Score: Evangel 28, No. 23 Southwestern Assemblies of God U.
Records: Evangel (1-0); SAGU (0-1)
Location: Ozark, Mo. | Tiger Stadium
OZARK, Mo. – The 2018 college football season originated from Ozark, Missouri on Thursday in front of more than 4,500 fans at Tiger Stadium.
Those fans saw an impressive defensive effort from the Evangel football team by way of a 28-9 victory over 23rd-ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University in a game presented by Assemblies of God Credit Union. The Crusaders blocked two punts as the defense held the Lions to just one touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Evangel jumped out in front with a 40-yard pass and catch from Cameron Hardesty to Jansen Acklin. The second score came from the Crusader special teams when Jacob Eden blocked the first of two punts on the evening.
Maurice Downey scooped the loose ball and scored from 5-yards out to give Evangel a 14-0 lead with eight minutes left in the first half. Eden would block his second kick in the second half to help set up field position for the Crusaders.
Hardesty would find Noah Pierce on a crossing route for his second touchdown of the game with 17 seconds left before halftime. Hardesty was 11-of-19 for 107 yards with two scores in the opener.
A three-headed ground attack saw Darrius Lee pace Evangel with 90-yards on 14 carries, while Zayne Kyser added 48-yards and Ben Friend tallied 44-yards rushing. In total Evangel finished with 190 yards on the ground and was just shy of 300 total yards.
Defensively, the Crusaders held SAGU to just 70 yards of total offense and -6 yards on the ground.
CJ Collins threw for 132 yards on 18-of-32 passing for the Lions as their lone touchdown came on a double reverse at the 4-yard line from Samuel Northey. Northey reversed field twice before finding the corner of the end zone for the score.
Andreas Moeller led Evangel with 13 tackles, 4.0 tackles for a loss and a sack.
Sam Morton added seven tackles while Micah Daniels and Andrew Poppen each finished with six tackles. The Crusaders tallied three sacks and 13 tackles for a loss as a team in addition to one fumble recovery and two blocked kicks.
The win over a ranked opponent is sponsored by St. George's Donuts.
Evangel continues action against ranked foes at home against No. 10 Grand View. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. from Tiger Stadium in Ozark.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.