The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

Close, but not close enough: Struggling season continues as Lions fall to TSU

Redshirt+sophomore+Bauer+Sharp+stiff+arms+Tarleton+State+defender+to+run+in+a+19-yard+touchdown.+%28Sept.+30%2C+2023+-+Hammond%29
Troy Allen
Redshirt sophomore Bauer Sharp stiff arms Tarleton State defender to run in a 19-yard touchdown. (Sept. 30, 2023 – Hammond)

On Saturday evening, Southeastern suffered a 14-13 loss against the Tarleton State Texans, starting the first month of the season 0-5. 

Three turnovers and six penalties for 47 yards were critical in the loss, along with going 2-5 (40%) in the red zone.  

The Green and Gold did collect a season-high 170 rushing yards, with junior quarterback Zachary Clement leading the way with 70. Clement also threw a touchdown pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Darius Lewis. 

Junior running back Harlan Dixon emerged as the Lions’ top receiver, accumulating 71 yards with his longest reception being 25. 

SLU also led the game in passing yards (240), total yards (410) and first downs (22); however, it was all in vain. The Texans were able to capitalize on two out of three turnovers to pull out the victory. 

“We had chances to score and didn’t take advantage of them. I want to congratulate Coach Whitten; that was his 100th victory as a head coach, which is a pretty monumental achievement and I hate that it had to come against us,” Head Coach Frank Scelfo said. 

Southeastern can hang their hats on an excellent defensive performance. Texans’ quarterback Victor Gabalis was a mere 8/21 for 62 yards and an interception. TSU only had 203 yards of offense and punted the ball seven times. Notably, none of Tarleton State’s receivers eclipsed 40 yards.

“We only gave up seven points in the first half and seven in the second, so I thought the defense played well throughout the whole game,” Scelfo said.

On the first offensive possession for the Lions, redshirt sophomore quarterback Eli Sawyer threw a pick-6 to Tarleton State’s defensive back Blake Smith. Southeastern took the gut punch and responded with an 11-play touchdown drive. Redshirt sophomore tight end Bauer Sharp found the end zone out of the “Wildcat” formation from 19 yards out on a 4-and-1 conversion.

On SLU’s next offensive possession in the first quarter, Sawyer’s pass was intercepted by linebacker Keldric Williams after being tipped in the air by linebacker Kyle Taylor. TSU took advantage and scored a 15-yard touchdown run from running back Kayvon Britten.  

After two straight scoreless quarters, the Lions saw paydirt with 5:17 remaining in the game. Clement threw a dart to Lewis for the score to bring SLU within one. 

Unfortunately, the extra-point attempt was blocked after a mishandled snap and hold, so the score stayed at 14-13. The Texans ran out the rest of the clock, including a 4-yard gain on a 4th-and-1 conversion to solidify their win. 

“The whole team has to lead. We have a couple of leaders on the team, but it’s not enough. I feel like not all 11 are doing their job, so for us to be productive, all 11 have to do their job,” Dixon said. 

The Green and Gold will resume Southland Conference play next Saturday away from home against the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio. The Cardinals are winners of three straight and averaging 44 points per contest during the stretch.

UIW is ranked No. 6 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 8 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25.  

“We are going to attack it and we will go harder every day. We’re still walking with confidence,” Dixon said. 

Tune in at 4 p.m. on ESPN+ to catch the game live and for more information on Lions’ football, visit The Lion’s Roar.

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About the Contributor
Troy Allen, Staff Reporter
Troy Allen is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in sports journalism. He joined The Lion’s Roar as a staff reporter in September of 2022 with hopes of contributing to a great program. Troy plans to follow his passion for covering various sports like football, basketball and baseball. On his off days, he loves to hang out with friends and family, watch football and play video games.
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