HAMMOND - At this point in the season, Southeastern Louisiana University football coach Mike Lucas is just looking for a win. And it doesn’t matter that the Lions will have to go on the road in order to achieve that goal on Saturday.
The Lions (2-7, 0-5 Southland Conference), who travel to Stephen F. Austin at 6 p.m. at Homer Bryce Stadium, have lost 11 straight SLC games dating to last season, and haven’t won a road game since 2009.
“Hopefully, we can get a win on the road,” Lucas said. “We’ve tried just about every different thing that we could change from how we sleep, to how we eat, to where we go and how we practice. We’ve adjusted just about everything in the routine. We just need to go up there and play and take care of the football.”
The Lumberjacks (4-5, 3-2) started the season 1-5 but have rattled off three straight wins, including a 69-10 victory over Lamar last week.
SFA is first in the SLC in total offense (435.8 yards per game), and quarterback Brady Attaway (252 of 398 passing, 17 interceptions, 2,622 yards, 22 TDs) leads the SLC in passing average per game (291.3 ypg).
His top targets - receivers Grayln Crawford (59 catches for 626 yards, 5 TDs) and Cordell Roberson (58-711, 8 TDs) - rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the SLC in receptions per game (6.6 and 6.4), while Roberson leads the league in receiving yards per game (79.0).
“They’re going to throw it every snap,” Lucas said. “I think in one game, they threw it 76 times in one game. They’ll throw it all over the field.
“They will go fast,” Lucas said. “We talk about going fast with our offense. They will go faster than our offense because they’re in the same formation every time. They never change their personnel. We’ve got to be able to handle that defensively. We’ve got to be able to cover those receivers.”
SFA is third in the league in total defense (330.0 ypg) and had nine sacks last week against Lamar. The Lumberjacks have 18 sacks in their past two games and lead the nation with 36.
Defensive end Willie Jefferson leads the team and league with 7.5 sacks.
“They don’t blitz you,” Lucas said. “Totally antithesis of what we saw this past week from Sam (Houston). These guys will rush four, play zone behind it, and they’re good with their pass rush.”
Southeastern is third in the SLC in total offense (415.0 ypg.), led by quarterback Brian Young (191-343-14, 2,449, 12 TDs), and receivers Brandon Collins (53-700, 5 TDs), Simmie Yarborough (49-655, 3 TDs) and Kory Theodore (46-613, 3 TDs) rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the league in receptions per game.
“We’re going to have to really play tremendous on defense and get pressure on the quarterback and make a tackle,” SFA coach J.C. Harper said.
“With the three receivers they have ? we’ve got to make a tackle, and we’ve got to stop them right there and not give up the big play, which they’re very capable of doing.”
SLU ranks last in the SLC in total defense (440.6 ypg), led by linebackers Ricky Irvin (51 tackles) and Tay Alford (50 tackles).