The North Alabama Lions defeated the defending Big Sky Conference champions Southern Utah Sept. 1 in UNA’s first Division I football game.
The Lions traveled West to debut their Division I football team at Eccles Coliseum.. The game ended 34-30. Neither team had more than four points over the other throughout the entire game, keeping spectators on the edge of their seats.
UNA made it on the scoreboard first with a 35 yard field goal from senior kicker Chandler Carrera, granting the Lions their first Division I football points five minutes into the first quarter.
In the second quarter Southern Utah tied the game after four minutes. North Alabama responded with its first Division I touchdown. Junior quarterback Christian Lopez scored off of a two yard run to make the score 10-3 with eight minutes left in the half.
Southern Utah retaliated with a 22-yard touchdown pass to tie the game again 10-10. The Lions returned down the field for another field goal by Carerra to take the lead.
The lead was not long though. Southern Utah scored off of a two yard run to finally take the lead at 13-16 with less than a minute left in the half. The Lions blocked the extra point attempt to keep it a one possession game.
Two minutes into the second half, redshirt freshman wide receiver Jakobi Byrd caught a pass from Lopez and ran for a 39-yard touchdown. The score did not change for 10 minutes until Southern Utah scored again, bringing the score to 20-23, where it remained for the rest of the third quarter.
In the final quarter, redshirt freshman wide receiver Dexter Boykin caught a 31-yard scoring pass to bring the score to 27-23 with less than five minutes left. Southern Utah responded with a touchdown of their own with two minutes left putting their team up by three.
The Lions would not go quietly. A nine play, 75 yard drive took them to the opposing goal line with 12 second left. Boykin caught another touchdown pass from Lopez while flying out of bounds with a penalty flag in the air. A pass interference call on Southern Utah could not prevent the scoring, and the crowd went wild. The Lions solidified the win with a final score of 34-30.
The Lions play again Sept. 8 away at Alabama A&M. Streaming, live stats and radio updates are available online through roarlions.com.