Southeastern set to face LSU for first time since 1949

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Juwan Petit Frere
Southeastern’s Juwan Petit Frere (#5) is one of the nation’s best kick returners (Photo: Randy Bergeron/SLU Athletics).

HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana football team will close out its non-conference schedule on Saturday, facing No. 11/15 LSU at 6 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.

The contest, which will be nationally televised on ESPN2, will be the first meeting between the Lions (0-1) and the host Tigers (1-0) since 1949 and only the second meeting ever. LSU won the first meeting between the two schools, 48-7, on Nov. 19, 1949.

“Every game is an opportunity for us to be better than we were the previous game and that’s how we are preparing for Saturday’s game,” Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo commented. “This is a great chance for us to test ourselves versus one of the best teams in the country in a tremendous environment. Everyone associated with our program is excited about the opportunity.”

LSU will be the second in-state Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foe the Lions have faced to open the first season of the Scelfo Era. Last Thursday, ULM edged Southeastern, 34-31, in a back-and-forth thriller that featured just shy of 1,000 yards of combined offense. Southeastern had a chance to tie on the game’s final play, but the Warhawks were able to block Jonathan Tatum’s 37-yard field goal as time expired.

“We learned a lot from that first game,” Scelfo commented. “We were extremely pleased with the effort, but we also definitely have some things we need to clean up. The final outcome wasn’t what we wanted and there’s a few plays we’d like to have back, but we did a lot of good things that we can build on.”

The Lion offensive attack in the opener was led by junior quarterback Chason Virgil and junior wide receiver Juwan Petit-Frere. In the first start of his SLU career, Virgil, a native of Mesquite, Texas, connected on 28 of 39 passes for 358 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. The single-game passing yardage total was the most by a Lion since 2011.

Petit-Frere was Virgil’s top target, hauling in five passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. A consensus preseason All-American kick returner, the Orlando, Florida native finished the game with 290 all-purpose yards – the highest single-game total by an FCS player in the opening week and the second-highest by a SLU player since the program returned in 2003.

Petit-Frere was one of nine different Lions to catch a pass in the opener, as Virgil also found junior quarterback Lorenzo Nunez and sophomore wide receiver Austin Mitchell on scoring throws.

The Lion defense yielded 554 yards to the Warhawks in the opener, but several individuals had standout performances. Senior linebacker Tamarcus Russell recorded 20 tackles – the most by a Lion since 2003 – and junior defensive back Matthew Wright tallied 16 stops in his Southeastern debut.

Sophomore linebacker Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund added 10 tackles and two pass breakups, while junior defensive back Dejion Lynch finished with 11 tackles. Freshman defensive back Ferlando Jordan returned an interception 42 yards in his first collegiate game, while junior defensive back Tre’ Spann recovered a fumble.

LSU opened the season with a 33-17 victory over No. 8 Miami (Fla.) on Sunday in Arlington, Texas. The Tigers scored 30 unanswered points to take a 33-3 lead into the final quarter, before the Hurricanes scored two late touchdowns to lessen the final margin.

The Tiger offensive attack was led by senior running back Nick Brossette, who totaled 125 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Junior quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 140 yards on 11-of-24 passing in his LSU debut with sophomore wide receiver Justin Jefferson (five catches, 81 yards) serving as his top target.

Also in Sunday’s win, the LSU defense managed four sacks and a pair of interceptions. Sophomore linebacker Jacob Phillips returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, while senior safety John Battle also picked off a Hurricane pass.

Southeastern will open its home and Southland Conference schedule next Saturday, hosting defending league champion Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium. Saturday is Faculty, Family and Band Day in Hammond, America. Southeastern faculty and staff will receive two free tickets with the presentation of their University I.D. at the ticket office prior to game day or ticket booth on game day.

Local high school band and spirit members will be present for the Spirit of the Southland’s halftime show. Also, fans will have the opportunity to stop by Hammond’s Helm Paint location to get a free color-changing cup for free drinks all season.

The SLU-UCA game will be televised on ESPN+ and via the WatchESPN.com app. The game can also be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and WFPR 1400 AM). Fans can also listen live at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Radio FX and TuneIn Radio apps.

TICKET INFORMATION
For season ticket information and individual game tickets, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. The Lions will welcome conference foes Central Arkansas (Sept. 15), Northwestern State (Sept. 29), Houston Baptist (Oct. 13 – Homecoming), Abilene Christian (Oct. 20 – Hall of Fame Game) and McNeese (Nov. 3) to Strawberry Stadium in 2018.

CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.

TOUCHDOWN CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Touchdown Club and S Club (football) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern football program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at [email protected] or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @SLUFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

INSIDE SOUTHEASTERN FOOTBALL WITH FRANK SCELFO
Inside Southeastern Football with Frank Scelfo, the Lion first-year head coach’s radio show, is held every Monday through Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Tope La Catering (113 East Thomas Street) in downtown Hammond.

Hosted by Scelfo and Allen Waddell, the show will air on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and WFPR 1400 AM). Fans can also listen live at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Radio FX and TuneIn Radio apps. A live video stream of the show will be available via Facebook Watch at www.facebook.com/sluathletics.

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