BEAUMONT, Texas — The No. 9 Southeastern Louisiana rushed for a single-game school record 484 yards on the way to a 61-34 victory over Lamar in Southland Conference action Saturday night at Provost Umphrey Stadium.
Southeastern (5-2, 3-0) scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Cardinals (4-3, 1-2).
The Lions are off to a 3-0 start in conference play for the third straight season and extended their winning streak in Southland competition to 13 games.
The Lions rolled up 651 total yards behind quarterback and Walter Payton Award candidate Bryan Bennett, who rushed for a season-high 125 yards and tied a career-high with three rushing touchdowns.
Kody Sutton (86 yards, one touchdown), Xavier Roberson (84 yards, one touchdown), Marquis Hayes (58 yards, one touchdown) and Rasheed Harrell (64 yards) all contributed to Southeastern’s record-breaking rushing performance.
Bennett also threw for 165 yards on 11-of-22 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions. Devante Scott led the Lions with six catches for a season-high 126 yards, while sJarrell Bennett caught his first touchdown of the season.
The Lion defense yielded 349 yards and finished with a season-high five sacks. Isiah Corbett, Drew Misita, Aaron Price, Scott Korte, Dereck Robinson and Justin Church were all credited with at least partial sacks. Herbert Harris led the Lions with 10 tackles, while Reggie Lesueur forced a fumble, which Denzel Thompson recovered.
Lamar’s Caleb Berry threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-35 passing. Kade Harrington and Mark Roberts each caught touchdown passes. Harrington also led the Cardinals with 54 rushing yards and a score, while Carl Harris also scored a rushing touchdown.
Lamar jumped out to a lead after Logan Moss stripped Bennett and Anthony Beard fell on the loose ball in Southeastern territory. Six plays later, Harris scampered in from 11 yards out to give Lamar the lead. Marquel Combs blocked the extra point to hold it to a 6-0 lead with 10:14 left in the opening quarter.
Southeastern answered with a 10-play, 50-yard scoring drive. Ryan Adams capped the drive with a 37-yard field goal to cut the lead to 6-3 with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
After the teams traded possessions, Scott set the Lions up in Lamar territory early in the second quarter with a 27-yard punt return. Eleven plays later, Bennett bulled in from a yard out to give Southeastern a 10-6 lead with 9:13 left in the second quarter. The march was keyed by a 10-yard strike from Bennett to senior Chris Malott on a fourth-and-9.
Lamar answered quickly as Roberts hauled in a 38-yard pass from Berry to put the Cardinals up 13-10 with 7:56 left in the first half.
The Lions answered with a quick drive of their own. A 42-yard catch and run by Scott highlighted a five-play, 51-yard scoring drive. Bennett raced in from three yards out to give SLU a 17-13 lead with 5:35 remaining in the second quarter.
Southeastern had an opportunity to add to its lead, moving into Lamar territory on the final drive of the half. However, sophomore Tommie Barrett stepped in front of a Bennett pass and his interception kept LU within 17-13 at halftime.
The Lions didn’t take long to add to their lead in the second half. On the second play from scrimmage, Roberson burst through the line for a 75-yard touchdown run. The longest run of his career put the Lions up 24-13 with 14:10 left.
Lamar quickly moved into Lion territory, but sacks by Misita and Corbett allowed SLU to end the drive and take over on downs. Two plays later, Bennett raced in from 64 yards out to push the lead to make it 31-13 with 11:44 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals cut into the SLU lead with a six-play, 50-yard scoring drive. Harrington scored from 12 yards out to cut the Lion advantage to 31-20 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
The Lions added to the lead on their ensuing drive. A 41-yard rush by junior Jeff Smiley on an end around set up a 23-yard field goal by Adams that put SLU up 34-20 with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
After another stop by the Lion defense, Bennett threw his second pick of the game. Sophomore Xavier Bethany returned the interception 40 yards for a touchdown and cut the Southeastern lead to 34-27 with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter.
SLU answered with a five-play, 71-yard drive that moved into the third quarter. Bennett found Jarrell Bennett from 16 yards out to end the march and put the Lions up, 41-27, with 14:25 left in the contest.
After another stop, Bennett engineered another five-play, 59-yard drive. On his way to the end zone from 12 yards out, the quarterback fumbled into the end zone, but Byron Johnson fell on the loose ball for a SLU touchdown and a 48-27 lead with 10:19 left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lesueur stripped Lamar’s Devonn Brown and Thompson returned the loose ball to the Lamar 12-yard line. Five plays later, Sutton bulled in from three yards out to give Southeastern a 54-27 lead with 7:41 left.
Southeastern forced another punt to regain possession. On the first play, Hayes raced in from 57 yards out to give SLU a 61-27 advantage with 6:13 remaining in the contest.
Lamar cut into the final margin as Berry found Harrington on a 24-yard screen pass.