BEAUMONT, Texas – Senior defensive back Brendan Langley tied a single-game school record with three interceptions to lift the Lamar University Cardinals to a 38-14 victory over Southeastern Louisiana (1-3/1-1 Southland) Saturday night at Provost Umphrey Stadium. The Cardinals posted their best defensive effort of the season to snap a three-game slide to start the year.
Langley led a defensive effort that surrendered a season best 14 points to the Lions and 356 yards of total offense. The Cards (1-3/1-1 SLC) finished the night with two players recording double-digit tackles – senior Xavier Bethany (13) and Chaston Brooks (11).
“This was a good team win at a time when we needed it,” said LU head coach Ray Woodard. “I was encouraged by what took place tonight. I thought we looked like a team that had two weeks to prepare for tonight. We didn’t complete a ton of passes but we completed some big passes when we needed to. Offensively, we had no turnovers, ran the ball well and we controlled the clock. Defensively, we forced a lot of turnovers. I thought our special teams were solid as well. I’m very proud of our football team tonight.”
While Big Red’s defense kept Southeastern Louisiana off balance, the LU offense methodically began to take control of the game. The Cardinals finished the night with 398 yards of total offense, including 268 yards on the ground. Senior running back Kade Harrington recorded the 16th 100-yard rushing game of his career carrying the ball 23 times for 143 yards and a score against the Lions.
All five of LU’s touchdowns came on the ground Saturday as senior Carson Earp – who got the start at quarterback – carried the ball 11 times for 79 yards and two scores. Earp also completed 9-of-15 passes for 130 yards. Beaumont Freshman Kendrick King and junior Andrew Allen also rushed a score.
King scored the game’s opening touchdown when he carried the ball in from six yards out. His score capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive with 3:33 remaining in the opening quarter. LU’s defense got the ball back 65 seconds later after forcing a three-and-out and a blocked punt from Nederland, Texas freshman Austin Krautz. After an incomplete pass, Earp called his own number and carried the ball in from 17 yards out for the score.
The game didn’t see another score for the next 16 minutes of action when the Lions finally cracked the scoreboard with a 10-yard run from Rasheed Harrell from 10 yards out. The score cut the Cardinals lead in half and appeared to give SLU the momentum heading into the locker room – an appearance that wouldn’t last long.
With only 1:05 remaining until half, Earp and company moved the ball down to the SLU 28 yard line and with time running off the clock and no timeouts LU rushed the kicking team on the field and senior Alex Ball booted a 38-yard field goal to give the Cards a 10-point advantage heading into half time.
Southeastern’s opening drive of the second half ended with Langley’s second pick of the game. The interception set up another LU score as the Red and White extended its lead to 24-7. Earp guided the Cards on an eight-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard TD scamper from the quarterback.
The next SLU possession was a near mirror image of the previous as Langley picked off his third pass of the night to tie former Cardinals Donald Rawls (1983 vs. Louisiana Tech) and Pat Gibbs (1971 vs. Arkansas State) as the only three players in program history with three interceptions in a game. Five plays later the Cardinals converted the turnover into points as Harrington scored from 15 yard out. Allen came on in relief of Earp to score the team’s final touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
“This was a great team win tonight,” said Langley. “It was a great effort by everyone. The coaches did a phenomenal job of getting us in the right positions. It was a great game plan so all of that credit goes to them.”
“Brendan’s a special person, and we needed him tonight,” said Woodard of Langley’s record-setting performance. “He was one of several players we needed big performances from and they delivered.”
The Lions closed out the contest with the final points of the night. SLU quarterback Justin Alo hit Joe Pack from 12 yards out as the visitors never seriously threatened in the second half.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday, Oct. 8 when they travel to Abilene, Texas to take on Abilene Christian.
(© 2016 KBMT)