Southeast football season ends at the hands of James Madison – the Lion’s Roar


A second-round playoff game on the road against powerhouse James Madison University was going to be tough for the visiting Lions. That turned out to be true as Southeastern was beaten by a score of 59-20 on Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg, Va.

Five turnovers and big games abandoned were the story of the game. Despite throwing for 397 yards and two touchdowns, star caller Cole Kelley also threw three interceptions, one being a pick-six and losing a fumble.

After a remarkable performance in defense against FAMU last week, the SLU defense failed to repeat the feat, allowing 59 points and 484 yards on JMU’s fourth offense.

Southeastern allowed just 14 points the entire game in their first-round playoff game against Florida A&M, throwing a three-quarter shutout.

Third seed James Madison had 14 on the board after the first 15 minutes of play. The Lions had two different leads at the start of the first quarter but still trailed 14-10 to start the second.

After forcing a JMU three and going out on first possession of the ball, Southeastern traveled 52 yards to set up a 21-yard basket from Mateo Rengifo to hit the first 3-0.

The Dukes responded quickly, scoring 75 yards in just five games, ending with a 22-yard strike from quarterback Cole Johnson against leading receiver Antwane Wells Jr. That brought the score to 7-3 with seven minutes left in the game. first quarter.

Randy Bergeron / University of Southeast Louisiana

Kelley tied JMU’s score in quick succession, completing a senior wide Brennon Dingle shot for a 54-yard touchdown as the Lions regained the lead, 10-7.

After the two teams traded punts, James Madison came back in the lead 14-10 thanks to a 63-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to second-year running back Solomon Vanhorse, who was left alone in the middle of the game. ground.

After another SLU punt, the Dukes extended their lead to 21-10 as Johnson threw another touchdown, this time to junior wide receiver Kris Thornton who posted his twelfth score of the year at 57 yards.

The Lions responded with a long, 14-play, 64-yard drive that ended with Rengifo’s second basket in the first half. The second-year kicker hit 28 yards through the uprights, reducing JMU’s lead to 21-13.

The Southeastern defense forced a punt, returning the ball on their offense with less than 3:30 to go in the half, still eight behind.

Then came the turning point as Kelley was sacked in the backfield by Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey and lost the football. It was picked up by Kelvin Azanama of James Madison on the SLU 21-yard line.

Johnson and the Dukes would only need one game to turn takeaways into six. The senior quarterback found Wells Jr. in the end zone again for his fourth pass touchdown in the first half, bringing the score to 28-13.

On the next possession, Kelley threw an interception at Greg Ross, giving the ball to James Madison at his team’s 35-yard line. Again, it took Johnson just one game to find dirt as he used his legs on a touchdown touchdown, causing the game to explode 35-13 at the end of the first half.

While trying to redeem himself, Kelley instead returned the ball for the third straight practice, this time throwing an interception at Tucker-Dorsey who made another impact play for the JMU defense.

Moving to SLU 22, James Madison couldn’t hit him in the end zone, settling for three. Kicker Ethan Ratke split the uprights 25 yards to increase the lead to 38-13 at halftime. After trailing only 21-13, Southeastern was outscored 17-0 in the final 2:56 hours of the second quarter.

Kelley’s woes continued as he pitched his third pick in the contest to start the third quarter. It was this man again, junior linebacker Tucker-Dorsey, who won his second interception of the game and housed it to give his Dukes a 45-13 lead.

After a punt, JMU added to the misery of the Southeast. Freshman phenomenon Wells Jr. added to his monster performances by scoring his third touchdown of the afternoon from Johnson for 31 yards, bringing the score to 52-13 with a quarter and a half to go.

The Lions were forced to turn the ball away for the second time in a row and James Madison made them pay. Thornton found the end zone for his second time of the day on a three-yard volley. The scoreboard read 59-13 after three quarters of action.

SLU battled through their dynamic duo, as Kelley found super senior Austin Mitchell for an eight-yard touchdown to make it 59-20. Kelley broke the FCS school record in a single season for achievements on the game. That was the final score; Green and Gold’s stellar season is over.

However, Lions have nothing to fear. Nine wins are tied for second in South East history, while Kelley has a good chance of winning back-to-back Walter Payton Awards for FCS Outstanding Player.

Kelley is ending one of the best statistical seasons in college football history, scoring 60 total touchdowns (44 passes, 16 rushing) and throwing 5,124 yards through the air.

For comparison, Louisiana legend Joe Burrow threw 60 points and added five rushing while passing for 5,671 yards during his brilliant 2019 Heisman campaign with LSU.

Randy Bergeron / University of Southeast Louisiana

Kelley will certainly become a legend in the Boot and arguably the greatest player to ever play for the Lions.

The peerless senior ends his college career second in FCS history for passing yards in a single season and second for touchdowns in a season barely breaking Willie Totten’s record established in 1984 in Mississippi Valley State.

Kelley broke a record: the total completion of a single season. This had already been established by current NFL quarterback Taylor Heinicke at Old Dominion in 2012.

His senior colleague, wide receiver Austin Mitchell, reached the milestone of the century in loss, which was an academic record ten times higher than he did during his tenure at Southeastern.

Mitchell ended his college career as the SLU leader for receiving yards (3,149). Mitchell is also the second-all-time in school history to receive touchdowns (27) and catches (192).

The Plaquemines native joins Kelley in the Southeast Louisiana history books.


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