By: Brandon Braich, SFU student
The injury-plagued Clan Football team fell short in Texas last weekend, losing 68–7 to the Angelo State University (ASU) Rams. In front of a crowd of 3,722, the home team dominated the undermanned Clan, who were without five starters including quarterback Justin Seiber.
After a quick three-and-out for SFU to start the game, ASU gained possession with ideal field positioning at their own 44-yard line. The Rams methodically moved the ball down the field, and, 10 plays later, Lloyd Howard punched it in from the one-yard line to give ASU a lead they would never relinquish. Howard led all rushers in the game with 130 yards on 13 attempts.
The Rams scored on their next two possessions, with Austin Landry rushing it in from 10 yards, followed by quarterback Payne Sullins connecting with wideout Alize Thomas for a 21-yard touchdown. Sullins finished with an efficient 17 of 25, passing for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Rams explosive offensive attack racked up nearly 600 total yards on the day.
ASU defensive end Dagen Dunham also added an 89-yard touchdown off a recovered fumble to close the half, pushing the Rams lead to 51–0 as the teams headed to the locker room.
SFU’s lone score came towards the end of the third quarter, when freshman quarterback Brandon Niksich hit wide receiver Robert Meadors for a 19-yard touchdown, making the score 54–7. Niksich, making his first collegiate start in place of the injured Seiber, went 16 of 34 for 250 yards and one touchdown. Despite the loss, coach Thomas Ford was pleased with the performance of Niksich.
“Anytime you lose a player like Justin it definitely takes a toll, but I thought Brandon did some really positive things in his debut,” Ford said of Niksich. “He showed some poise, and made some throws down the field.”
Niksich seemed to find early chemistry with junior wideout Ethan Beselt. Beselt caught 8 of Niksich’s 16 completions, totalling 123 yards, including a 30-yard completion that set up Meadors’ score. However, Niksich faced pressure throughout the game and was sacked five times.
Solomon Hines was SFU’s leading rusher, gaining 40 yards on 9 attempts. Running back KC Kircher also added 30 yards on 11 carries.
“We ran the football effectively and were moving the line of scrimmage in many situations,” Ford said of the Clan rushing attack.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive back Brenden Lowry had a strong game, finishing with 18 tackles. Ford also noted Evan Nolli and Thomas Jackson as two freshmen who stepped up on the defensive line. For Ford, the biggest thing for the team moving forward is gaining experience and getting healthy.
“We have a lot of freshmen playing and they’re talented, we just need to continue to get them older in a hurry,” he said.
SFU’s next opportunity to get its first win of the season comes in its home opener, as they face the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology at Swangard Stadium on September 21 at 6 p.m. Swangard stadium will be the temporary home of the Clan for the coming season as construction on the new stadium finishes at Terry Fox Field.