NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin football team got all it could handle from the Southeastern Louisiana Lions (2-8/0-6 SLC) Saturday evening, but the 'Jacks held on for a 28-20 victory. SFA sent the 2011 class of seniors off in victorious fashion on senior night, and pushed their current win streak to four heading into the season finale at Northwestern State.
In similar fashion to the previous games during the current win streak, the 'Jacks recorded 474 yards of total offense, including 162 on the ground, while holding their opponents to 292. The game appeared to be a blowout early as SFA jumped out to a 14-0 lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Lions made a couple of momentum changing plays to hang in the game.
The 'Jacks were driving the ball deep into SLU territory when sophomore Brady Attaway's pass was picked off by Frank Bryant and returned to the SFA one-yard line. Southeastern scored on the very next play. Midway through the second quarter the Lumberjacks had another miscue that Southeastern converted into points. SLU tacked on a field goal after a botched snap on 4th and 10 from the SFA 40-yard line. But the Lumberjacks closed out the half with a six-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a three-yard scoring strike to junior Gralyn Crawford, who became the school's all-time leader in receptions with his third catch in the game.
The Lions cut the 11-point deficit to eight with a field goal midway through the third quarter. SFA answered back when Attaway found Hammond, La., native, Ryan Gambel over the middle for a 45-yard touchdown reception to take a 15-point lead, 28-13. SFA appeared to be going for the knock out punch when sophomore Caleb Nelson picked off Brian Young pass and returned it 44 yards to the Lions' three-yard line, but SFA gave the ball right back on the next play when Attaway's pass to junior Cordell Roberson was picked off in the corner of the end zone. The Lions managed one more score in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 28-20, but could not get any closer
Attaway finished the night 25-of-52 for 312 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted four times on the night. He connected with nine different receivers, including sophomore Kris Lott who led the team with six catches for 94 yards. Sophomore Keith Lawson led the Lumberjacks' ground attack with 12 carries for 83 yards. Junior Jeremy Barnes added 11 carries for 51 yards.
The Lumberjacks will close out the 2011 season Saturday, Nov. 19th in Natchitoches, La., with the annual Battle for Chief Caddo. The game against the Demons is slated to begin at 3 p.m. and will be televised on the Southland Television Network.