NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The last time the McMurry football team traveled to Stephen F. Austin, the results was the worst defeat in school history to open the 2011 season. While the 2013 War Hawks still tasted defeat at the hands of the Lumberjacks, they stood toe-to-toe versus their NCAA Division I FCS opponent before eventually succumbing, 50-13, at Homer Bryce Stadium.
In that 2011 game (an 82-6 loss), the War Hawks never threatened the Lumberjacks. However, in the 2013 version of the game, McM head coach Mason Miller's young squad actually held a 13-10 lead over SFA in the second quarter.
On the opening series of the game, SFA drove all the way down to the War Hawks' 14 yard line. However, the McM defense stiffened to force three successive incompletes and making the hosts settle for a 30 yard field goal to take the 3-0 lead at the 13:35 juncture of the opening period.
With 4:26 remaining in the first quarter, SFA upped its advantage to 10-0. Gus Johnson had a one-yard dive to cap a 13 play, 75-yard drive.
McMurry took the ensuing kickoff and was finally able to breech the end zone. Chris Simpson carried eight times in the series and quarterback Brady Lambert had four completions, including a nifty 31-yard strike to Jeret Smith. Simpson's one-yard rush for the TD cut the deficit to 10-6, as it stayed after the failed PAT with 20 seconds left on the quarter clock.
After McM kicked off, the Lumberjacks tried a pass to the right side near midfield. However, McMurry defensive back Cory Pippen stepped in front of the receiver to nullify the threat and give his team good field position to start the second quarter.
Simpson had a six yard reception and 10-yard rush to help better the War Hawks' position. Lambert then found Smith on another long pass – this one for 29 yards – that put the ball on the SFA three. On the next play, Simpson ran the ball in for his second TD of the night that, with the extra point, gave McMurry a 13-10 lead with 14:13 left in the half.
Unfortunately for the War Hawks, the Lumberjacks would capitalize on McMurry mistakes to reel off 24 unanswered points to close out the first half, and would never look back. SFA scored on one drive aided by an ill-timed unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against McMurry, two drives that began in McM's own territory after shanked punts and another that followed an interception (also in the War Hawks' own end of the field).
The result was SFA taking a 34-13 cushion into the halftime locker room.
The Lumberjacks tallied a safety in the third quarter and booked 17 fourth quarter points – while keeping the McM offense at bay - for the 50-13 final score.
McMurry had 284 yards of total offense, while SFA amassed 630 yards (378 through the air). Lambert completed 27-of-45 passes for 212 yards. Simpson led the rushing game with 54 yards on 19 carries.
Smith caught nine passes for 106 yards. Greg Livingston had eight grabs for 31 yards.
Desmond Guy surpassed his career high game for tackles for the second-consecutive week. Guy had 14 stops to pace the War Hawks. Jonathan Blair added 10 tackles and Niko Alana nine.
The War Hawks will play their third-consecutive road game to open the season next Saturday, when the team travels to Texas A&M-Kingsville.