No. 24 Southeastern Travels to No. 6 Montana for Second Round NCAA Playoff Contest
HAMMOND, La. – The No. 24 Southeastern Louisiana football team will continue its third postseason appearance in school history on Saturday, traveling to face No. 6 Montana at 2:05 p.m. in a second round NCAA FCS playoffs contest in Missoula, Montana.
The game between the Lions (8-4) and the host Grizzlies (9-3) will be televised on ESPN3. The contest can also be heard on KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and the Boss 103.7 FM/1400 AM WFPR, online at www.LionSports.net/live and via the TuneIn Radio and Lions Game Day Experience apps.
The winner of the SLU-Montana meeting will advance to face the winner of Saturday’s second round contest between Kennesaw State and Weber State in next weekend’s quarterfinals. Southeastern, which rallied from 17 points down to defeat Villanova, 45-44, in last Saturday’s first round contest, is looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013.
SLU fans who can’t make the trip to Missoula can see the Lions off tomorrow outside of the Dugas Center for Southeastern Athletics at 11:45 a.m. On game day, fans are invited to watch the game on the Strawberry Stadium video board. The field will be open at 1:30 p.m. prior to the 2:05 p.m. kickoff.
Chason Virgil, who threw for a career-high 474 yards on 36-for-49 passing in the win over Villanova, found CJ Turner for the game-winning touchdown from eight yards out with just under three minutes left. Turner (11-173), Javon Conner (9-102) and Bransen Schwebel (6-119) are the first Lion trio to surpass 100 receiving yards all in the same game, as SLU racked up 602 total yards of offense in the victory over the Wildcats.
Virgil (3,355 yards, 21 TD, 11 INT) and Cole Kelley (785 yards, 10 TD, 2 INT) have split time under center for a Lion offense that ranks among the FCS leaders with 37.3 points, 484.5 total yards and 345.0 passing yards per game.
Virgil and Kelley have a myriad of options in the pass game, as SLU is the only FCS team with five receivers with 500 or more receiving yards. Turner (69 catches, 815 yards, 6 TD), Devonte Williams (58-544-3 TD), Austin Mitchell (52-837-8 TD), Schwebel (48-586-3 TD) and Conner (48-524-5 TD) are the top targets for SLU. Williams (565 yards, 8 TD) leads the Southeastern ground attack, while Kelley leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns.
The Lions are yielding 25.8 points and 398.8 yards per game heading into Saturday’s contest. Alexis Ramos leads the team with 74 tackles, followed by Tre’ Spann (62), Xavier Lewis (59), Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (59) and Donniel Ward-Magee (56).
Southeastern has tied a school record with 41 sacks and ranks near the top of FCS with 104 tackles for loss. The quartet of Adeyemi-Berglund (16.0 TFL, 7.5 sacks), Josh Carr Jr. (14.5 TFL, 6.0 sacks), Ronald Cherry III (11.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks) and Ramos (10.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks) highlight the pass rush.
The Lions have intercepted 16 passes on the season. Ferlando Jordan leads the team with five interceptions, followed by Lewis (three), Shawntrez Spates (three), Spann (two) and Ward-Magee (two).
Montana earned a berth and a bye in the FCS playoffs, finishing 6-2 in the Big Sky Conference. In the regular season finale, Montana State snapped a four-game Grizzly win streak with a 48-14 victory over Montana.
The Griz are averaging 440.8 yards and 35.9 points per game in 2019. Dalton Sneed (2,270 yards, 19 TD, 9 INT) leads the Montana offense. Marcus Knight (930 yards - 20 TD) leads the ground game, while Samori Toure (67 catches, 1,107 yards, 10 TD), Samuel Akem (59-848-5 TD) and Jerry Louie-McGee (56-460-3 TD) are Sneed’s top targets.
Montana is allowing 415.4 yards and 25.5 points per game. A trio of tackle machines - Dante Olson (151 tackles), Robby Hauck (120) and Jace Lewis (116) - lead the Grizzlies, while Alex Gubner has picked off a team-high four passes.
Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between Southeastern Louisiana and Montana.