Final road trip of 2016 sends Lumberjacks to Houston to battle Huskies

Final road trip of 2016 sends Lumberjacks to Houston to battle Huskies

SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)

Stephen F. Austin hits the road for the final time in 2016, making its second trip to Houston Saturday for a showdown with Houston Baptist. The game against the Huskies kicks at 2 p.m. from Husky Stadium.

Saturday's game at Houston Baptist will be streamed live online at ESPN3, available online at or through the WatchESPN app on mobile devices. Rob Meyers, the voice of the Lumberjacks, will call the game along with analyst Tyler DePascal on Q107.7 FM, available online at as well as through the Lumberjack Sports Network on the TuneIn app. Live stats will be available at, complemented by Twitter updates @SFA_Football.

The return to the Houston area will mark a Homecoming of sorts for a large contingent of Lumberjacks as SFA boasts 25 players from the Houston/Southeast Texas area, comprising the largest geographic total on the team. A major recruiting target for head coach Clint Conque, the 'Jacks have four players on the roster from the actual city of Houston (Loren Easly, Anthony Jacobs, Devonte Jones and Trevon Smith), with seven players hailing from the suburb of Pearland (Jake Blumrick, Zach Kanipes, Braxton Kelly, Jonathan Sam, Marlon Walls, Cody Williams and Ryan  Woods). Of the 25 Houston-area Lumberjacks, 14 are listed among the projected two deep with five expected to start (RB Joshawa West - Angleton; OL Josh Keith - Katy; DE Kedrick Harrison - Coldspring; DT Mitchel Zimmerle - Danbury; S Marlon Walls - Pearland).

2016: 3-6 overall, 2-4 Southland Conference (T-8th)
Last Three Games: L at UTEP (42-10), W at Lamar (24-17), L at Southeastern Louisiana (37-3)
Head Coach: Vic Shealy (Richmond, 1984). Fourth season at HBU (10-28, .263); Sixth season overall (37-42-1, .469)
Key Offensive Players:
• #11 Tony Dawson (Sr., QB): 110-of-231 passing (47.6%) for 1,345 yds., 5 TDs, 2 INTs; 104 rushes for 513 yds. (4.9 avg.), 2 TDs
• #8 Terrance Peters (Jr., RB): 114 rushes for 579 yds. (4.8 avg.), 4 TDs; 14 catches for 186 yds. (13.3 avg.), 1 TD
• #5 B.J. Kelly (Jr., RB): 96 rushes for 319 yds. (3.3 avg.), 2 TDs
• #81 Wesley Lewis (Jr., WR): 22 catches for 325 yds. (14.8 avg.), 1 TD
• #1 Isaiah Hall (Jr., WR): 26 catches for 223 yds. (8.6 avg.), 1 TD
Key Defensive Players:
• #40 Garrett Dolan (Jr., LB): 114 tackles (40 solo), 14.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 QBH, 2 FF
• #20 Dorrin Turner (Sr., LB): 56 tackles (28 solo), 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 1 INT, 1 QBH
• #22 Cody Moncure (Jr., LB): 50 tackles (20 solo), 7.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 PBU
• #8 Terrance Manderville (Sr., LB): 36 tackles (12 solo), 6.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FR
• #49 Andre Walker (Fr., DE): 31 tackles (10 solo), 8.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 QBH
Synopsis: Houston Baptist enters the weekend at 3-6 overall and 2-4 in Southland Conference play, coming off a 42-10 loss at UTEP in non-conference action. The Huskies have played three-straight road games, getting their first SLC road win in a 24-17 victory at Lamar two weeks ago. Offensively, HBU is averaging 16.7 points and 346.1 yards per game, running a balanced offense that averages 177.4 rushing and 168.7 passing yards. QB Tony Dawson is a dual-threat option, passing for 1,345 yards and ranking second on the team with 513 rushing yards, accounting for seven total touchdowns. RB Terrance Peters leads the Huskies with 543 rushing yards with WR Wesley Lewis the top receiving threat with 22 catches for 325 yards. Defensively, Houston Baptist is allowing 36.8 yards and 451.2 yards per game, giving up 245.9 passing yards and 205.3 yards on the ground. LB Garrett Dolan continues to pace the Husky defense, leading the Southland Conference with 114 tackles (12.7 tackles per game). LB Dorrin Turner ranks second with 56 tackles and has snagged HBU's lone interception of the year with LB Terrance Manderville and DE Andre Walker combining to register 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks between the two of them.

Saturday's game will be the third-ever meeting between Stephen F. Austin and Houston Baptist with the Lumberjacks winning the previous two games. SFA defeated HBU 59-27 in Houston in 2014, opening up a 24-6 lead after the first quarter before putting the game away in the fourth quarter. Last season the Lumberjacks earned a 55-20 victory over the Huskies, using a 35-3 run in the second half to break the game open and finishing with 671 yards of total offense.

Stephen F. Austin struck first and battled 17th-ranked Central Arkansas to a draw midway through the second quarter Saturday, but the Bears scored the game's final 20 points and used a stout defensive attack to hand the Lumberjacks a 34-14 loss on Homecoming. SFA was able to force six UCA turnovers in the game, including one on four-straight Central Arkansas possessions in the second half, but was only able to manage seven points off the six takeaways. QB Zach Conque scored both touchdowns for SFA, rushing it in twice in the first half, and finished with 293 yards of total offense as WR Justice Liggins set a career-high with 114 receiving yards on eight receptions. Defensively, CB Tarrin Mitchell had a strong performance, accounting for three of UCA's six turnovers, as LBs Price Miller (16 tackles) and George Stone (14 tackles) both set career-highs in tackles, combining for 30 in the game.

QB Zach Conque reached another career milestone against Central Arkansas Saturday, becoming the first player in program history to reach 6,000 passing and 1,000 rushing yards for his career. Conque upped his career passing yards to 6,198, moving into fifth all-time in career passing yards, while moving into third all-time in career completions (562). His two rushing touchdown also moved him into sole possession of second all-time with 34, sitting second only to former teammate Gus Johnson's 51 rushing touchdowns from 2011-14. Conque also ranks among the all-time top-10 in three other categories, sitting fourth in total offense (7,626 yards), seventh in passing touchdowns (41) and eighth in career scoring (212) while ranking 19th all-time in career rushing yards (1,428), already earning the distinction of SFA's all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks. Conque has accounted for 76 touchdowns during his SFA career as well, ranking third all-time.

Arguably one of the strengths of the Lumberjacks the last few seasons has been the play of its defensive line, and 2016 has been no exception, anchored by veterans Kedrick Harrison and John Franklin. The duo has combined to register 26 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks, ranking among the Southland Conference leaders in both categories. Led by their efforts, Stephen F. Austin ranks eighth nationally in sacks per game (3.11) and 19th in tackles for loss (7.2) as Harrison is fifth in program history in career tackles for loss (34.5) and eighth in career sacks (18.0).

WR Justice Liggins had a career-best game against 17th-ranked Central Arkansas Saturday, joining an elite club in the process. Liggins finished with eight catches for a personal-best 114 yards against the Bears, upping his career receiving total to 1,089 yards and becoming the 37th player to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards. The Tyler native is the first to join the club since former teammate Marquis Mosley in 2014 as Liggins currently ranks 34th all-time, having his best season as a Lumberjack with 45 catches for 564 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Senior RB Joshawa West continues to add to his reputation as the Lumberjacks "do-it-all player." Through the first nine games of 2016, West has generated 429 rushing, 130 receiving and 167 return yards, giving him 726 all-purpose yards for the Lumberjacks. It is a role he has embraced throughout his SFA career as the senior has accounted for 1,544 rushing yards, 541 receiving yards and 679 return yards, giving him 2,764 career all-purpose yards and sitting on the brink of cracking the program's all-time top 10. 

SFA boasts a unique distinction of having three members of the Lumberjack 1,000-yard rushing club on its current roster. RB Joshawa West has rushed for 1,544 yards, ranking 16th all-time, with QB Zach Conque tallying 1,428 rushing yards (19th) and RB Loren Easly sitting at 1,187 rushing yards (23rd), giving the trio a combined career rushing tally of 4,159 yards, averaging just shy of five yards per carry between them, with 47 career touchdowns.

Stephen F. Austin has quietly become one of the nation's top teams in takeaways, forcing six turnovers in Saturday's game against Central Arkansas. The Lumberjacks had three interceptions and forced three Bear fumbles, their second six-turnover output of the season after forcing five fumbles and an interception against Abilene Christian on Sept. 24. On the season, SFA leads the nation in fumbles recovered (13) and is fifth in turnovers gained (23), generating three or more turnovers in four games this season.

LBs Price Miller and George Stone anchored SFA's defensive unit Saturday against Central Arkansas as the duo each posted career-highs in tackles. Miller finished with a game-best 16 tackles, including three solo stops, while Stone added 14 tackles with four solo tackles and a forced fumble. It is the fourth time this season Stone has recorded double-digit tackle totals and the second for Miller as the linebacker duo lead the Lumberjacks in tackles in 2016, registering 72 and 71 stops, respectively.

S Marlon Walls was named a repeat selection to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VII first team this past week, recognizing his efforts both on the field and in the classroom. Walls ranks third on the Lumberjacks with 50 total tackles on the year, a new personal-best, with three pass breakups and a forced fumble. An AFCA Good Works Team nominee, Walls has succeeded in the classroom as well, posting a 4.00 GPA majoring in engineering physics and earning the prestigious Brian Patrick Hanson Memorial Scholarship, given annually to the SFA physics major with the highest GPA in advanced physics classes.

Entering the final month of the 2016 season, Stephen F. Austin finds itself among the national FCS leaders in a number of categories. As a team, the Lumberjacks lead the nation in fumbles recovered, pouncing on 13 on the year, while ranking fifth in turnovers gained (23), eighth in sacks per game (3.11), 15th in passing offense (283.1),18th in punt return average (13.5) and 19th in tackles for loss per game (7.2). Individually, PR Trae Hart ranks eighth in punt return average (13.9), QB Zach Conque is 11th in rushing touchdowns (10), DE John Franklin is 11th in forced fumbles (4) with DE Kedrick Harrison 15th in sacks per game (.83).

Stephen F. Austin head coach Clint Conque, the elder statesmen of current Southland Conference coaches, has etched his name among the all-time coaching leaders in SLC history. With his three conference victories in 2016, Conque has upped his career total to 45 SLC wins, moving into fourth all-time in conference history. He trails Northwestern State's Sam Goodwin's 49 victories from 1987-99 for third all-time and is nine wins shy of former McNeese head coach Matt Viator's all-time conference record 54 wins from 2006-2015.

Saturday's game will be the 14th time Stephen F. Austin has suited up for a game on November 12th as the Lumberjacks are 6-6-1 all-time on the date. SFA has won its last four games on November 12th, the last of which was a 28-20 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in 2011, with the Lumberjacks going 2-6-1 in road games.