Lillard to Edwards equals TDs

Friday, August 29, 2008
MIKE WILLIAMSON ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian Southeast wide receiver Miles Edwards (87) sat in the end zone after hauling in a touchdown during overtime Thursday at Houck Stadium.

Houston Lillard and Miles Edwards both had big second halves to last season.

The duo picked up where they left off in Southeast Missouri State's 2008 opener Thursday night.

Senior quarterback Lillard and sophomore wide receiver Edwards had huge games to reach career highs.

Add in career receiving highs for senior Mike Williamson and juniors Brad Stewart and Walter Peoples — along with a career-best three interceptions by junior cornerback Eddie Calvin — and Southeast had just enough to beat upset-minded Southwest Baptist 35-28 in overtime.

Lillard completed 27 of 39 passes for 387 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Lillard, who set career highs for completions and yards, threw for 265 yards after halftime.

"Honestly, I don't even know how many yards I had," Lillard said. "I just try to play."

Lillard came on strong during the second part of 2007 after overcoming injuries and assuming the starting quarterback position.

Edwards also came on strong over the second part of last season to lead the Redhawks in receiving while making the Ohio Valley Conference all-newcomer team.

Edwards caught 10 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns Thursday, including the game-winning 23-yarder from Lillard in overtime.

"We're picking up where we left off [last year]," said Edwards of he and Lillard.

Lillard said he and Edwards began to form a strong connection last season, and plenty of work over the summer has improved that.

"We started it the last half of last year and we worked over the summer," Lillard said.

Williamson caught a career-high five passes for a career-best 65 yards.

Peoples, who moved from the defensive secondary to wide receiver midway through last season, had a career-best five catches for 40 yards.

Stewart also reached career highs with three receptions for 61 yards.

Although Lillard was sacked seven times, most of those were over the first three quarters. He had plenty of protection during Southeast's late rally from a 28-12 deficit.

"We got Houston out of the pocket more and we protected him better," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "Miles is a big-time player, and Mike made some big catches."

Then there was Calvin, who had two interceptions while leading the OVC with 18 passes defended last season.

All three of Calvin's picks Thursday came in the first half and prevented SBU from building an even bigger lead.

"I had three picks in high school, but nothing like this," Calvin said.

McKinley stands out

Southeast rushed for only 64 net yards, factoring in the sacks.

Sophomore Mike Jones, expected to shoulder the bulk of the load while senior Timmy Holloman misses the first five games due to an NCAA suspension, led the Redhawks with 51 yards on 14 carries.

True freshman Jacob McKinley, from Parkway North High School in St. Louis, gave Southeast a second-half spark with his quickness.

McKinley rushed for 49 yards on 10 carries and scored his first collegiate touchdown, on a 2-yard run midway through the third quarter. He had 44 yards on eight attempts after the intermission.

"He performed well," Samuel said.

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