Stephen F. Austin dominates UND
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Turns out, it was the other Lone Star State team that put a Texas-sized whuppin' on UND. Stephen F. Austin -- not Texas Tech of the Big 12 -- took UND to the woodshed on the East Texas plains Saturday night, as the Lumberjac...
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Turns out, it was the other Lone Star State team that put a Texas-sized whuppin' on UND.
Stephen F. Austin -- not Texas Tech of the Big 12 -- took UND to the woodshed on the East Texas plains Saturday night, as the Lumberjacks cruised past the Sioux 65-31 at Homer Bryce Stadium before 10,152 fans who watched their favorite team run 84 plays and rack up 643 yards of offense.
The Sioux simply had no answer for the Lumberjacks, who improved to 3-1 and now appear to be a threat to make some Division I FCS noise.
UND, meanwhile, dropped to 1-2 as the Sioux wrapped up three straight road games in the South to open the season.
"I don't know what it was, but giving up 65 points is not Sioux defense," UND linebacker Ryan Kasowski said. "We kind of got worn down in the second half, but there are no excuses."
UND opened the season at Texas Tech, playing relatively well in a 38-13 loss to the Red Raiders. Then came last week's 27-20 win at Northwestern State of Louisiana, a Southland Conference rival of SFA. So, there was some optimism that the Sioux could finish their demanding stretch to open the season at 2-1.
SFA, however, started strong and never let up.
"We have to do a better job of executing," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "We got beat by a darn good football team. They have a great offensive scheme and they run it well.
"But a lot of the damage was self-inflicted. We missed a lot of tackles in the open field. And we didn't do anything on offense early in the second half."
SFA quarterback Jeremy Moses threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns and running backs Vincent Pervis and Tyrone Ross rushed for 154 yards and 120 yards, respectively. SFA's offensive balance, and the pace at which the Lumberjacks played, handcuffed the Sioux for most of the game.
UND had one chance to make things interesting.
After managing only 2 yards of offense in the first quarter, the Sioux offense found a rhythm in the second.
Jake Landry's 24-yard scoring pass to Ismael Bamba with 34 seconds left in the half, cut SFA's lead to 35-24 at the break. And the Sioux opened the third quarter with the ball.
But the Sioux went three-and-out on their first possession, a trend that continued the entire quarter. UND didn't pick up its initial first down of the second half until Landry hit Ryan Dressler for a 9-yard gain early in the fourth quarter. By that time, UND trailed 52-24.
UND's offense produced 299 yards of offense and 16 first downs to SFA's 30.
"We just couldn't get it going right away," Landry said. "The chemistry wasn't there early. We ended the first half well but we came out in the third quarter and had a three-and-out. That put a lot of pressure on our defense."
The Sioux defense was under pressure for four quarters as SFA's offense was more balanced than what the Sioux expected. The Lumberjacks rushed for 293 yards and passed for 350.
The numbers were inflated by a number of missed UND tackles.
"They just outplayed us," Sioux linebacker Ross Cochran said.
The Lumberjacks didn't throw any new wrinkles at the Sioux, either.
"They played at a fast pace but it was something we practiced against all week," Cochran said.
UND stopped SFA on its first possession, but the Lumberjacks scored on their next three. Moses threw touchdown passes of 17 yards to Aaron Rhea and 9 yards to Brandon Scott before Tyrone Ross scored on a 2-yard run for a 21-7 SFA lead with 5 minutes, 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Sioux managed to avoid a first-quarter blowout on Bamba's 95-yard kickoff return. Brandon Hellevang's 31-yard field goal and Dominique Hawkins' 12-yard interception return for a touchdown left the Sioux trailing 28-17 midway through the second quarter.
UND was hanging around without generating much offense. Finally, the Sioux found some offensive rhythm. Bamba's touchdown pass from Landry capped a seven-play, 78-yard drive.
There was a sense that UND might have a chance to hang with SFA and its prolific offense in the second half.
But that sense vanished five minutes into the third quarter when Brooks scored on a 4-yard pass from Moses for a 42-24 lead. His score capped an eight-play, 46-yard drive that took 3:56 -- one of SFA's longest possessions of the game.
SFA is now on a roll after two seasons of rebuilding. Two years ago, the Lumberjacks went 0-11.
SFA coach J.C. Harper, now in his third year, said the Lumberjacks' surprising success on the ground was big.
"I was impressed with our running game," Harper said. "I felt that it set the tone for our offense."