SFA wins big road game
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - After a first half that saw 42 points, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack defense pitched a shutout in the final 30 minutes to preserve a 22-20 victory over Northern Iowa at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa Saturday night. The victory moves the 10th-ranked 'Jacks to 2-1 (.667) on the season, while No. 13 Northern Iowa falls to 1-1.
"You never know what to expect in big games like this," said head coach J.C. Harper. "I talked to our guys all this week that our big players have to step up. I felt like our receivers and Jeremy (Moses) did that tonight.
"Northern Iowa players really stepped up too. Carlos Anderson and Tirrell Rennie were phenomenal tonight. We couldn't tackle those guys, but we just came out on top in a hard fought game. We are striving to be what UNI already is," added Harper.
Despite all the first half offense, it was a defensive play that turned out to be the difference in the game. On 2nd and 13 from the 10-yard line, UNI quarterback was dropped in the end zone by Devin Ducote and Sean Warren for a safety. The play at the time gave SFA a 9-6 lead. The defensive highlight would prove the difference in the game.
The Lumberjacks didn't get out to a good start as UNI quarterback Tirrell Rennie carried the ball 75 yards for a touchdown on the games first play to take a 6-0 lead. The SFA offense finally settled down as senior quarterback Jeremy Moses guided SFA on an 11-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown reception from freshman Kris Lott, his first career TD catch.
After dropping Rennie for a safety, the Lumberjacks were back on the attack in the second quarter. SFA tacked on another score after Travis Walker capped a nine-play, 55-yard drive with a one-yard plunge, but SFA fumbled the snap on the extra-point attempt. The touchdown run was the first of Walker's career.
The momentum didn't last long, in fact it quickly swung in Northern Iowa's favor, as Carlos Anderson took the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers regained the lead when Jerred Herring added an 83-yard touchdown reception eight minutes later. The Lumberjack offense got things turned around with a late drive as sophomore Romonté Hampton scored on a one-yard run to give SFA a two-point advantage, 22-20 heading into the locker room.
SFA held the football for nearly nine minutes long than the Panthers in the opening half, but the 'Jacks were victimized by big plays. Northern Iowa recorded four plays of 39 yards or longer in the first 30 minutes. But the big plays were neutralized by penalties as the hosts were penalized eight times for 79 yards in the first half.
The Panthers outgained SFA, 272-261, in the first half due in large part to 126 yards rushing. Moses completed 25-of-34 passes for 231 yards in the first half, surpassing the 10,000-yard mark for his career.
The Panthers nearly closed out the third quarter with the only points of the of the 15-minute stanza. UNI's Rennie broke away from what would have been a sure sack on third, and took the ball 67 yards down to the SFA 18, but after offsetting penalties, UNI was forced to replay the down. After 42 points in the opening half, neither team could muster a point in the third quarter.
Neither team could crack the scoreboard in the second half as SFA held on for the win. The Panthers recorded 474 yards on the night, while SFA finished with 435. Moses completed 37 passes for 356 yards and one touchdown. Crawford led all receivers with nine catches for 130 yards. SFA held the football for nearly seven minutes longer than UNI.
The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday, Sept. 25, when they return home to host first-year program Lamar. The game against the Cardinals is slated to begin at 6 p.m. from Homer Bryce Stadium. Tickets are available through the SFA Ticket Office at (936) 468-JACK.