Southeastern welcomes defending Southland champion UCA to Hammond
Southeastern Louisiana (0-2) at No. 17/18 Central Arkansas (1-1)
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Hammond, La. | Strawberry Stadium (7,408)
Series History: UCA leads 8-3
Last Meeting: Central Arkansas 38, Southeastern Louisiana 6 (Sept. 16, 2017 – Conway, Ark.)
Announcers: Jeff Palermo, Rene Nadeau, Julie Dobbs
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
HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana football team will open the home portion of its 2018 schedule on Saturday, hosting No. 17/18 Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. in Strawberry Stadium in the Southland Conference opener for both teams.
Fans can visit www.LionSports.net/gameday for more information on all things surrounding the Southeastern home schedule this season.
The Lions (0-2) will be looking for its first win under new head coach Frank Scelfo. Southeastern opened the 2018 campaign with road losses to FBS foes ULM and No. 11/15 LSU. In last week’s 31-0 loss to the Tigers, Southeastern outgained the hosts, 217-78 in the second half.
“We saw some growth between game one and game two, which is encouraging,” Scelfo said. “We played very hard last Saturday and I can’t fault the effort, but we have to play smarter. The amount of turnovers and pre-snap penalties is unacceptable and we can’t win games making those type of mental mistakes.”
Southeastern will be looking to reverse the trend against the defending league champion Bears, who have won the last three meetings between the last two schools. UCA opened the season with a 38-27 loss to FBS opponent Tulsa, before defeating Murray State, 26-13, to open its home schedule.
A weather delay of over an hour did not prevent the Bears from evening their record at 1-1 on the season with the win over the Racers. UCA limited the visitors to 11 first downs and 265 total yards, while sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith threw for 301 yards to pace the Bear offense.
Southeastern is averaging 345.5 yards per game after playing two FBS foes to open the season. Juniors Chason Virgil and Lorenzo Nunez have split time at quarterback for the Lions. Virgil has completed 70.8 percent (51-of-72) of his passes for 547 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, while Nunez is the team’s leading rusher with 86 yards through the first two games.
Virgil has spread the ball around, as 10 different Lions have caught multiple passes this season. Junior Juwan Petit-Frere has been SLU’s leading pass catcher through the first two contests, hauling in 10 passes for 208 yards.
Central Arkansas is yielding 367.5 yards per game heading into Saturday’s contest. Junior defensive back Juan Jackson leads the Bears with 20 tackles and an interception, while senior linebackers Raphael Garner and Reggio Dean have three tackles for loss apiece.
Opponents are averaging 444.5 yards per game versus the Lions through the first two games. Senior linebacker Tamarcus Russell paces Southeastern with 24 tackles, followed closesly by junior defensive back Matthew Wright with 23 stops.
Sophomore linebacker Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund and junior defensive back Dejion Lynch follow with 16 tackles each and lead the team with four and three pass breakups, respectively. Adeyemi-Berglund also leads SLU with 1.5 tackles for loss.
Smith has been efficient running a Central Arkansas offense that is averaging 345.5 yards per game. The first-year starter has completed 73.2 percent (41-of-56) of his passes for 466 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Senior Lester Wells (11 catches, 169 yards) has been Smith’s top target. Junior Carlos Blackman (119 yards, 2 TD) and sophomore Kierre Crossley (53-1 TD) are the top rushers for the Bears.
The Lions special teams is led by Petit-Frere and junior punter Ivy Wall. Petit-Frere averages 27.6 yards per kickoff return for the Lions heading into Saturday’s game. Wall has averaged 42.5 yards per punt to highlight the SLU kicking game in the opening two weeks.
Central Arkansas senior kicker Matt Cummins is 5-for-7 on field goals through the first two games, while senior Cedric Battle has 31.3 yards per kickoff return.
Southeastern is 8-5 in conference openers since becoming a full football-playing member of the Southland Conference prior to the 2005 season. Last season, UCA beat the Lions, 38-6, in the league opener – Southeastern’s first loss to open conference play since 2011.
Southeastern will open its 2018 Southland road schedule next Saturday with a 6 p.m. contest at Lamar in Beaumont, Texas. The SLU-Lamar game will be televised on ESPN3 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.
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.
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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