LCU handles Arkansas Baptist, 42-14

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PINEVILLE – The Louisiana Christian University Wildcats returned home on Saturday after back-to-back away games to face the Buffaloes of Arkansas Baptist College. The Wildcats led from whistle to whistle and defeated the Buffaloes 42-14.

The first scoring attempt by the Wildcats came on a 39-yard field goal attempt by junior kicker Hunter Martensson with 6:22 left in the first quarter, but the ABC special teams broke into the backfield and blocked the attempt to get the ball back at their own 32-yard line.

Two plays later, the LCU defense forced the first turnover of the evening when junior defensive back Bennie Clark III recovered an ABC fumble at the Buffalo 25-yard line to give the Wildcat offense great field position to start their next offensive drive.

The Wildcats only needed three plays following the turnover to get into the endzone when sophomore running back Daylon Charles broke away from eight-yards out to put LCU on the board first. The point-after-touchdown attempt by freshman kicker Levi Hilborn was successful and LCU took a 7-0 lead, a lead they would maintain for the remainder of the first quarter.

After going four-and-out following a sack by LCU’s sophomore defensive end Logan Brimmer on third down, Arkansas Baptist would punt the ball away to the Wildcats.

The punt by ABC’s Fischer Ohrt would be muffed by the Wildcats and Arkansas Baptist recovered at the Wildcat 31-yard line. The Buffaloes would not have the opportunity to capitalize on the great field position because on the second play of the drive, senior defensive end Micah Latin strip-sacked ABC quarterback Marlon Patterson Jr. and the Wildcats recovered the fumble at their own 21-yard line.

Unlike their opponents, LCU used the opportunity well and after an eight-play drive resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by senior running back Devin Briscoe. LCU took a 14-point lead following the Hilborn PAT.

After exchanging punts for a couple of drives each, the men in orange and blue recovered another Buffalo fumble after another strip-sack by the Wildcat defense, this one being forced by senior defensive tackle DeMarco Collins and the recovery being made by junior defensive end Detavius Eldredge.

The Wildcats only needed one play to get back into the endzone following the Buffalo fumble with Charles breaking into the open field and running away with a 48-yard touchdown run to extend the Wildcat lead to 21-0 late in the second quarter.

Down by three touchdowns, the Buffaloes were down but not out. The Martensson kickoff following the Wildcat touchdown was returned 92-yards for a Buffalo touchdown by Atavian Ray to put ABC on the board for the first time. A pass on the two-point conversion by Chris Bradford cut the LCU lead to 21-8 with two minutes left until halftime.

During halftime, Louisiana Christian University honored the 2012 Wildcats football team on the tenth anniversary of their appearance in the NCAA Division III playoffs. A number of former Wildcat football players from the 2012 squad were in attendance along with former head coach Dennis Dunn.

Also honored was former Wildcat offensive tackle Jeremy Vujnovich. The Belle Chasse native was a member of the 2012 playoff team and was an All-American tackle for the Wildcats before spending seven seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Arizona Cardinals. Vujnovich is the first LCU football player to make an active roster and start a game in the NFL.

The following drive for Louisiana Christian looked dead in the water when a field goal attempt by Martensson from the Buffalo 19-yard line missed wide left, but a roughing the kicker penalty against Arkansas Baptist gave the Wildcats the ball back with a first and ten from the Buffalo seven-yard line.

The very next play saw Daylon Charles score his third touchdown of the first half on a seven-yard run. The Hilborn PAT gave LCU a 28-8 lead that they maintained heading into halftime.

After a blocked punt by the Wildcat defense, LCU took over deep inside Buffalo territory with eleven minutes left in the third quarter. The LCU offense drove down to the Buffalo one-yard line and junior quarterback Sal Palermo III kept the ball on a QB sneak to get into the endzone for a touchdown to give LCU a 35-8 lead following the Hilborn PAT.

Arkansas Baptist was only able to run three plays on the following drive before a Bradford pass was intercepted by sophomore defensive back Jahiem Mitchell on the fourth play to give LCU the ball at the Buffalo 34-yard line.

Six plays later, Louisiana Christian scored what would be their final touchdown of the night on a 17-yard touchdown run by senior running back Rob McKnight to take a 42-8 lead late in the third quarter.

The Buffaloes scored one final time on a 33-yard touchdown run by Atavian Ray with 13:24 left in the game, but the Wildcats maintained to the final whistle to get the 42-14 victory.

The Wildcat offense was prolific on the afternoon, putting up 413 total yards of offense with six touchdowns scored. Quarterback Sal Palermo III was 6/14 passing for 70 yards, adding 8 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Daylon Charles led the Wildcat rushing game with 162 yards and three touchdowns on 19 rushes on the evening with Palermo, Devin Briscoe, and Rob McKnight all adding touchdown runs of their own.

Defensively, the Wildcats forced four turnovers and sacked Buffalo quarterbacks three times. Sophomore defensive back Tyren Young led all LCU tacklers with eight total tackles for the day.

Next week, the Wildcats (2-4, 1-3 SAC) will be back at home again to host the Pioneers of Wayland Baptist University (2-4, 2-3) for a Sooner Athletic Conference matchup.

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