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Southeast Missouri State receiver seizes opportunity against Tigers
Southeast Missouri State true freshman wide receiver Paul McRoberts had been waiting for his chance at extended playing time.
McRoberts finally got it Saturday night, and he showed why Southeast coaches are so high on the St. Louis native.
McRoberts tied for the team lead in receptions with five, for 66 yards, during Southeast's 40-28 home loss to undefeated Tennessee State.
"It felt great. I like to take my opportunities to the max, help the team out," McRoberts said. "I kind of figured I'd play more. I've been working hard at practice. I've been telling coach to give me a chance."
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound McRoberts had played sparringly in Southeast's first five games, his only catch going for a 22-yard touchdown in the closing minutes of a 35-14 loss at SIU on Sept. 15.
Among McRoberts' receptions Saturday were two acrobatic ones, a 28-yarder along the sideline late in the third quarter and an 8-yarder for a touchdown with under three minutes left as Southeast pulled within 33-28.
"He had a really good breakout game. He's got a bright future," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "He's got great hand-eye coordination. And he's a great kid."
The engaging McRoberts was one of the St. Louis area's top college basketball prospects last year as a senior at Soldan High School. He was recruited by several Division I programs for that sport but decided to give college football a try.
"I'm glad I came here," he said.
Junior wide receiver Matt Bell also had a career game with five catches for 54 yards.
Junior wide out D.J. Foster caught five passes for 86 yards. He leads the Redhawks on the season with 27 receptions.
All-American senior linebacker Blake Peiffer led Southeast's defense with 14 tackles.
Peiffer, a Jackson High School graduate, surpassed 300 career tackles in the first quarter to become only the seventh Southeast player to reach that level.
Senior safety Tylor Brock (12), sophomore cornerback Tim Hamm-Bey (10) and senior safety Branden Spann (10) also contributed double-digit tackles.
But Southeast had no tackles for loss and no quarterback sacks. TSU had two sacks and six tackles for loss.
The Redhawks' defense also continued to struggle on third downs. TSU converted 11 of 15 against Southeast, which is last in the Ohio Valley Conference in that category at 59.5 percent.
* Southeast kicker Drew Geldbach, who had been 8 of 9 on field goals through the first five games, missed both his attempts Saturday.
Geldbach was wide from 41 yards with just over five minutes left in the first half and was short against the wind on a 48-yarder on the final play of the opening half.
* Southeast sophomore fullback Ron Coleman, who missed the previous three games with a knee injury, was back on the field Saturday. He did not receive any carries or catch any passes.
* Southeast junior cornerback Cantrell Andrews, a Central High School graduate, missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Andrews was on the sidelines in street clothes.
* TSU sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard, a Florida transfer who is the Tigers' second leading receiver, suited up but did not see action. No reason was given for his inactivity.