Redhawks Send Seniors Off with 32-25 Comeback Victory Over Jacksonville State
Nov. 17, 2007
By Tyler Koonce, Assistant Football Contact
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Southeast Missouri State outscored Jacksonville State 22-0 over the final 15:46 for a 32-25 comeback victory Saturday at Houck Stadium. The Redhawks finish the season 3-8 (1-6) while Jacksonville State concludes 2007 6-5 (5-3). Houston Lillard threw three second half touchdown passes to lead the comeback.
Jacksonville State pulled ahead 15-0 in the first quarter on two Gavin Hallford field goals, and a touchdown and safety on separate blocked punts. Terrell Johnson scored the touchdown when he recovered the blocked punt in the end zone with 6:55 left in the first quarter.
Doug Spada got Southeast on the board with a 42-yard field goal with 1:40 left in the first half. His successful kick capped a 12 play, 42-yard drive over 6:10.
Hallford added a 45-yard field goal to open the second half scoring that put the Gamecocks ahead 18-3.
The Redhawks answered back three minutes later when Miles Edwards caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Houston Lillard. It was the first of his two scores on the day and with Spada's extra point Southeast cut the lead to 18-10.
Quarterback Cedric Johnson pushed the lead back to 15 for Jacksonville State when he finished a nine play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Lillard led the Redhawks back down the field and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Tuineau. It was his second scoring throw on the day and the first of the career of the 6-8 tight end. The key play on the drive was a 53-yard completion to Edwards down the sideline on 2nd and 26. Spada's point after was good to make the score 25-17.
On the next drive, the Redhawks defense came alive and forced a three and out. Bryan Blanfort made a game-changing play when he blocked the Zach Walden punt that was then recovered by Mukai Matsiga and returned 13 yards for a touchdown. Down by two, Southeast took a page out of the Florida playbook when Houston Lillard took a shotgun snap, ran towards the line of scrimmage and then threw a jump pass to Tuineau to complete the two-point conversion and tie the score at 25 with 13:28 left in the game.
The Southeast defense stepped up again on the next possession when Vincent Anderson made his first career interception and returned it 26 yards to the Jacksonville State 36-yard line. Lillard connected with Michael Williamson on a 25-yard pass on 3rd and 18 to put the Redhawks inside the 10-yard line. He would then find Edwards on a six-yard slant pattern for his third touchdown pass of the game, the second to the freshman wide receiver. Spada made the extra point to give Southeast its first lead at 32-25.
The defense would force a punt and the Redhawks were able to sustain a 14-play drive over the final 6:16 to run out the clock. The Redhawks successfully completed third downs on a 14-yard pass to Brad Stewart on 3rd and 13, and a 25-yard completion to Tuineau on 3rd and 3 to keep the drive alive. Elton Peterson added 27 yards rushing on the clinching drive.
Lillard finished 14-25 passing for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Edwards led the receivers with a game-best four catches for 86 yards and two scores. Williamson, Stewart, Tuineau, Walter Peoples and Clint Jones each caught two passes in the victory. Peterson registered his first career 100-yard rushing performance with a game-high 120 yards on 33 carries. Mike Jones added 47 yards on the ground in 14 attempts.
Jacksonville State quarterback Matt Hardin went 10-20 passing for 159 yards and one interception. Daniel Jackson rushed 16 times for 73 yards for the Gamecocks. Taurean Rhetta led the receivers with three catches for 34 yards while James Wilkerson caught two passes for 61 yards.
Defensively, Adam Casper finished his standout career with 12 tackles from his linebacker position. Romae Rucker and Jared Goodson each made six tackles. Vincent Anderson returned an interception 26 yards and recovered a fumble that was forced by his twin brother, Victor Anderson. It was Victor's third forced fumble in the last two weeks. Nick Ketelsleger and Nick Stauffer each recorded one sack while Hannibal Vaivao, Errick Aliifua and Leon Hill each registered tackles for losses.
Devin Phillips carried the Jacksonville State defense with 11 tackles, one forced fumble and one sack. Drew Robinson and Alexander Henderson both finished with nine tackles.
The Redhawks conclude the 2007 campaign by defeating Jacksonville State for the first time since 1969. Clayton Caron, Adam Casper, Pat Christian, Joe Grant, Clint Jones, Francisco Perez, Elton Peterson, Romae Rucker and Joseph Tuineau conclude their Southeast careers and were honored along with their families prior to kickoff.