By Kent Schmidt
CSN West Columnist
College Sporting News
Little did I think after this great start that it would be until this 2013 season for Southeastern Louisiana to again defeat the Cowboys of McNeese—winning easily 41-7.
But that's what just happened this past Saturday for just the second time in Lake Charles.
I couldn’t help but think of these earlier articles I had wrote to relate to what I thought the Lions might do.
Well, this path was not quite like I pictured back then but this year looks to be the Lions’ breakout season.
How is Southeastern Louisiana doing this season otherwise?
The Lions (7-2, 4-0 Southland) took sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference with its first road win at a nationally-ranked opponent since that aforementioned 51-17 victory over the same McNeese State program. The victory over the Cowboys (7-2, 3-1 Southland) was the Lions' sixth straight tying the same mark from 1978.
"This was a total team effort to get this victory against a very talented McNeese State team," Southeastern head coach Ron Roberts commented after the game. "Our student-athletes and coaching staff should be very proud of the level of focus and preparation they showed today."
This was a game that featured two of the top offenses in the FCS, it was the Lion defense that set the tone for the lopsided victory by limiting the Cowboys to just 191 yards. That mark was nearly 300 yards under their average heading into the contest.
The defensive performers were headed by senior Theo Alexander, who had an interception and a fumble recovery, while sophomore Harlan Miller had an interception and junior Marice Sutton was credited with a forced fumble. Juniors Isiah Corbett, Scott Korte, Justin Church and John Andrews all posted sacks as the Lions harassed McNeese senior quarterback Cody Stroud into 92 yards passing on 11 of 32 passing.
While the Lion defense was overbearing, the Lion offense produced a strong game as well. Sophomore Rasheed Harrell finished with a game-high 119 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while junior quarterback Bryan Bennett chipped in with 18 carries for 88 yards and two rushing touchdowns. The two scores bring Bennett's season total to 11 rushing touchdowns – tying him for third on the school's single-season list.
How have the Lions done prior to this game?
Before this game SLU, had won six games while losing two. The two losses for the Lions were to the Big 12’s TCU and the Missouri Valley’s South Dakota State.
The wins by the Southeastern were to another Southeastern team in Southeast Missouri State out of the Ohio Valley, Samford from the Southern Conference, and Incarnate Word, who is an independent this year but will be in the Southland next year.
The Lions also have won their four Southland Conference games over Stephen F. Austin, Lamar and Northwestern State before the McNeese State win.
Overall, SLU has outscored their SLC opponents by a score of 190-77 so far.
Who do the Lions have left on the schedule?
The Lions visit Central Arkansas this week before finishing with two games with Sam Houston State and Nicholls State.
Even with a loss or even two in these games I believe the Lions will be in the playoffs for the first time in their program’s history.
For a program that has never won the Southland Conference or been to the playoffs, this has to be a relief after 10 years of the rejuvenating the program.
I am certainly happy to see this going on in Hammond.