BEAUMONT, Texas – Junior quarterback Caleb Berry and freshman running back Kade Harrington set Lamar single-season records while leading Lamar to a 56-34 victory over Nicholls State Saturday evening at Provost Umphrey Stadium. The win moves Lamar to 4-5 on the season, and 1-3 in Southland Conference play. Lamar is now only one win shy of tying the record for wins since bringing back the program.
"We're a good football team, and we're a hungry team," said head coach Ray Woodard. "This is not going to be our last win. We're going to try to win out, and I'm very proud of what we accomplished tonight."
Berry completed 28-of-37 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns on the night. The biggest score of the night came on Berry's second TD pass. Berry hit senior Jordan Edwards for a 31-yard strike with 5:31 remaining in the opening half. It gave Berry 22 TD passes for the season setting a new school single-season record surpassing Larry Haynes' mark of 21 set in 1979.
"That's all well and good, but we got a win," said Berry. "Hopefully we can take that into the next couple games. I had a lot of guys help out with that, especially Kade. He's a heck of a player, and he runs hard. Offensive line played great, and the receivers ran good, crisp routes. We had a lot of guys help with that, but I'm just happy we got a win."
Not to be outdone, Harrington stepped into the spotlight at the beginning of the fourth quarter when he carried the ball eight yards down to the Nicholls' 11-yard line. The rush gave him 36 yards for the night setting a new LU freshman rushing record that had stood for 62 years (Sammy Carpenter – 1951). Harrington finished the game with 17 carries for 48 yards and two rushing scores.
"I knew about the record," said Harrington "But I just went into the game with the mindset that I had to do what I have to do to help this team win. If getting yards is what I need to do, then that's what I'll try to do when my number is called."
The majority of Harrington's damage did not come on the ground against the Colonels. He also hauled in four passes for 56 yards and two scores. Harrington also tied an LU single-game record for points with his 24. It is the third time in school history that a Cardinal has scored 24 points in a game, all three times during the Woodard coaching era.
In addition to the all the individual milestones, Lamar posted a team first against the visitors from Thibodaux Saturday night. The Cardinals' 56-point outburst is the most by LU in a conference game in program history. The last time LU came that close in a conference game was 54 against Abilene Christian in 1967.
In a game that only saw one score in the opening quarter, the two teams combined for 48 points in the second 15 minutes of action, with the Cardinals taking a 35-17 lead at halftime. The Colonels made a run late in the third quarter to cut the lead down to eight points, 35-27, but that would be as close as Nicholls would come to victory as Lamar recorded three of the game's final four touchdowns to lock up their first Southland victory of the season.
The Colonels were able to outgain Lamar by 62 yards, 483-421, and had the ball more than seven minutes longer than their hosts but the Colonels were hurt by turnovers. Lamar forced the Colonels into five fumbles, three of which LU recovered, and picked off one pass.
Beaumont senior William Jones led all players with 14 tackles. He was also credited with a sack. Senior Tyrus McGlothen added six tackles, including a sack, recovered a fumble and picked off a pass which he returned 56 yards for a touchdown.
Sophomore Gratian Gladney led Lamar with seven receptions for 107 yards, which is the third consecutive game a Cardinal has recorded 100 yards receiving.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Natchitoches, La., to face Northwestern State. The game against the Demons is slated to kick off at 3 p.m. from Turpin Stadium.