Barnett steps in to lead Lions by Samford 34-31

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jordan Barnett replaced an injured Bryan Bennett to throw for 155 yards and lead Southeastern Louisiana to a 34-31 nonconference victory over Samford Saturday.

Samford (2-2), trailing 34-14 in the fourth quarter, capped a 17-point come back to pull within three on an Andy Summerlin to Javian Ramson 66-yard touchdown pass.

The ensuing onside kick failed, and the Lions (2-2) ran out the clock.

After Bennett left with an undisclosed leg injury early in the game, Barnett completed 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 58 yards on 15 carries.

“We were very pleased with how Jordan stepped up for us,” Southeastern coach Ron Roberts said. “Bryan probably could’ve come back in if we needed him to, but Jordan played well enough that we didn’t feel like it was necessary.”

The Lions had 490 total yards and control the ball for nearly 39 minutes. Sophomore Kody Sutton led the ground game with 25 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Xavier Roberson added 94 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and Rasheed Harrell had 53 yards on 17 carries.

Isiah Kepley was the top receiver for Southeastern with four catches for 107 yards and a touchdown.

A first-quarter onside kick helped turn the game for the Lions. They recovered the kick and drove 56 yards in 13 plays to take a 10-7 lead on Sutton’s 1-yard run. Southeastern never trailed after that, taking a 24-7 lead into the locker room.

Samford took an early lead on a Summerlin 4-yard pass to Jerry Mathis.

Summerlin threw for 478 yards to establish a school record.

“Any road win is going to be tough, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy against a team as talented as Samford,” Roberts said. “We played hard, and they made it a little closer than we would’ve liked at the end, but the bottom line is we were able to come away with a road victory against a quality opponent. We’re very pleased to close out this difficult road swing with a win and we’re looking forward to getting back home in two weeks.”

Samford had 587 total yards, much of it accumulated after Southeastern built its 24-7 lead. Kelsey Pope had six catches for 128 yards, Fabian Truss had five catches for 101 yards, and Chris Cephus four catches for 101 yards for the Bulldogs.