Eastern Washington pulls away late for 40-29 win over SLU

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SLU at EWU football

CHENEY, Wash. – Eastern Washington scored the game’s final 14 points with under two minutes remaining to down No. 19/22 Southeastern Louisiana University in nonconference football action Saturday afternoon at Roos Field.

Southeastern (0-3) took a 29-26 lead with 539 remaining in the contest. However, EWU (1-2) answered with a scoring drive and then recorded a pick six to clinch the game on the next Lions’ offensive play.

Zachary Clement (10-for-19, 80 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) and Eli Sawyer (3-for-4, 61 yards, 1 TD) shared time under center. Bauer Sharp caught a touchdown pass from each SLU quarterback, while Jacob Logan also found the end zone. Harlan Dixon led the Lions with 71 yards on 18 carries, while Clement rushed for his first score as a Lion.

Herman Christophe IV led the Southeastern defense with 15 tackles, while Ian Goodly (10 stops) posted his third straight double-digit tackle performance to start the season. Arlen Williams recorded two sacks for the Lions, while Tylon Cooper gathered his first career interception.

EWU quarterback Kekoa Visperas completed 33-for-47 passes for two touchdowns and an interception with Efton Chism III (nine catches, 103 yards, 1 TD) and Nolan Ulm (9-89-1 TD) serving as hit top targets, as the Eagles racked up 530 total yards.

Cyrus Zuell took the opening kickoff back 56 yards to the Eastern Washington 44-yard line to set up the Lions’ opening drive. Four plays later, Clement scampered in from seven yards out to give SLU an early 7-0 lead less than two minutes in.

The Eagles answered with a 15-play, 75-yard scoring march. Vispearas found Chism III from three yards out to tie the score with 7:35 left in the opening period.

After a SLU three-and-out, Eastern Washington marched back into Southeastern territory. The Lion defense stiffened and forced a 28-yard field goal try by Soren McKee. Tyrone Legette broke three and blocked the field goal try to keep the score at 7-7.

Eastern Washington took its next drive deep in Lion territory, but Shemar Pearl and Anthony Britton Jr. stuffed a fourth-and-short attempt to turn the Eagles over on downs.

Sawyer connected with Darius Lewis for a 54-yard reception on his first pass of the game. Four plays later, Sawyer capped the drive with a three-yard scoring toss to Sharp to give SLU a 14-7 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the opening half.

Eastern Washington answered with a 70-yard scoring drive that took just under five minutes off the clock. McKee connected on a 26-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 with 2:03 left.

After SLU went three-and-out, EWU grabbed the lead heading into the break. Visperas connected on a five-yard touchdown pass to Ulm to give the Eagles a 17-14 halftime advantage.

The two teams traded punts to open the third quarter. Eastern Washington extended the lead to 20-14 on a 39-yard McKee field goal with 6:17 remaining in the third quarter.

After a SLU pick, Cooper picked off Visperas at the Eastern Washington 30-yard line. Nine plays later, Sharp grabbed a one-yard scoring toss from Clement to put SLU back up, 21-20, heading into the final quarter.

Eastern Washington took the opening drive of the fourth quarter 85 yards on 10 plays to retake the lead. Justice Jackson bulled in from seven yards out to put EWU up, 26-21, with 11:22 left, as the Eagles failed on the two-point conversion attempt.

SLU answered with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring march to retake the lead. Clement found Jacob Logan from 19 yards out and then connected with Lewis on the two-point try to put the Lions up, 29-26, with 5:39 left.

Eastern Washington answered with a 75-yard scoring march of its own to retake the lead. Tuna Altahir slid in from a yard out to put EWU up, 33-29, with 1:34 remaining.

On the next play, the Eagles clinched it as Marlon Jones Jr. intercepted a Clement pass and returned it 34 yards to give EWU a 40-29 advantage in a score that resulted in the final margin.

Southeastern will return to Hammond to open its home and Southland Conference schedule, hosting HCU Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium. The game between the Lions and the visiting Huskies will be televised on ESPN+ and can be heard live in the Hammond area on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM, The Boss 103.7 FM/WFPR 1400 AM).

For the home opener, Southeastern will hold a Green Out, as all fans are encouraged to wear green. 2023 also marks the 20th anniversary of the return of football to Southeastern. All members of the 2003 team are invited to be recognized at the 2023 home opener Sept. 23. For more information on the 2003 team recognition, contact Assistant to the AD for Development Allie Crain at allie.crain@southeastern.edu.

Season and single-game tickets for the 2023 home football season, which includes visits from HCU, Tarleton State (Sept. 30), Lamar (Oct. 14), McNeese (Nov. 4) and Nicholls (Nov. 18) are available online at https://vivenu.com/event/2023-football-2klkar.

SLU – 7 7 7 8 – 29 (0-3)
EWU – 7 10 3 20 – 40 (1-2)

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
SLU – Clement 7 run (Callaghan kick), 13:28
EWU – Chism III 3 pass from Visperas (McKee kick), 7:35
2nd Quarter
SLU – Sharp 3 pass from Sawyer (Callaghan kick), 7:07
EWU – McKee 27 FG, 2:03
EWU – Ulm 5 pass from Visperas (McKee kick), 0:13
3rd Quarter
EWU – McKee 39 FG, 6:17
SLU – Sharp 1 pass from Clement (Callaghan kick), 0:05
4th Quarter
EWU – Jackson 7 run (Visperas pass failed), 11:22
SLU – Logan 19 pass from Clement (Lewis pass from Clement), 5:39
EWU – Altahir 1 run (McKee kick), 1:34
EWU – Jones Jr. 34 interception return (McKee kick), 1:26

RUSHES-YARDS (NET) 36-152 44-177
Passes Att-Comp-Int 23-13-1 48-34-1
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards 6-112 3-60
Punt Returns-Yards 0-0 3-15
Interception Returns-Yards 1-0 1-34
Punts (Number-Avg) 5-37.2 1-34.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-0
Penalties-Yards 6-60 6-60
Possession Time. 25:42 34:18
Third-Down Conversions 3-of-11 6-of-15
Fourth-Down Conversions 2-of-3 3-of-4
Red Zone Scores-Chances 4-4 6-7

RUSHING: SLU – Dixon 18-71, Clement 12-53, Sharp 2-27, Lewis 1-6, Zuell 1-0, Team 1-(-2), M. Williams 1-(-3). Totals – 36-152. EWU – Jackson 12-91, Altahir 14-37, Dotson 6-30, Visperas 8-19, Wortham 2-9, Team 2-(-9). Totals – 44-177.

PASSING: SLU – Clement 10-19-1-80-2, Sawyer 3-4-0-61-1. Totals – 13-23-1-141-3. EWU – Visperas 33-47-1-349-2, Wortham 1-1-0-4-0. Totals – 34-48-1-353-2.

RECEIVING: SLU – Lewis 4-75, Logan 2-21, Sharp 2-4, Dixon 2-1, Domingeaux 1-20, Drobocky 1-14, M. Williams 1-6. Totals – 13-131. EWU – Chism III 9-103, Ulm 9-89, Stell Jr. 8-57, Mason III 2-47, Gobel 1-20, Altahir 1-16, York 1-11, Dotson 1-4, Visperas 1-4, Roberson 1-2. Totals – 34-353.

A – 4,103.

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