SFA Falls to McNeese State
Oct. 15, 2005
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team fell behind, 10-0, in the first quarter of Saturday's game against McNeese State, and that proved to be the difference. The Cowboys added to their lead before halftime, then held off a late SFA comeback bid to hand the Lumberjacks their first Southland Conference loss, 33-23.
SFA outscored the Cowboys, 20-10, in the second half, behind three touchdown passes -- two from senior quarterback Zeke Dixon and one by sophomore Danny Southall -- but it wasn't enough to erase the early margin. With the loss, SFA fell to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 in SLC play, while McNeese State improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 against league competition.
McNeese bolted out to its 10-point lead less than five minutes into the contest. The Cowboys got on the board at the 13:09 mark when quarterback Chris Jones capped a six-play, 70-yard drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Darrick Brown. Less than three minutes later, McNeese State extended its lead with a 25-yard field goal by Blake Bercegeay. The Cowboys padded their lead early in the second quarter when Quinten Lawrence caught a 49-yard scoring strike from Mark Fontenot.
The Lumberjacks finally answered with a 30-yard field goal by Cory Long with five minutes left before halftime. But McNeese added to its lead with 52 seconds left when Chris Thomas found paydirt from one yard out to finish off a 13-play, 74-yard drive and send his team to halftime with a 23-3 lead.
SFA picked up its first touchdown of the game with 9:51 left in the third quarter when junior Michael Mott came out of the backfield to catch a three-yard touchdown pass from Dixon. The score came at the end of a four-play, 16-yard drive. Long followed with the point-after to make the score 23-10, in McNeese's favor.
After another Bercegeay field goal, this one from 42 yards out with 3:39 left in the third, the Cowboys took a 26-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lumberjacks struck quickly in the final frame. Southall hit freshman wideout Dominique Edison for a 63-yard touchdown with 13:06 left in the game. Southall tried to run on the try for two, but couldn't make the end zone.
The Cowboys kept SFA at arm's distance with another Chris Thomas touchdown run at the 5:27 mark that made it a 33-16 ballgame.
Dixon answered by leading the Lumberjacks on a 10-play, 74-yard drive that was capped with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Edison, but SFA's comeback bid fizzled there.
Dixon finished 23-of-52 passing for 239 yards with two touchdowns. Edison was the Lumberjacks' leading receiver. He hauled in six passes for 139 yards and a pair of scores. Sophomore Chance Dennis had five catches for 40 yards, and classmate Tyrell Williams added four catches for 48 yards.
Junior running back Jerome Brooks was SFA's leading rusher. He carried 18 times for 67 yards.
The Lumberjacks' next opponent is Sam Houston State. The game against the Bearkats is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start Thursday at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
-- SFA --