Minden cleared to play, but Earp still LU starter

Published 11:08 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lamar coaches won’t have to be on pins and needles hoping and praying that they don’t lose a second starting quarterback to injury.
The university announced Wednesday that Joe Minden, who started the Cardinals’ first game of the season, has been cleared to play as the team took buses to Hammond, Louisiana, for tonight’s televised game against 22nd-ranked Southeastern Louisiana. Earp, who started the Cardinals’ past two games, is expected to do the same tonight, however.
While Earp has impressed three games into his Lamar career, Minden’s return is a big boost emotionally for the Cards (2-1, 1-0 Southland). They’re trying to improve their conference winning streak to four games and defeat their third straight nationally-ranked team in making an early case for an NCAA playoff berth.
But the boost isn’t for lack of team morale.
“It’s positive, and it should be,” Lamar coach Ray Woodard said.
Tonight, the country will get a third chance in almost four weeks to see how much improved the unranked Cardinals are — or if Southeastern Louisiana, which rebooted its football program in 2003 — are still a step ahead of them.
“If we’re going to stay in this thing, we’re going to play a lot of tight, close games,” Woodard said. “That was a good learning experience for us.”
Where the Cards’ efforts begin, though, isn’t necessarily with Earp, who torched then-No. 3 Sam Houston State for 223 yards and four touchdowns without an interception 12 days ago in a 49-46 win. And it doesn’t entirely begin with junior Kade Harrington, a recent national player-of-the-week honoree whose 230 rushing yards in that game (to go with two touchdowns) are the most in a single outing for Lamar player in 30 years.
It starts on the offensive line. Woodard acknowledged Southeastern’s defensive line is so talented, the Lamar front will have to give Earp an “extra amount” of time. As for opening holes for Harrington, the Lamar O-line is facing a D-line that held Football Bowl Subdivision member Ohio to 10 rushing yards in the first half, according to Woodard.
Good thing for Lamar that its offensive unit is the top-ranked in the Southland (as is Southeastern’s defensive unit).
“They’ll play some zone and try to disguise some things, and then all of a sudden they can man you up as good as anybody we’ve got,” Woodard said. “That’s what they did to us last year.”
Lamar can reach a milestone with a victory tonight. A win will be the 200th in its history as a four-year institution.
Also, senior wideout Reggie Begelton stands 52 yards away from setting Lamar’s all-time record in receiving yards, topping a 45-year-old mark by Ronnie Gebauer. With 18 career touchdown receptions, he needs four more to set the school record in that category as well

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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