BEAUMONT, Texas — Lamar University rolled up 658 yards of total offense to defeat nationally ranked Bethel (TN) University, 65-16, Thursday evening in the 2019 season opener at Provost Umphrey Stadium. It was the first Thursday home game for the Red and White since the 1962 season.

Thursday’s game marked the fourth-best single-game scoring mark in program history, while the Red and White just missed a school record in total offense.

The Cardinals finished the night with a balanced attack – 344 yards rushing and 357 passing. Senior Jordan Hoy completed 18-of-24 (.750) passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 10 carries for 50 yards and three scores. Hoy connected with freshman Erik Pizarro, junior Myles Wanza and senior Case Robinson for passing touchdowns.

Hoy was one of three LU backs to rush for a touchdown Thursday. Senior Derrion Randle had five carries for a team-high 79 yards and a score. The other two rushing touchdowns came from Wanza and Cole Starnes.

The defense held Bethel to less than 200 yards of total offense, and just three points in the second half. The defense also held their guests to a 3-of-18 performance on third downs while forcing three fumbles and picking off a pass. LU finished the night with five sacks and 17 tackles for losses.

“Getting the win is the most important thing, but there were too many turnovers tonight,” said LU head coach Mike Schultz. “We have to eliminate those. You can’t have turnovers in the Southland and expect to win. We have got to get those things fixed. There were some positives tonight. We were able to play a lot of guys and get them some valuable experience.”

The Cardinals put their first points of the season on the board just over three minutes into the game. Senior Case Robinson capped a six-play, 50-yard drive, with a 26-yard reception from senior Jordan Hoy. The Cardinals were back on the attack just 17 seconds later after the defense forced a fumble. Hoy found redshirt freshman Erik Pizarro from seven yards out on the very next play to give Big Red a 14-0 lead.

After a Bethel field goal trimmed the LU lead to 11, the Cardinals opened the second quarter with an eight-yard run for a score to take a 20-3 advantage with 14:56 remaining. Bethel scored 10 points in the second quarter, but the Cardinals closed out the half with consecutive scores. Sophomore Myles Wanza scored on a 13-yard run which was set up by a Michael Lawson interception. Hoy closed out the half with a three-yard run with 25 seconds on the clock to give LU a 41-13 lead heading into halftime.

The Cardinals racked up 323 yards of total offense in the first half, including 150 on the ground. The offense’s dominance was equaled by the defense who held Bethel’s high-octane offense to 139 yards in the opening 30 minutes, and just 68 yards through the air. The defense also forced two turnovers and held Bethel to a 2-of-10 performance on third downs.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Cardinals tacked on three consecutive scores to open the third quarter. LU built a 58-13 lead and Bethel never threatened for the remainder of the night.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday, Sept. 7, when they host Mississippi Valley State. The game against the Delta Devils will kick off at 6 p.m. from Provost Umphrey Stadium. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI.