SFA Hosts Houston Baptist in 2015 Home Finale Saturday

SFA Hosts Houston Baptist in 2015 Home Finale Saturday

Stephen F. Austin closes out the 2015 home schedule with a showdown with Southland Conference newcomer Houston Baptist Saturday, November 14th at 3 p.m. It is Houston Baptist's first-ever trip to Nacogdoches as Saturday's game is Military Appreciation Day as well as Senior Day.

Lumberjack fans unable to make it to Homer Bryce Stadium for the 2015 home finale will still be able to stay up to date on every SFA play. Saturday's game against Houston Baptist will once again be streamed live on ESPN3.com and will also be available through the WatchESPN app. Rob Meyers will have the call of the game on the radio at Q107.7 FM as fans can listen online at Q1077.com. Live stats will be available through SFAJacks.com with in-game Twitter updates available @SFA_Football.

14 Lumberjack seniors will be playing in their final home game at Homer Bryce Stadium this afternoon when SFA takes on Houston Baptist. WR Braxton Bearden, P Nick Bruno, DT Donald Bryant, OL David Dane, RB Fred Ford, CB Demundre Freeman, DT Shayvion Hatten, K Mason Juhl, S Alex Miller, LB Justin Owens, DT Lance Skyler, WR Aaron Thomas, OL Terran Vaughnand OL Byron Williams will be recognized prior to Saturday's game as nine of the 14 have been significant contributors for the last four seasons in Nacogdoches.

Saturday's weather forecast is looking like a great day for football. The forecast is calling for sunny skies with temperatures in the low 60s as the Lumberjacks and Huskies look to avoid the rain that has plagued the last few weekends. Winds and precipitation shouldn't factor into the game plan with winds expected to be calm and precipitation chances are at 10%.

2015: 2-7 overall, 0-6 Southland Conference
Last Three Games: L vs. Lamar (55-7), L vs. Southeastern Louisiana (22-7), L at Nicholls (38-17)
Head Coach: Vic Shealy (Richmond, 1984). Third season at HBU (4-16, .200); Sixth season overall (31-30-1, .508)
Key Offensive Players:
• #6 Max Staver (So., QB): 68-of-147 (46.3%) for 875 yds., 4 TDs, 4 INTs
• #8 Terrance Peters (So., RB): 88 rushes for 540 yds. (6.1 avg.), 2 TDs
• #5 B.J. Kelly (So., RB): 50 rushes for 214 yds. (4.3 avg.), 5 TDs
• #16 D'Angelo Wallace (So., WR): 21 catches for 259 yds. (12.3 avg.), 1 TD
• #81 Wesley Lewis (So., WR): 19 catches for 235 yds. (12.4 avg.), 1 TD
Key Defensive Players:
• #40 Garrett Dolan (So., LB): 79 tackles (30 solo), 5.0 TFL, 0.5 sack, 2 FF, 1 FR
• #22 Cody Moncure (So., LB): 72 tackles (32 solo), 6.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 PBU
• #3 LaTravien Gee (So., S): 52 tackles (20 solo), 1 INT, 4 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR
• #20 Dorrin Turner (Jr., LB): 49 tackles (27 solo), 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 PBU
• #46 Josh Jones (Sr., DE): 33 tackles (11 solo), 5.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF
Synopsis: Houston Baptist enters the weekend at 2-7 on the year and is still seeking its first Southland Conference victory, sitting at 0-6. The Huskies had a bye week following their 55-7 loss to Lamar on Oct. 31 as HBU is currently riding a four game losing skid after defeating College of Faith 65-0 on Oct. 3, a game which did not count in the statistical totals. Offensively, Houston Baptist is averaging 16.8 and 296.9 yards of total offense per game, rushing for 140.8 and passing for 156.1. Transfer QB Max Staver leads the offense throwing for 875 yards on the year with RB Terrance Peters rushing for 540 yards. Defensively, the Huskies are giving up 38.9 points and 451.6 yards per game, giving up 222.0 yards on the ground and 229.6 yards through the air. LB Garrett Dolan has once again guided the HBU defensive unit with 79 tackles on the year, ranking among the SLC leaders, with fellow LB Cody Moncure adding 72 tackles with six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, giving the Huskies two of the top four tacklers in the Southland Conference.

Stephen F. Austin and Houston Baptist meet for just the second time as SFA defeated HBU 59-27 in Houston in 2014. The Lumberjacks raced out to a 31-6 lead early in the second quarter then cruised to the victory, led by 133 rushing yards and three touchdowns from RB Gus Johnson and 12 tackles from LB Collin Garrett.

SFA held a 24-17 lead late in the third quarter over host Central Arkansas Saturday, but 19 unanswered points by the Bears in a seven and a half minute span turned the tide as the Lumberjacks dropped a 36-24 decision at Estes Stadium. The loss snapped SFA's three-game winning streak and spoiled head coach Clint Conque's return to "The Stripes." QB Zach Conquethrew for 279 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for another as RB Joshawa Westracked up 90 yards on the ground for the Lumberjacks. Justin Owens recorded his fourth double-digit tackle total, finishing with 11 against the Bears, while Mason Juhl went three-for-three in field goal attempts.

One of the goals of head coach Clint Conque's offensive game plan has been balance in both the rushing and passing games. Through nine games this season, SFA is averaging 202.3 rushing yards and 213.0 passing yard per game with a number of players contributing on both sides. On the ground, three different players have rushed for over 450 yards, comprised of Loren Easly (616), Joshawa West (484) and Zach Conque (435). When it comes to the receiving corps, five different players have over 200 receiving yards on the season, includingRobert Sylvester (334), Aaron Piper (322), De'Quann Ruffin (266), Justice Liggins (250) andAaron Thomas (210). West (176) and Judah Jones (175) are on the verge of bringing that total to seven different receivers, giving SFA defenders a handful when it comes to preparation.

Senior K Mason Juhl has come on strong in the last two games, providing the Lumberjacks with some much-needed confidence in the kicking game. Heading into the Incarnate Word game, SFA  hadn't made a field goal all season, but in the two games since Juhl has been a perfect 5-for-5, including a career-long 48 yarder against Incarnate Word. Juhl connected on all three of his field goal attempts at Central Arkansas and has now made six of his seven field goal attempts during his SFA career.

Junior QB Zach Conque had another modest performance in the win over Incarnate Word Saturday, completing 26 of his 48 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 18 yards and a score. He continues to emerge as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country as he is one of just six quarterbacks at the Division I level (FBS and FCS) that has both passed and rushed for at least 20 touchdowns since the start of the 2014 season, joined by Cal Poly's Chris Brown, Chattanooga's Jacob Huesmann, Houston's Greg Ward Jr. and Mississippi State's Dak Prescott . With his efforts over the weekend, Conque is now in sole possession of sixth all-time in career rushing touchdowns (21) and completions (397), while moving into eighth all-time in career passing yards (4,228). He is all alone in ninth in career passing touchdowns (27) while sitting eighth in career total offense (5,307).

Entering 2015, head coach Clint Conque hinted that sophomore WRs Aaron Piper and Robert Sylvester would both be major factors in the SFA passing game, and that has proven to be the case. Through the first nine games of the season, the two have very similar statistics with Piper catching 37 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns, complemented by Sylvester's 36 catches for 334 yards and a touchdown. The duo are among the SLC leaders in receptions per game (Piper is seventh and Sylvester is tied for eighth) and headline a very balanced SFA receiving corps comprised of seven receivers with at least 175 receiving yards.

Senior LB Justin Owens has emerged as the leader of the Lumberjack linebacking corps as the senior leads the team with 77 total tackles, 33 more than second-place Patrick Martin's 44. 37 of Owens' stops have been unassisted as he has added a pair of tackles for loss, two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry, bringing his two-year SFA total to 157 stops. The Brea, California, native ranks among the SLC leaders, sitting seventh in the conference in tackles per game (8.6).

Sophomore DB Marlon Walls has been named an Academic All-District selection by the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The Pearland native boasts a perfect 4.00 GPA in engineering physics and has been a solid contributor for the Lumberjacks this season, registering 18 tackles with 14 solo stops. He also has logged a pair of interceptions, including one off TCU's Trevone Boykin as well as the 13-yard pick-six to cap the victory over Incarnate Word on Homecoming. He was one of just six Southland Conference players to earn the distinction and now becomes eligible for Academic All-America consideration later this season.

Since Homer Bryce Stadium opened in 1973, SFA has enjoyed a great deal of success between the hills. The Lumberjacks have compiled a 150-99-2 (.602) record at home, earning their 150th win at Homer Bryce with the 55-21 victory over Incarnate Word on Oct. 31st. The 'Jacks have notched a winning home record in 28 of the 42 seasons Homer Bryce Stadium has served as the 'Jacks' home field, needing a win over HBU to clinch the 29th winning season at home. SFA has been especially tough at home in recent years, posting a 29-10 (.744) record since the start of the 2009 season. The Lumberjacks have enjoyed six perfect home seasons at Homer Bryce (1979, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2009 and 2012) and are 4-1 (.800) at home in NCAA postseason games.

November 14th has historically not been kind to the Lumberjacks as SFA is just 1-10 all-time on the date. SFA's first win on November 14th came in 2009, winning 41-10 at Southeastern Louisiana, as the Lumberjacks will be playing just their third home November 14th game, falling to Texas State 7-3 in 1987 and 6-0 to Sam Houston State in 1959.

Stephen F. Austin closes out the 2015 season on the road next week, traveling to Natchitoches for a showdown with border rival Northwestern State on Saturday, November 21st. The game against the Demons marks the 50th Battle for Chief Caddo as the Lumberjacks look to win the Chief for the sixth time in the last seven years. Kickoff at Turpin Stadium is set for 3 p.m.