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Texans Edge SLU, 14-13

Southeastern returns to action next Saturday at UIW (4 p.m., ESPN+)
Southeastern linebacker Donte’ Daniels tackles Tarleton State running back Derrel Kelley III in the first half Saturday at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond. (Photo by Randy Bergeron/SLU Sports Info)

HAMMOND, La. – The reigning Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana University football team came out on the wrong end of a 14-13 defensive struggle versus Tarleton State in its nonconference finale Saturday afternoon at Strawberry Stadium.

In a game that featured no scores for nearly three straight quarters, SLU (0-5) pulled within one on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Zachary Clement to Darius Lewis with just over five minutes remaining. However, the tying PAT was mishandled and the visiting Texans (4-1) were able to run out the clock from there.

Southeastern outgained Tarleton State, 410-203, but committed three turnovers and came up empty on three red zone possessions.

Saturday’s contest was the finest effort to date for the Lion defense, limiting a Texan offense that was averaging over 50 points a game versus FCS competition. Herman Christophe IV led SLU with 10 tackles, while Coryell Pierce contributed seven stops and a sack. Tyrone Legette recorded his second interception of the fall for the Lions, as he and Markell Linzer were each credited with two pass breakups.

Eli Sawyer handled the majority of the work under center for the Lion offense, finishing 18-for-29 for 199 yards and two interceptions. Clement led SLU with 70 yards on 11 carries, while also completing four of five passes for 41 yards and a score. Harlan Dixon finished with 100 total yards (29 rushing, 71 receiving) for Southeastern, while Lewis and Bauer Sharp each found the end zone.

Kayvon Britten led the Tarleton State offense with 87 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. TSU’s defensive effort was paced by Jalen Carr and Kyle Taylor with nine tackles apiece, while Blake Smith had a pick six for the Texans.

After Southeastern forced a Texan punt to open the game, TSU scored on the Lions’ first offensive possession. Smith stepped in front of a Sawyer pass and returned the pick 23 yards for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.

SLU answered on its next drive. On a fourth-and-short inside the red zone, Sharp broke through the line and raced in for a 19-yard touchdown run to knot the score at 7-7 with 7:55 remaining in the opening quarter.

A big hit on Jacob Logan by Taylor resulted in a Keldric Williams interception to end the next Southeastern drive near midfield. Five plays later, Britton streaked in to the end zone from 15 yards out to give TSU a 14-7 lead with 53 seconds left in the opening period.

Southeastern drove deep into Texan territory on the opening drive of the second quarter. However, on fourth-and-short from the TSU 10-yard line, Sharp was stopped and the Lions were turned over on downs.

After the two teams traded punts, SLU appeared to tie the game. KK Reno stripped TSU quarterback Victor Gabalis and returned the fumble 40 yards for the apparent tying score. After a lengthy review, the call was overturned and it was ruled an incomplete pass. Later in the drive, Legette stepped in front of a Gabalis throw to thwart the Texan drive.

Southeastern was poised to get points on its final march of the second quarter. The drive stalled just inside the red zone, but Riley Callaghan’s 35-yard field goal try missed wide left and the Lions went into the break trailing by seven.

The Lions again had a scoring opportunity on its first drive of the third quarter. After moving into the TSU red zone, Clement was stripped on a keeper by Steve Albert Jr., who pounced on the loose ball at the Texan 20-yard line.

The two teams traded punts for the next seven drives before SLU finally found the end zone to cap a nine-play, 68-yard drive, but couldn’t convert on the game-tying extra-point try. The TSU pair of Britten and Derrel Kelley III grinded out three first downs to sap Southeastern of its remaining timeouts. Facing a fourth-and-one from just inside Lion territory, the Texans went for it and Britten surged forward for a four-yard gain to ice the win.

After two straight home games, Southeastern will return to the road, traveling to No. 8/9 UIW for a 4 p.m. Southland Conference contest Oct. 7 in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised on ESPN+ and can be heard live on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM, The Boss 103.7 FM/WFPR 1400 AM).

Single-game tickets for the 2023 home football season, which continues with visits from Lamar (Oct. 14), McNeese (Nov. 4) and Nicholls (Nov. 18) are available online at

For ticket information, contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit Southeastern will continue offering mobile ticketing as the primary source for securing tickets for the 2023-24 season. All tickets will be available via e-mail or text message in a PDF format for fans to download on their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded to Apple Wallet.

For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @LionUpFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on X, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and follow lionupfootball on Instagram.

Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Touchdown Club and S Club (football) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern football program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at [email protected] or (985) 549-5091 or visiting

The 2023 season of Inside Southeastern Football with Frank Scelfo is airing from its new home – Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux (305 CM Fagan Dr) in Hammond. Hosted by Scelfo and Allen Waddell, the hour-long radio show will air Mondays throughout the football season on Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and The Boss 103.7 FM/WFPR 1400 AM.

Southeastern Athletics instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of the 2018 football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit

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