HAMMOND, La. –– The No. 21/24 Southeastern Louisiana University football team scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 48-14 nonconference win over Murray State Saturday evening in Strawberry Stadium.
Southeastern (3-2) extended its winning streak to three games with Saturday’s victory. The Lions outgained the visiting Racers (0-5), 496-354, to keep Murray State winless on the season.
Eli Sawyer (14-for-21, 234 yards, 1 TD) and Cephus Johnson III (7-for-9, 61 yards, 1 TD) split time under center for the Lions. The SLU duo’s top target was Gage Larvadain, who finished with eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Terrell Carter also grabbed four passes for 54 yards and his first touchdown reception as a Lion.
On the ground, Carlos Washington Jr. carried 11 times for 72 yards to lead SLU. Jessie Britt paced Southeastern with two rushing touchdowns, while Johnson III and Taron Jones also found the end zone.
On the defensive side, Donte’ Daniels led the Lions with seven tackles. Herman Christophe recorded his second interception of the season, while Daniels, Kaleb Proctor, Anthony Britton Jr., Josh Randall and Tyrik Mitchell each contributed to sacks. Ferlando Jordan, Jack Henderson and Coryell Pierce broke up two passes apiece for the Lions.
Murray State quarterback Jayden Stinson completed 20-of-44 passes for 292 yards, two touchdowns and an interception with Quindarrius Mayes (eight catches, 108 yards, 1 TD) and Taylor Shields (3-107-1 TD) serving as his top targets. Damonta Witherspoon led the Racers with 74 yards on 17 carries.
After forcing a Murray State punt on the game’s first drive, the Lions jumped on the board first. Larvadain ran under a 37-yard scoring toss from Johnson III to give SLU a 7-0 advantage with 10:22 left in the opening quarter.
The two teams traded punts until SLU doubled its lead in the second quarter. A 46-yard catch-and-run by Anthony Spurlock from Sawyer set up a 15-yard touchdown run by Johnson III that gave the Lions a 14-0 lead with 8:30 remaining in the half.
Murray State got on the board in the waning minutes of the second quarter. The Racers cut the lead in half on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Stinson to Mayes with 2:44 left in the period.
Southeastern drove into Racer territory on its final drive of the second quarter. A 36-yard Riley Callaghan field goal sent the Lions into the half with a 17-7 cushion.
The Lions and Racers traded three-and-outs to start the second half. SLU extended its lead with an 11-play, 55-yard scoring march. Callaghan connected from 43 yards out to make it 20-7 with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
Murray State cut into the lead with a big play in the latter part of the third quarter. Shields hauled in a slant pass from Stinson, broke a tackle and housed it from 84 yards out to pull the Racers within, 20-14, with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Southeastern added to its advantage early in the final quarter. Carter hauled in an 18-yard scoring pass from Sawyer to give SLU a 27-14 advantage with 14:09 left in the contest.
After turning over Murray State on downs, the Lions put the game away with an eight-play, 63-yard scoring drive. Britt snaked in from nine yards out to give Southeastern a 34-14 cushion with 8:36 left.
On the next drive, Christophe intercepted Stinson at the Racer 26-yard line. Four plays later, Britt danced in from seven yards out to put SLU up, 41-14, with 6:10 remaining. Jones closed out the scoring with a one-yard plunge with 33 seconds left to provide the final margin.
Southeastern will close out its four-game home stand next Saturday, hosting Texas A&M-Commerce in a 4 p.m. Southland Conference contest for Homecoming.
*Courtesy Southeastern Louisiana University Sports Information