'Jacks Outscored by Western Illinois
Sept. 22, 2007
NACOGDOCHES - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team built a 13-3 first-half advantage, but it wasn't enough to hold off the No. 19 Western Illinois Leathernecks Saturday night at Homer Bryce Stadium. The Leatherneck held SFA scoreless in the second half to record a 34-13 victory. The setback dropped SFA to 0-3 on the season, while the Leathernecks improved to 3-1.
The Lumberjacks played solid on both sides of the ball building their 10-point lead. The offense was moving the ball up-and-down the field at will, and the Lumberjack defense seemed to have WIU running back Herb Donaldson's number, holding him to 15 yards in the first quarter.
Trailing 3-0, senior quarterback Danny Southall guided SFA on a 5-play, 58-yard drive that culminated in a 37-yard pass to Joe Savoie to give the 'Jacks their first lead of the game. The extra-point attempt was blocked which held the score at 6-3 with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.
The 'Jacks were back on the march early in the second quarter. The offense milked just over four minutes off the clock, as Southall led the team on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a one-yard plunge by Southall to give SFA its biggest lead of the game.
The Lumberjacks got the ball back and appeared to be driving for its third first-half touchdown, when the offense was beset with turnovers. SFA fumbled the ball on back-to-back possessions, and WIU was able to cash in turning a 10-point deficit into a 13-all tie heading into halftime. The turnovers seemed to drain SFA of all its momentum as the Leathernecks would go on to score 21 unanswered points in second half, while holding SFA to 134 yards of total offense, an only 35 yards rushing, in the second half.
"Western Illinois did a great job of causing the turnovers," said SFA head coach J.C. Harper. "They did an excellent job of trying to strip everything, and we have to do a better job of securing the football."
Senior running back Louie Runnels led the SFA ground attack, finishing the game with 19 carries for 62 yards. It was Runnels first action since going dowin with an ankle injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Tarleton State. SFA finished the game 121 yards on the ground.
Southall completed 18 passes for season-high 206 and one touchdown. He also carried the ball 13 times for 18 yards and a score.
The Lumberjack defense was led by a couple of freshmen. Redshirt freshman Terrance Nurse recorded a team-high 11 tackles, including two for losses, while true freshman Devin Ducote recorded nine stops in his second career start. Senior cornerback Johnny Thacker was also solid in his return from an injury that kept him out of the North Dakota State game. Thacker finished the night with eight tackles, including one for a loss.
The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday when they travel to Brookings, S.D. to take on South Dakota State. The game against the Jackrabbits is slated to begin at 2 p.m.