Indians throw trio of quarterbacks

Sunday, September 30, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Southeast Missouri State University's football team used a "three-headed" quarterback during its game at Tennessee State Saturday afternoon.

Bobby Brune, who replaced starter Jeromy McDowell after McDowell suffered a sprained left knee in the first quarter at Illinois State last week and helped lead the comeback victory over the Redbirds, got the starting nod Saturday.

Rashad West, who had not seen any action since last season, replaced Brune midway through the second quarter with Southeast trailing 14-0. West proceeded to throw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Willie Ponder for the Indians' first score of the game and he remained at signal caller until late in the third period.

That's when McDowell -- who was not expected to see any action -- took over with the Indians trailing 17-7. On his first play of the game, he hit Ponder with a 39-yard TD strike as the Indians pulled to within 17-14. McDowell went the rest of the way as the Indians narrowly missed out on a second straight comeback victory. They fell to the Tigers 20-14 as three plays from the TSU 1-yard line failed in the closing seconds.

"I thought they all did well," said Southeast coach Tim Billings of his three quarterbacks. "Bobby got hit and kind of got shook up a little bit so we went with Rashad.

"We weren't going to play Jeromy, but I thought we needed a spark. He hobbled around and played hard."

Brune was 9-for-14 for 81 yards, with two interceptions. West went 4-for-6 for 27 yards and a touchdown. McDowell was 9-for-16 for 139 yards, with one TD and one interception.

Billings did not say if McDowell -- who threw for more than 1,000 yards in Southeast's first three-plus games before being injured last week -- would start next Saturday when the Indians host Tennessee-Martin.

Tailback Curtis Cooper, who entered Saturday's game ranked fourth nationally in all-purpose running, had another monster performance.

Cooper rushed 22 times for 146 yards, caught nine passes for 70 yards and returned one kickoff for 34 yards. He has been over the 100-yard mark in rushing in four of the Indians' five games this season.

Wide receiver Willie Ponder also had another big game with eight catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, according to unofficial press box statistics, Ricky Farmer led the Indians in tackles with 12. Dimitri Patterson followed with nine and Prince Anderson had eight. Cal Jillson and John Paul Usrey each recorded a quarterback sack.

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