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Southeastern rallies from 13 down in second half to edge McNeese 28-27

1 month 1 week 3 days ago Saturday, October 29 2022 Oct 29, 2022 October 29, 2022 10:48 PM October 29, 2022 in Sports
Source: Southeastern Athletics

LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana University football team scored the game's final 13 points to rally for a 28-27 Southland Conference victory over McNeese Saturday night at Cowboy Stadium.
 
Donte' Daniels intercepted McNeese quarterback Walker Wood in the final minute to quell the upset bid by the host Cowboys (1-7, 0-4 SLC). Southeastern (5-3, 2-1 SLC) earned its second straight road victory and fifth win in its last six games.
 
Cephus Johnson III handled the majority of the work under center for the Lions, finishing 16-for-24 for 250 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Ivan Drobocky led SLU with 91 yards receiving, as he, CJ Turner and Maurice Massey each hauled in scoring tosses from the SLU senior signal-caller.
 
After a rough first half, the Southeastern defense held McNeese scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the contest. Daniels and Jack Henderson led SLU with 10 tackles each. Daniels and Donniel Ward-Magee each picked off passes, while Daniels, Arlen WilliamsHerman ChristopheHeath Stephen and Garrett Crawford each had sacks for the Lions.
 
Austin Dunlap continued his fantastic season punting for the Lions, averaging 47.8 yards per punt with three of his four efforts downed inside the McNeese 10-yard line.
 
Making his first start under center for the Cowboys, Wood threw for 203 yards, a touchdown and two picks on 14-for-20 passing, while also rushing for 84 yards and a score. Deonta McMahon rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while also recording a receiving touchdown for McNeese.
 
After SLU was forced to punt on its opening possession, McNeese took the lead with a 12-play, 74-yard scoring march. McMahon scampered in from five yards out to put the Cowboys up, 6-0, with 8:33 remaining in the opening period.
 
The Lions answered with a 15-play, 74-yard scoring drive to take the lead. On fourth-and-13, Johnson found Turner from 33 yards out to put SLU up, 7-6, with seven seconds left in the first quarter.
 
After a Cowboy punt, SLU added to its lead. A 45-yard run by Rodeo Graham Jr. highlighted a six-play, 84-yard scoring drive that Massey capped with a 15-yard scoring reception from Johnson III to put the Lions ahead, 14-6, with 8:23 left in the opening half.
 
McNeese answered with an 18-play, 75-yard methodical scoring march. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the five, Wood found McMahon in the flat for a touchdown that cut the SLU lead to 14-13 with less than a minute left in the half.
 
On the next play from scrimmage, Eli Sawyer was intercepted by Tyler Barnes in SLU territory. Wood then scored on the next play, racing in from 42 yards out on a quarterback draw to put the Cowboys ahead, 20-14, heading into halftime.  
 
After McNeese was forced to punt, the teams traded interceptions. Crajaun Bennett intercepted Johnson III, then Ward-Magee answered with a pick of Wood.
 
After SLU's ensuing drive stalled, a 58-yard punt by Dunlap pinned the Cowboys down at their one-yard line. Five plays later, McMahon scampered in from three yards out to put McNeese up, 27-14, with 7:21 left in the third period. Wood found Jon McCall for passes of 42 and 39 yards to highlight the drive.
 
SLU answered with a seven-play, 76-yard scoring drive to cut into the Cowboy advantage. A 40-yard pass from Johnson to Turner moved the Lions into the red zone, then Johnson III threaded the needle to Drobocky for a 14-yard touchdown pass to pull Southeastern within, 27-21, with 3:19 left.
 
SLU forced a three-and-out and took over at its own 16-yard line. On the first play, Johnson III found Drobocky on a flea-flicker for a 75-yard gain down to the McNeese nine-yard line. Four plays later, Carlos Washington Jr. bulled in from a yard out on fourth-and-goal for his 10th touchdown of the season to put the Lions up, 28-27, with 13:44 left in the contest.
 
The defenses took over from there as the teams exchanged punts over the final quarter. McNeese took over at its own eight-yard line with just under two minutes left. The Cowboys picked up a couple of first downs, but Wood overshot Pierce on a short pass and it deflected in to the hands of Daniels to allow Southeastern to secure the victory.
 
Southeastern will close its road swing with a 3 p.m. SLC contest next Saturday at Lamar. The Lions-Cardinals matchup will be televised on ESPN3 and can be heard on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM, The Boss 103.7 FM/1400 AM).

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