LU football team wants to get first SLC win Saturday
After back-to-back disappointments to start the Southland
Conference season, Lamar will look to get back on the winning track Saturday
when it travels to Southeastern Louisiana to face the Lions. Lamar is facing a
tough task as the Lions are one of the nation’s most underrated teams. The
Lions enter the week with a 5-2 (.714) overall record and a perfect 2-0 mark in
Southland Conference play after knocking off Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern
State. SLU has rattled off four consecutive wins. The Cardinals are 3-4 (.429)
overall, but have found a great deal of success in Hammond, La., since bringing
back the program. Lamar defeated the Lions in Hammond in 2010 and 2011.
“Obviously, our guys aren’t happy about being 0-2 in the
league,” said Lamar head coach Ray Woodard. “But we have to put that game
behind us because we are going to face an extremely talented team in
Southeastern Louisiana. You can’t step on the field thinking about last week or
Southeastern will make you pay.
“Coach (Ron) Roberts has gone into Hammond and done an
excellent job in a very short time. He, and his staff, always have their kids
ready to play, but he has also done a fine job in recruiting, to go along with
some very talented transfers,” added Woodard.
The Lion offense has been sparked this season by 6-3,
200-pound quarterback Bryan Bennett. A transfer from Oregon, Bennett is
currently third in the Southland in total offense averaging better than 273
yards per game. He has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,475 yards
(seven touchdowns), and also leads the team averaging 62 yards rushing per game
“This is a very dangerous team,” said Woodard. “Everyone
knows how good they are offensively, but if you look at the film, and then see
that they held Stephen F. Austin to only 14 points it lets you know they are
every bit as talented on the defensive end. Combine that with the fact that
they have the nation’s top return man, and it’s hard to find any weaknesses. I
don’t know why they are not in the top 25.”
Defensively, the Loins are holding opponents to 388 yards
of total offense per game, while surrendering less than 22 points per game. The
Lions’ defense is led by Kevin Harmon, Theo Alexander and Drew Misita who have
each recorded 36 tackles on the season.
Lamar also brings a strong defense into the contest. The
Cardinals enter Saturday’s game with the Southland’s most intimidating defense.
Lamar leads the league in total defense (325.1 ypg), pass defense (153.6 ypg)
and scoring defense (20.3). The defense is being led by Houston senior Jesse
Dickson. He is currently ranked sixth in the Southland in total tackles, but he
is the only defensive lineman among the league’s top 20 in tackles. Dickson has
become very recognizable in the opposing backfield as well leading the league
in tackles for losses (9.5), and currently tied for second in sacks (5.0).
“Lamar is a very good football team,” said SLU’s Coach
Roberts. “They grab your attention as soon as you turn on the film. Our sights
are firmly on Lamar.”
Lamar junior quarterback Caleb Berry may have found a new
favorite target in sophomore Reggie Begelton. The Beaumont native hauled in 11
passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns against Central Arkansas, all of which
were career highs for Begelton. He is currently third in the league averaging
5.6 receptions per game and eighth in the league with nearly 60 receiving yards
A couple of factors that could play heavily into
Saturday’s matchup could be penalties and turnovers. The Cardinals are becoming
known as a team that does not make many mistakes throughout the course of a
game, while Southeastern has struggled in both areas at different times of the
season. Lamar is the league’s least penalized team, and ranks second in the
conference in turnover margin, while the Lions rank near the bottom in both
categories, including seventh in turnover margin.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3. Fans wishing
to view the game online can do so by clicking here.
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 11:23 AM CDT