GRAMBLING, La. – Lamar (3-2) overcame a 16-point first quarter deficit to knock off Rambling State, 27-16, Saturday night at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium in Rambling, La., equaling its best start since resurrecting the program. After surrendering 16 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, Lamar's defense shutout the Tigers, (0-5/0-2 SWAC) for the final 50:04 of the contest.
"Understatement of the night, we didn't get out to the start we wanted," said head coach Ray Woodard. "I've never been more proud of a Lamar football team. These guys hung in the game and showed a lot poise battling back. Our guys didn't give up."
Lamar scored the game's final 27 points and racked up 535 yards of total offense. Junior quarterback Caleb Berry finished the game completing 31 passes for a career-high 399 yards. He also carried the ball 13 times for 39 yards. Jordan Edwards led the Cardinals with seven catches for 93 yards, while Reggie Begelton had six catches for 73 yards and a score.
Rambling State took advantage of Lamar's miscues in the first quarter to jump out to a commanding 16-0 lead. After forcing a GSU punt, Lamar took over on its own one yard line, but Rambling's Phillip McClain broke through the line to drop freshman Kade Harrington in the end zone for the safety to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The Tigers added to their lead two minutes later when D.J. Williams found Chester Rogers from 13 yards out. A Caleb Berry interception on the very next play had Rambling State back on the attack. Williams completed a two-yard pass to Brandon Byrdsong to give GSU its 16-point lead.
The Cardinals overcame a safety, two interceptions and a missed field goal to cut the lead to six heading into the locker room. Lamar finally cracked the scoreboard when junior Kevin Johnson fielded a punt at the Rambling 48 and returned it the distance for the score. After a Lamar stop, LU was back on the march late in the half. Justin Stout converted a 33-yard field goal to cut the deficit to six points, 16-10, with 46 seconds remaining in the quarter. Stout's kick capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive.
Despite the turnovers, Lamar outgained their hosts, 232-190, in the opening half. GSU only had the ball for 2:08 longer than Lamar in the opening 30 minutes.
Lamar came out following the intermission and claimed its first lead of the game when Berry hit Begelton from 32 yards out for the score. The touchdown capped a six-play, 62-yard drive with 12:09 remaining in the third. The Cardinals were knocking on the door again at the end of the quarter. Berry found Mark Roberts from 17 yards out to give LU an eight-point lead. Lamar never looked back as Justin Stout added a 44-yard field goal in the fourth the close out the scoring.
The Cardinals will have an extra week to get ready for the Southland opener against Sam Houston State. The game against the Bearkats is slated to begin at 2 p.m. from Bowers Stadium Saturday, Oct. 12th.