Harrington becomes LU’s all-time leading rusher in win
By Lamar Sports Information
SAN ANTONIO — Lamar running back Kade Harrington continued his record-breaking pace in Saturday’s victory at the University of the Incarnate Word.
He became the school’s all-time leading rusher, set a new record for career 100-yard rushing games and became just the seventh back in NCAA Division I history to rush for 2,000 yards in only 10 games as LU defeated the UIW Cardinals, 28-21, Saturday at Benson Stadium.
The victory moves LU’s Cardinals back to .500 on the season (5-5, 4-4 Southland), while UIW falls to the same records.
“This was a gut check for us,” said LU head coach Ray Woodard. “Incarnate Word has really been playing well. They have beat some good teams this year. They were going for an undefeated season at home. I thought we really overcame some things that didn’t go our way early. We played a good solid team game today. Our defense made the plays when we had to, and the second half our offense really played smart.
After a defensive struggle in the first half, both offenses turned up the pressure in the second. All but 14 of the game’s points were scored in the final 30 minutes of action. UIW outgained Beaumont’s Cardinals, 359-355, with LU gaining an advantage on the ground (282-46) and Incarnate Word finding its success through the air (313-73).
Harrington finished with yet another 200-yard performance, as he carried the ball 31 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Brendan Langley led the defensive effort recording a game-high seven tackles to go along with an interception he returned for a touchdown.
The early assumption about the game would’ve led fans to believe it was going to be a high scoring game, as the LU Cardinals took the ball on the opening drive and moved it 75 yards on 10 plays that took nearly 5 minutes off the clock and ended with a Harrington nine-yard run for a touchdown.
The score would remain 7-0 for the next 18:41 until Justin Roberts picked off a Carson Earp pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. The interception was the second of three consecutive LU drives that ended in a pick, including two at the UIW one-yard line.
Big Red had the slight advantage offensively in the first half outgaining Incarnate Word by 2 yards, 170-168. LU had the advantage on the ground, 119-28, while UIW outgained the Red and White, 140-51, through the air.
LU broke the tie with 3:38 remaining in the third quarter when Langley intercepted a pass that deflected off the UIW receiver and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown. It was UIW’s first trip inside the red zone all game.
Following Langley’s interception return, the offenses woke up. After the LU defense got another stop, Big Red was back on the move. Harrington capped a six-play, 43-yard drive to take a 14-point lead, 21-7. UIW answered right back 38 seconds later when they scored on the second play of the ensuing drive. UIW’s Junior Sessions carried the ball in from two yards out, but the score was set up by a 73-yard completion on the first play.
The LU Cardinals responded by mounting an 11-play, 84-yard drive that took more than five minutes off the clock, and ended with a seven-yard completion to Martell Hawthorne to give LU back a 14-point lead, 28-14. On the drive Harrington put an exclamation point on one of the best single-season performances by a running back in the history of the game. He became not only the school’s all-time leading rusher, but also became just the seventh back in NCAA Division I history to rush for 2,000 yards in just 10 games.
“It’s an honor to get to 2,000 yards, but the credit has to go our offensive line,” said Harrington. “They do all of the work, and they should receive all the recognition for it. The most important part about today is the win. The ability to bounce back after that loss last week was huge.”
“Had you told me at the beginning of the year Kade would rush for 1,200 yards,” Woodard said. “I would’ve taken that. He is just having one of those type seasons. He is a special kid, and does a lot for us. I don’t know where we would be without him.”
UIW closed out the scoring with a late touchdown. UIW’s Trent Brittain carried the ball in from two-yards out for the game’s final score.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday for the season finale against McNeese State. The game against the Cowboys will kick off at 6 p.m. from Provost Umphrey Stadium, and will serve as Senior Night.
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