Powered by a defense that had five takeaways, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team defeated Haskell University, 19-8

The Lions, now 1-2, forced the hosts to avert their power running game and go to the air in the second half. Haskell managed to complete 19 of 41 passes, but were turned away each of the few times they posed a threat to score.

SAGU built a 16-8 halftime edge, then handed the lead to a defense that played extremely well. Haskell never entered the red zone after intermission.

The Lions allowed 130 yards in the first half, and then pitched a shutout in the second. Haskell finished with 238 yards, but had to ditch their ground attack.

They were limited to 2.2 yards per attempt, gaining just 70 yards on 32 carries.

Trailing 16-0 midway in the second quarter, the Tribe assembled their only sustained drive of the day. They scored on a 21-yard Maverick Lang pass to running back Quinton Newsome, who had lined up in the slot.

SAGU’s secondary allowed Lang to complete only two passes that gained more than 20 yards. A dozen of their receptions went for short gains of nine yards or less. The defense also had three interceptions.

Sophomore starting cornerback Mo Mansaray picked off a deep throw before intermission. The other picks came after halftime, both by linebackers. Senior Kendal Evers and sophomore Daniel Russo reeled in passes.

Defensive coordinator John Allen went with a different alignment in the game, adding Zach Jackson to the line.

The Indians found the Lions’ front four and the linebacking corps very difficult to run through. Senior defensive end senior Ike Caston played particularly well. 

Haskell tried to run the ball away from his side most of the game. Unfortunately for them, senior D.J. Johnson was a stalwart at defensive tackle.

Shakeem Taylor returned to the gridiron after missing most of the first two games. The sophomore was third in the nation in interceptions a year ago. His lockdown coverage prompted Haskell to throw elsewhere.

Freshman cornerback Kyle Flud was tested throughout. He made several key plays in coverage, once drawing an offensive pass interference penalty against Haskell. Another freshman, Brodrick Harrel, did similarly.

Offensively, the Lions offense had their share of moments. They rushed for 225 yards and picked up 166 through the air, including both of their touchdowns.

Starting quarterback Reid Golson connected on 13 of 23 tosses and had an interception on a tipped pass.

Golson ran the pigskin 15 times and he piled up 122 yards. Sophomore Troy Griffin had a productive day, turning 17 carries into 75 yards.

SAGU controlled the time of possession and did plenty of positive things.

While the Lions never truly put the game away, the outcom was never in jeopardy thanks to the defense.

SAGU would’ve broken the game open had it not been for three dropped passes, two of them sure touchdowns in the end zone.

Venique Benton, of Waxahachie, led the receivers with four grabs. Waxahachie’s James Gish also hit a 32-yard field goal.

SAGU returns to action  Saturday when they travel to face Texas Lutheran University (2-0).