A week after starting sluggish against Northwestern State, the Wildcats again struggled to find their rhythm as they fell behind 14-3 to Southeastern Louisiana at the end of the first, and would not be able to recover.
The Wildcats were faced with an opportunity late in the third to cut the lead to two, but could not find the End zone. After traveling 47 yards in 11 plays down to the SELU 5, sophomore quarterback Dallas Sealey dropped back to pass, but was intercepted by Mayori Ellison, who returned it seven yards to the 11-yard line.
Although the Wildcats were able to hold the Lions to just a field goal, the turnover resulted in an eleven-point swing, and could have brought ACU within a point. The field goal which put the score at 31-19 came with 44 seconds left in the third quarter and was the final score of the game. Neither team could muster a single point in the fourth quarter.
Sealey led the Wildcat offense with a 300-yard day on 28-of-45 passing. His 28 completions gave him 237 for the year, which is the sixth-highest total in ACU history. He also threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to freshman Josh Fink with 9:50 left in the third quarter.
With the help of that touchdown catch, Fink eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career on seven catches for 102 yards. Southeastern Louisiana’s Justin Alo, who entered the game with the second highest passer efficiency rating in the conference, completed just 19 of his 37 passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The interception came at the hands of junior Royce Moore, who at the time stopped a Lion’s drive deep in ACU territory. However, just three plays later, Sealey was sacked and lost the ball, and Jake Jianonni returned it four yards for a touchdown.
Defensively, junior Sam Denmark and senior D.J. Arnold anchored ACU. Denmark and Arnold each had a team-high nine tackles. Arnold’s nine tackles helped him surpass 100 for his career, and Denmark moved to seventh all-time with 326 tackles. He needs just 62 in his senior season to tie the all-time leader in Ryan Boozer.
The 31-19 loss is the Wildcats’ ninth of the season as they post a 2-9 overall record in their final year of the Div. 1 transition. It was also announced less than 24 hours later, Ken Collums had been released as ACU’s football coach despite finishing the last four games at 2-2.
Next season ACU will open in New Mexico, before playing host to Houston Baptist week three of their schedule in a brand new stadium.