Cards don’t make up enough ground against Bearkats

Published 12:55 am Sunday, September 18, 2016

**CORRECTS Harrington’s actual span of sub-100 yard games**

BEAUMONT — Coach Ray Woodard suggested earlier in the week Lamar might be getting better because the Cardinals have played “good people” as in FCS power Coastal Carolina and FBS sixth-ranked University of Houston.

Saturday’s 44-31 home loss to FCS third-ranked Sam Houston State might suggest otherwise.

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The Cardinals (0-3, 0-1 Southland) banned media from practice throughout the week and broke out a new starting quarterback in Andrew Allen in hopes of crafting an upset of the Bearkats (2-0, 1-0) for the second year in a row. Allen completed 19 of 36 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, but the Cardinals gave a mostly prosaic performance at Provost Umphrey Stadium before a crowd of 8,343.

Allen was knocked out with 8:29 left in the game, but would re-enter. Carson Earp, who had started the first two games, came in and ran 67 yards on a zone read option to narrow the deficit to 37-24.
Earp rushed twice for 72 yards and did not attempt a pass.

Sam Houston State outgained Lamar 598-405 in total yards, mostly behind Jeremiah Briscoe’s 328 passing yards and three touchdowns. All-America running back Kade Harrington was held to fewer than 100 yards for the third time in four games, dating back to last November’s season-ending loss to McNeese State. Harrington rushed for 76 yards on 25 carries.

Sam Houston State, an NCAA Division I semifinalist four of the past five seasons, gave an early indication of how long Lamar’s night would be — by scoring quickly. The Bearkats covered 75 yards in five plays on the opening drive, capped by Corey Avery’s touchdown run from 9 yards out.

Allen, the junior transfer from New Mexico State, completed 6 of his first 8 attempts, hitting sophomore Zae Giles (seven receptions, 93 yards) and junior Marcus Daggs (six carries, 29 yards) early and often. Giles gave the Cardinals a glimmer of hope early in the third period, taking in a 56-yard touchdown pass untouched.

But the Cardinals failed to wrap up SHSU wideout Yedidiah Louis and Avery. Louis had 113 yards on eight receptions and Avery racked up 136 yards on 17 carries, both doing the majority of the damage in the first half as the Bearkats led 30-3.

Lamar missed tackles on Avery’s 35-yard catch and run from Jeremiah Briscoe in the second quarter.

Preseason All-America offensive guard Bret Treadway made his season debut after a lengthy bout with mononucleosis. But his return didn’t do much to help a Lamar offensive line that could not keep SHSU from shutting down the Cardinals’ running attack.
Harrington had eight straight games of 100 or more yards rushing before the McNeese State game.

Needing something to keep the game from getting out of hand, senior cornerback Brendan Langley took a handoff in field-goal formation and sprinted 55 yards for a Lamar touchdown with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. That cut the Bearkats lead to 37-17.

Langley came up with an interception in the end zone on the Bearkats’ second offensive drive of the game. That set up the Cardinals’ longest drive of the game in number of plays and time, an 18-play, 54-yard march resulting in an Alex Ball field goal. The Cards melted 7:38 off the clock.

Junior transfer Tanner Kanteman sacked Briscoe for a 7-yard loss and recovered an Adrian Contreras fumble at the Lamar 9 on the same drive early in the second quarter.

SHSU’s defensive highlight came a few minutes later, forcing Allen into an intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety to make it 16-3.

Bethany picked off Briscoe and returned it 39 yards to midfield in the fourth quarter, but Davion Davis forced Bethany to fumble and made the recovery at the Bearkats 48.


The Cardinals have plenty of kinks to work out in a bye week before hosting Southeastern Louisiana on Oct. 1.

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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