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Cardinals fall to HCU on homecoming

Trailing by 30 points with less than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, Lamar University football scored 27 unanswered points in the final 22:20 to pull within three but could get no closer dropping a 37-34 decision to Houston Baptist Saturday afternoon at Provost Umphrey Stadium. The loss drops LU to 0-5 to start the season and 0-2 in Southland Conference play.
Despite the loss, LU set a school record in the second quarter. In a season that has seen some special plays from its special teams, freshman Damashja Harris added his name to that list by setting a school record for the longest kickoff return in school history (100 yards).
The Cardinals outgained their guests, 376-323, in terms of yards of total offense and held the ball longer than HCU but the Huskies scored their first two touchdowns on fumble recoveries which they returned for scores.
Big Red rushed the ball 39 times for 119 yards, while holding Houston Christian to just 66 rushing yards. Both teams finished the game with 257 passing yards.
Freshman Mike Chandler came on in reserve of Nick Yockey and completed 11-of-27 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns (both to Devyn Gibbs). Gibbs finished the day with four catches for 35 yards, while freshman Kyndon Fuselier had three catches for a career-high 104, and Sevonne Rhea had three for 102 yards.
Big Red's ground attack was paced by Chandler and R.J. Carver who both finished with 45 yards. Chandler also had two rushing scores.
Defensively, the Cardinals were led by three players in double figures (Tyler Jackson, Samuel Scaife IV, and Caleb Arnold). Jackson led the way with 15 tackles (including one for a loss), while Scaife added 11 and picked off his second pass in as many weeks. Arnold also had 11 tackles.
Things didn't look good early for the Red and White who fell behind 37-7, midway through the third quarter. The first half was a defensive struggle that saw two defensive touchdowns and one special teams score before the game's first offense touchdown was recorded.
After HCU took a 14-0 lead following two scoop-and-scores within 92 seconds of each other, the Cardinals responded with Harris' 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown but that would be LU's only points in the first half.
After the HCU made it 37-7 with 7:20 remaining in the third, the Cardinals answered moments later with a with a 23-yards pass from Chandler to Gibbs to trim the lead to 37-14. The drive, which spanned six plays for 70 yards and took just 2:53 off the clock, spark a Big Red rally.
After forcing another stop, the Cardinals were back on the march early in the fourth. Chandler again found Gibbs this time from nine yards out to cut the deficit down to 16 points. The Cardinals got the ball back and with less than six to play and Chandler called his own number scoring from four yards out. LU went for two and didn't convert keeping the deficit at 10. LU head coach Blane Morgan turned to his defense, and they came through with a stop.
After LU forced a punt, the Cardinals got the ball back and drove it down the field in four plays for the score. Again, it was Chandler on the carry from 13 yards out for the score to cut the defect down to just three.
With time winding down, the Cardinals' defense came up with one more stop, but it came with just 25 seconds remaining. Following a six-yard run from Chandler, the Cards signal caller hit Fuselier over the middle for 26 yards out to the Cardinals' 38 yards line but the Red and White could get no closer.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday, Oct. 8, when they travel to San Antonio to take on UIW. The game against the Southland's other Cardinals will kick off at 4 p.m.
Category: Sports