Brenden Dabney

Brenden Dabney

Lamar University defeated Houston Baptist University, 23-16, Saturday, at Husky stadium, to record their first conference victory of the year and end a seven-game losing streak.   

HBU jumped to an early lead in the first quarter, edging the Cardinals 13-2 before LU’s persistent offense quickly closed the gap in the next two quarters.

LU scored their first touchdown with 40 seconds left in the second quarter when freshman Myles Wanza took a 4-yard run at the end of a 9-play, 99-yard stretch to close in on the Huskies 9-13.

LU’s defense held the Huskies to only three points in the second half, which came from a 58-yard field goal by HBU’s kicker Alec Chadwick.

The Cardinals went on the attack in the fourth quarter with help from special teams. Junior Brandon Dabney blocked a punt to allow linebacker Desmond Veal to pick up the ball and sail into the end zone to tie the score at 16-16 with 12:29 to go.

“Dabney did a great job,” head coach Mike Schultz said. “He did exactly like we did it in practice. He shot his hands low off the punters foot. Desmond Veal from Westbrook was the man on the spot to scoop up into the end zone. I like special teams scores and defense scores — those are good scores.”

Six minutes later, LU quarterback Blake McKenzie threw a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Isaiah Howard to give Lamar the lead and the victory, 23-16.

McKenzie completed 12-of-26 pass attempts, throwing for 193 yards and one  touchdown. LU had a total of 306 rushing yards compared to HBU’s 173. Defensively Lamar was led by senior Jaylon Bowden with seven solo tackles followed by Rodney Randle Jr with four.

The Cardinals will play their final game against rival McNeese State, Saturday, at 7 p.m., in Provost Umphrey Stadium.

“They are tough,” Schultz said. “Make no joke about it. I’ve watched them on defense, they are extremely athletic, very fast and very aggressive — they take chances.”

Lamar will attempt to thwart McNeese’s 25-9-1 all-time record against the Cowboys and end their season on a high note with two consecutive wins.

Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP sports editor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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