Turnover bug bites SAGU in loss to Langston
Lions early mistakes dig early 14-0 deficit
Dylan Moore, James Hopkins score touchdowns
Box Score and Play by Play link below
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A fired up and focused Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team was short-circuited by turnovers and fell to Langston University, 41-17, at Lumpkins Stadium on Saturday.
SAGU was bent on upending the preseason favorite to win the Central States Football League, but turned the ball over on its first two possessions. Falling behind 14-0, the Lions never recovered.
They did regroup and drew to within 27-17 early in the fourth quarter. But Langston pulled away in the latter stages, tacking on a meaningless touchdown in the last minute.
For the host Lions, now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the CSFL, their potent offense continues to struggle.
All is not lost with the loss. The team has much to play for as there is still half a season (five games) yet to be played.
Turnovers, injuries and penalties have greatly impeded their attack this season.
A fumble on just their second play set up Langston on the SAGU 20. Moments later they were up 7-0 on a one yard run by freshman quarterback Mark Wright, Jr.
Wright made big plays all afternoon, completing 20 of 29 passes for two TD’s and 278 yards. That was against SAGU #13 ranked secondary.
He also rushed for 35 yards and two scores.
A long punt return to the SAGU 27 gave LU another short field. Though it took them seven plays to hit pay dirt, the 14-0 deficit still didn’t deflate the Pride.
Following a second straight three-and-out by Team Purple, came the first of two major plays that helped spell the difference.
On first down from their 27, Wright threw deep to Cedric Jackson, who had blown past the coverage. The ball was underthrown, but Jackson made the catch, wrestling the ball from a defender for a pick-up of 37.
Four different backs carried the ball for the final 37 yards. Jayce Boyd stiff-armed two would-be tacklers, and then raced 17 yards for a 21-0 upper hand.
SAGU got back in the game before intermission.
Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS, Howard Payne Univ) connected on three passes leading to a three-yard burst by Troy Griffin (Houston, Tx / Texas A&M Commerce) to draw to within 21-7 at the break.
The second decisive play came early on in the third period.
Needing a score to get within a TD of the guests, Golson marched the troops down field. He bolted 25 yards with a hearty run that ignited the team and the crowd.
On third and five at the LU 32, he found Dylan Moore (Denton, Tx / Guyer HS) for seven and a first down at the 25. The next play saw Hopkins lose the handle after a short gain, his second of the day.
Still, the Lions got the ball back and drove to the LU 11. On third down they sacked Golson, forcing a 38 yard field goal by James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS). SAGU trailed 21-10.
The teams traded touchdowns, both after 75-yard drives.
Wright hit for gains of 23 and 21 through the air before finding Jackson again from 13 yards out and a 27-10 margin.
Golson, the senior QB, moved the team downfield in 12 plays, ten of them runs.
A 10-yard strike to Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) advanced the ball inside the five.
He went to Moore again, zipping a high pass that the 6’3 wide receiver went up, making a clutch grab to get within 27-17 with 12:47 to play.
Langston, who had an 80 to 59 advantage in offensive plays, put the game away with two, long, grinding drives. The first went 68 yards in 10 plays, eight of them on the ground.
The second covered 58 in 13, wearing down a defense that had held its own until late. They converted four third downs to move the chains.
SAGU ended the game with 171 yards rushing, but averaged under four yards per carry. Of their 59 plays, only 16 were passes, which went for 107 yards.
Langston finished with 497 yards; 219 on the ground (4.3 per carry) and 278 by passing. They completed 11 of 18 third downs compared to 6 of 13 for SAGU.
The Purple Pride just couldn’t overcome their three turnovers. Langston had none.
SAGU is now last in the CSFL with a minus 6 in turnover margin; three opponent fumbles recovered and five interceptions, totaling 8 takeaways. 11 fumbles lost and three interceptions, totaling 14 giveaways, for a minus -6.
Only two teams in the NAIA have lost more than SAGU’s 11 fumbles. They too have losing records.
Taking better care of the ball is a mendable item that will restore the Lions offensive roar.
The team has five remaining games, two at home and three in-state (see schedule below).
SAGU travels 93 miles north to Sherman where they will face Austin College at 1:00pm on Saturday. The NCAA Division III ‘Roos are 1-5.
They stunned SAGU last year by converting a last minute SAGU fumble into the winning touchidown, 25-17.
The game will be played on natural grass at the 13-year old Jerry Apple Stadium.
The game will be available in four venues;
- Live, in person in Sherman, Tx
- SAGU Sports Network AUDIO broadcast
- LiveStats – a digital play by play
- Livestream by CTVT at $7.99 on-line
Link to Game Stats and Play-by-Play accounts of the game:
Click on the underlined score, 41-17, which will open up the Box Score and individual. Click on the blue box to the right of the score for the PBP.
SAGU LIONS / Remaining 5 Games
10-19 @ Austin College (1-5), 1:00pm, Audio
10-26 Okla. Panhandle State Univ (3-4), 2:00pm, HD Video
11-2 @ Wayland Baptist Univ (0-6), 2:00pm, Audio
11-9 @ Texas College (1-4), 2:00pm, Audio
11-16 Bacone College (4-2), 6:00pm, HD Video