HAMMOND — After losing three of its previous four games, Southeastern Louisiana was looking for offensive consistency against Southland Conference foe Incarnate Word. Instead, the Lions found few positives on a rainy evening at Strawberry Stadium.
Stymied by an ineffective offense, Southeastern wasted a solid defensive effort as it fell to Incarnate Word 16-2 amid a barrage of turnovers and offensive miscues.
“It was pretty disappointing,” SLU coach Ron Roberts said. “It wasn’t a shocker because that’s the way we’ve played the last four or five games. I don’t think we resemble the team we started the season with.”
The defenses controlled most of the action, but the Cardinals had the upper hand all evening. A blocked punt helped UIW take the lead, and Southeastern never mustered enough offense to mount a scoring threat.
The Lions picked up just two first downs midway through the third quarter before third-string quarterback Justin Alo entered.
Alo took Southeastern into UIW territory twice in the fourth quarter as Southeastern tried to rally. He completed 6 of 12 passes for 88 yards, but was intercepted twice.
“I just tried to do my job,” Alo said. “I tried to do what I could and contribute, but I came up short. As an offense, we need to come together next week and bounce back.”
Before being shaken up in the third quarter, Donovan Isom, who started for an injured D’Shaie Landor, was ineffective most of the game. Twice he bobbled snaps when the Lions faced third-and-1 situations, and another drive ended when he lost a fumble.
“He’s the most experienced guy we’ve got,” Roberts said of Landor. “(Missing him) is huge. We had fumbles, missed third-down conversions. We were putting the ball on the ground. It was just ugly.”
Isom was 6 of 11 for 77 yards. The total included a 43-yard second-quarter strike to William French that appeared to give Southeastern a first down inside the UIW 5.
But French fumbled the ball away as defensive back Robert Johnson made the tackle. Johnson recovered the fumble, and French was injured on the play. The Lions never got into the UIW red zone again.
Southeastern’s rushing attack, a bright spot during early-season games, was unable to offer help. Julius Maracalin, who gained more than 100 yards last week against Central Arkansas, was held to 28 yards . The Lions rushed for 39 yards as a team.
Southeastern gained only one first down on eight first-half possessions. It lost two of four fumbles, had a punt blocked and failed to score on consecutive drives that began at the UIW 44.
An illegal block pushed Southeastern back to the SLU 5 on its game-opening possession. Adrian Norwood blocked Harrison Heim’s punt from his own end zone, and the Cardinals recovered at the SLU 3.
Two plays later, Sean Flannel scored from a yard out, and UIW took a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, UIW moved into SLU territory again. After moving inside the SLU 10, the Cardinals settled for Cody Seidel’s 29-yard field goal.
Southeastern’s score came late in the half when punter Ramon Coto lost the ball out of the back of the end zone.