SLU welcomes Bethune-Cookman for football home opener

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BCU at SLU

HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana football team will open its 2017 home schedule on Saturday, when it closes non-conference play with a 7 p.m. contest versus Bethune-Cookman in Strawberry Stadium.

The Lions (0-1) and the visiting Wildcats (0-1) will both be looking for their first wins of the 2017 season. In last week’s opener, Southeastern fell just short in its upset bid of FBS foe UL Lafayette, dropping a 51-48 decision. BCU gave Miami (Fla.) fits in the first half before eventually falling, 41-13, to the nationally-ranked Hurricanes.

“We took a lot of positives from that first game, but obviously we’re not where we want to be yet,” Southeastern head coach Ron Roberts said. “We faced adversity throughout the game and we answered the challenge every time, so that was encouraging. The play of our offensive line and our ability to run the football really stands out as a highlight.”

Southeastern’s point total was the highest single-game output by the Lions versus an FBS opponent since the program returned in 2003. The Lions finished with 514 yards of total offense, including 343 rushing yards – the fifth-highest single-game rushing output since 2003.

The Lions’ top performer was senior Eugene Bethea. The running back from Boca Raton, Florida rushed for a career-high 187 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. His rushing total was the ninth-highest single-game output in school history.

Through the air, sophomore quarterback Lorenzo Nunez threw for 171 yards and connected on touchdown passes to junior Nih-Jer Jackson, sophomore Zeke Jenkins and sophomore Bransen Schwebel. Senior Juwan Dickey was the Lions’ first-time signal caller’s top target, as the all-conference wideout hauled in eight passes for 99 yards.

A lot of last week’s success can be attributed to the offensive line. The Lions showed their depth up front as nine different lineman saw action and helped clear the way for SLU’s offensive outburst.

Despite the offensive success against a Ragin’ Cajun squad that has been a perennial bowl team in recent years, Roberts says Bethune-Cookman presents its own challenges. The Lions will need a consistent performance to win their 14th home opener in their last 15 tries.

“We’re playing a very talented team on Saturday,” Roberts commented. “They are used to winning over there and we’re certainly going to have our hands full. We’re excited to get back in front of our fans in Strawberry Stadium and we’re expecting a great crowd on Saturday.”

Bethune-Cookman is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and will be looking for its first-ever win over a Southland Conference school. In the opener, the combination of Tupac Isme (seven carries, 43 yards) and Michael D. Jones (12-43-1 TD) were effective on the ground for BCU.

Larry Brihm Jr. completed 22 of 35 passes for 212 yards with an interception. Jones was his top receiver, catching seven passes for 51 yards out of the backfield.

The talented Hurricanes offense was able to manage 560 total yards against BCU, including 317 rushing. Diquan Richards led the Wildcats with 13 tackles.

The Lion defense allowed 363 yards versus UL Lafayette, as 16 of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ points came on special teams. Junior Sean Clavelle, senior Jonathan Lyles, senior Lee Spight and senior Sione Teuhema each had five tackles. Teuhema also led the Lions with two tackles for loss and a sack.

Saturday will also be Faculty, Family and Band Day at Strawberry Stadium. SLU faculty and staff will receive two free tickets with the presentation of their university ID at the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office. Local high school band and spirit members will join SLU’s Spirit of the Southland band for the halftime show. Fans are encouraged to get to the stadium early as the new Roomie will be revealed prior to kickoff. For more information visit www.LionSports.net/footballpromos.

Saturday is Southeastern’s final opportunity to tune up for Southland Conference play, as the Lions open league action next Saturday at Central Arkansas. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m. on the stripes in Conway, Arkansas. Like this week’s game, the game will be televised on Eleven Sports Network and streamed live on the Southland Digital Network at www.southland.org. A list of Eleven Sports Network availability is available at www.LionSports.net.

Bethune-Cookman (0-1) at Southeastern Louisiana (0-1)

Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 | 7 p.m. | Strawberry Stadium (7,500)

Series History: First Meeting

Last Meeting: n/a

Television: Eleven Sports Network

Announcers: Lyn Rollins and Butch Alsandor

Radio: Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU 90.9, Kajun 107.1, The Highway 104.7, WFPR 1400)

Announcers: Mark Willoughby, Robbie Rhodes and Allen Waddell

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