SAGU football team remains one of two teams still undefeated in the Central States Football League (CSFL) after a 29-21 defeat of Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU). SAGU is now 6-1 for the season and 5-0 in CSFL action.
“A conference road game is always difficult, especially at Oklahoma Panhandle. It was a great win for our team and our program. They were really physical and I was proud of the way our guys competed the whole game,” says SAGU Head Coach Frank Tristan.
SAGU, OPSU and Langston were all undefeated and locked in a three-way tie going into Saturday. Langston beat Arizona Christian University 21-20, making Langston and SAGU tied for first place in the CSFL standings.
The Lions would strike first with a 33-yard field goal by Tluang Hmung with 8:28 left to play in the first to give the Lions a 3-0 lead. OPSU countered with a touchdown on a 24-yard pass but would miss the extra point, giving them the lead 6-3 with just over five minutes left to play in the first. SAGU made an impressive drive down the field to end the first quarter and would tie the game, 6-6, with a 38-yard field goal from Hmung.
In the second quarter, OPSU would take the lead off of a 48-yard touchdown pass but SAGU took very little time to respond with two touchdowns of their own. Justin Allen ran in a five-yard touchdown to tie the game, and junior quarterback CJ Collins connected with Jeremy Carr for a 25-yard touchdown pass to give SAGU the lead, 20-13 going into the half.
SAGU opened up the scoring in the second half with Collins connecting with Roderick Brown, Jr. for a 32-yard touchdown pass, giving SAGU their only offensive score in the second half. Senior defensive back Matt Williams recorded a safety on the Aggies second-half opening drive to give SAGU the lead 29-13 lead but OPSU would find the end zone one more time in the game with two seconds left in the 3rd quarter (29-21). That score was last for either team as the defense on both sides battled in the fourth quarter.
The Lions defense came up big in the final quarter. Sophomore Jordaan Coleman recorded an interception in the red zone on what could have been a game-tying drive for OPSU. SAGU was forced to punt, and punter Maverick Montiel pinned the Aggies deep into their own territory. Sophomore Landon Jones came with an interception for the Lions on what would prove to be the Aggies last drive.
“OPSU exposed some things with us in our fourth quarter. We were able to make adjustments and in the end, we had guys make huge plays that ended up winning the game for us,” says Tristan, “In OPSU’s last two drives Landon Jones, Jordaan Coleman and Darnell Martin stepped up in a big way and all three are sophomores.”
Offensively, SAGU was led by CJ Collins who would complete 29 of 52 passes with one interception and 295 yards of passing offense. Jeremy Carr had 10 receptions for 134 yards to lead the Lions receiving core.
Defensively, SAGU had several players with good numbers. Coby Roach had eight tackles, Matt Williams recorded seven tackles with one going for a safety, Landon Jones had eight tackles and one interception and Aiden Estrada also recorded seven tackles. Jordann Coleman had three tackles to go along with his game-saving interception in the fourth quarter.