SAGU wins season opener in thriller
Barlow’s last-second pass to Johnson pulls out nailbiting road victory
PINEVILLE, La. — Using a fourth-quarter surge and a shutdown defense that limited Louisiana College to only one touchdown on the night, SAGU opened the 2021 football season with a thrilling 20-13 victory over the Wildcats Saturday night at Wildcat Field.
The SAGU defense held the Wildcats to 105 passing yards — just eight completions on the night — and forced a trio of fumbles, one interception, and 47 yards lost while holding Louisiana College out of the end zone for three quarters.
Jalean Brown led a stout SAGU defense with a big night that included eight total tackles, four of which were solo, three stops for losses, and one and half sacks. Damaris Herron and Zach Nelson each added seven tackles, while Josiah Johnson recorded a forced fumble, and Isaac Gowdy recorded an interception.
SAGU relied on a balanced offensive attack and its smothering defense to come out with the victory. The Lions racked up 205 yards in the air led by Jordan Barlow, the Sooner Athletic Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, who threw three touchdowns on the night, including a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter to Jamal Long.
Long ended the night with two receptions, 67 yards, and two touchdowns, while Zackariah Johnson added five receptions for 81 yards. Keaton Dudik led the Lions on the ground recording 97 yards in just 20 attempts. Dudik averaged 4.9 yards per attempt establishing a strong front with only three yards lost.
The fourth quarter saw a thrilling ending as the Wildcats took the lead with 11:32 left to play, but the Lions immediately answered as Barlow found Long in the end zone for their second touchdown connection of the night.
Following three fourth-quarter stops and only 00:45 seconds left to play, the Lions put the game away with a three play, 24-yard drive resulting in a touchdown from Barlow, who found Zachary Johnson in the end zone with only five seconds remaining on the clock. The Lions’ third touchdown of the night would prove to be enough as they took the victory on the road over Louisiana College to open the 2021 season.
SAGU hosts its 2021 home opener on Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff against Ottawa University Arizona at Lumpkins Stadium in Waxahachie.