The game may not have gone according to the plan that Lamar head coach Mike Schultz and his coaching staff had drawn up during the week, but the result was mighty thrilling.
Lamar did not score an offensive touchdown until the second overtime last Saturday, but the Cardinals defense was incredible as they pulled out an improbable 20-17 triple-overtime win on the road over No. 24 Sam Houston State.
“I’m so proud of this team because they never stopped fighting,” said Schultz to James Dixon, Assistant Athletic Director and Media Relations. “It’s easy to get down on yourself when things aren’t going your way, but our guys never quit.”
The big win earned the Cardinals the Dave Campbell’s texasfootball.com small college Team of the Week honors.
Lamar is a solid rushing team averaging 168.4 yards rushing per game this season. The Cardinals only managed 34 yards rushing on 49 attempts against the Bearkats last Saturday.
With the offense struggling, the Cardinals turned to the defense and that unit put on an incredible show holding an explosive SHSU offense to 107 yards passing and 257 total yards in the game.
The defense also scored the only touchdown for Lamar during regulation when Camero Houston recovered a fumble in the end zone in the second quarter.
“We had trouble getting the sign in from the sideline and Ty was away from the center and there was a clap which is our snap cadence and the ball goes into the end zone and they get on it,” said Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler.
The Bearkats had the ball at their own one-yard line and had pushed the ball to their own 14-yard line when the fumble occurred. Lamar took advantage of every break they received in the game including recovering the fumble.
“If we’d been on the one-yard line the ball would’ve gone out of the back of the end zone and only been two points,” lamented Keeler.
“They remained positive (and) kept saying on the sideline ‘we’re still in this game.’ I can’t say enough about their effort,” said Schultz to Dixon.
Both teams exchanged field goals in the first overtime and touchdowns in the second overtime. Lamar received a 27-yard field goal from Bailey Giffen in the third overtime when the defense took over once again.
Defensive back Michael Lawson intercepted a pass in the third overtime to seal the win for the Cardinals. Lawson had an incredible game as he finished with 10 tackles, five solo, broke up one pass and intercepted two passes.
Schultz was thrilled with the effort of his defense after the game.
“We rolled the dice a few times, but we did that because of how well our defense was playing,” said Schultz to Dixon. “I really felt like we could afford to take some of those chances because our defense was going to keep us in the game.”
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