freshman Jeff Smiley has eight catches for 60 yards and leads the team with two touchdown grabs.
SLU senior linebacker Devan Walker is tied with Dickson for the Southland Conference lead in sacks with three. Sophomore linebacker Kaleb Muse leads the Lions in tackles with 32.