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Rally falls short as Cards drop home opener

Northern Colorado takes advantage of Lamar's first half woes.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Lamar University racked up 305 yards of total offense (including 217 on the ground) and battled back from a 14-point deficit with the ball in their hands as time was winding down but Northern Colorado picked off a Nick Yockey pass at the three-yard line to end the drive and preserve a 21-14 UNC victory.

LU quarterbacks Mike Chandler and Yockey combined to go 15-of-24 for 88 yards, and both ended the night with an interception. The Cardinals had four backs record at least 36 yards rushing led by Khalan Griffin’s 10 rushes for 66 yards and Damashja Harris’ 12 carries for 61. Seniors Hunter Batten and Jalen Dummett accounted for the Cards’ two rushing touchdowns.

LU quarterbacks connected with eight different receivers led by four receptions from Major Bowden’s for 25 yards.

The Bears were held to 270 yards of offense doing the majority of their damage through the air (218 yards).

Big Red’s defense was led by 11 tackles from Adrian Owens (one for a loss) to go along with a breakup and a quarterback hurry. Senior Austin Goffney added eight tackles – six solos.

Both teams had momentum killing plays that hurt drives. For LU it came from penalties – 14 for 130 yards – while UNC was hurt by turnovers and a blocked field goal. The Bears coughed the ball up four times losing three of them – including one on the LU 10-yard line.

The Bears recorded the game’s first score with a touchdown midway through the first quarter. LU managed an answer less than 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter when Batten capped an eight-play, 31-yard drive with a one-yard carry. Unfortunately, the Bears would answer just over five minutes later to regain a seven-point lead. UNC had a chance to go into the locker room up 10 at halftime when they lined up for a 35-yard field goal before sophomore Jack McCarthy knifed his way through the line to block the kick.

UNC came out and made it a 14-point lead at the 9:28 mark of the third, but with their backs to the wall the Cardinals came charging back in the fourth. LU recorded another long scoring drive with Dummett carrying the ball in from one yard out to pull LU back within seven, 21-14. The play was the exclamation point on a 14-play, 74-yard drive that took 9:20 off the clock.

The Bears got the ball back and appeared to be answering with a drive of their own before fumbling away the snap at the LU 33. The Cardinals got the ball back with 3:48 to play and Yockey marched the LU down the field. With the final seconds ticking away, Yockey looked for Dummett over the middle for the score but Tywonne Harris made a great play on the ball picking it off at the three to end LU’s chances of a come-from-behind victory.

The Cardinals will look to get in the win column next week when they travel to Northwestern State to take on the Demons. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Natchitoches, La.

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