RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (HSU) - Evan Lassiter threw for 311 yards and the defense recorded eight tackles for loss as No. 7 Henderson State beat Arkansas Tech 27-20, Saturday in Russellville, Ark.
Lassiter, in his first start as the Reddie quarterback, completed 26-of-37 passes and a pair of touchdowns.
Henderson, 5-0 on the season, scored on the opening drive as Lassiter hooked up with Al Lasker for a 5-yard score to finish a 10-play, 6-yard drive.
Lassiter completed 5-of-6 passes on the drive including a 25-yard pass to Courtney Whitehead and a 19-yard strike to Jeremy Wilson. Arkansas Tech, 2-3, answered with a 3-yard touchdown reception by Chris Eastburn from Kristian Thompson with 5:16 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Reddies would regain the lead on their next possession as Houston Ray booted a 21-yard field goal to make the score 10-7.
On ATU’s next possession, Josh Davis intercepted a Jabyes Cross pass and went 28 yards down to the Wonder Boys 27 to set up Henderson’s next score.
It only took four plays with Lasker recording his second receiving touchdown from 11 yards out to extend the lead to 17-7, The defense would force a three-and-out and the Reddies would get the ball on their own 27. Lassiter would work the Reddies down the field to the ATU 25. The drive would stall and Ray would enter the game and kick a 42-yard field goal to put HSU on top 20-7 with 8:01 left in the half.
Tech tacked on a field goal as time expired in the half as Eric Perez was successful from 30-yards out.
Henderson scored on it first series of the second half as Wilson would race to the pylon from 3-yards out. The score was set up on a 55-yard pass from Lassiter to Whitehead down to the Tech 15.
The defense came up big on ATU’s next possession as the Wonder Boys drove down to the Reddie 4-yardline and had 1st-and-goal.
Henderson held with key stops by Dondre Wright, Cam Sonnier and Terrance Bailey that denied the Wonder Boys. After a 49-yard punt by Henderson’s Cody Mikell on the Reddies’ next possession, ATU would again move deep into Henderson territory but had to settle for a 39-yard field goal by Perez with 13:28 to play in the game. The Reddie defense gave Cross fits in the quarter with Sam Johnson and Blake Burnard recording keys sacks that ended an ATU drive midway through the quarter.
ATU, however, would score a late touchdown as Cross connected with J.V. Davis for a 31-yard score with 1:23 remaining.
The Wonder Boys would attempt the onside kick, but Lasker covered the ball for the Reddies and Henderson would run out the clock.Henderson totaled 354 yards of offense while ATU compiled 377 yards. Whitehead finished with 165 yards on seven receptions, while Jacoby Lewis had 6 catches for 46 yards. The ground game was limited to just 43 yards, with Wilson having 18 carries for 46 yards.
Henderson’s defense was on the field 35:19 and totaled 117 tackles.
Dondre Wright led the Reddies with 15 tackles, while Gary Vines had 13, Cam Sonnier 12 and Terrance Bailey 10.
Henderson returns home next Saturday for a GAC showdown with unbeaten Harding at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium with kickoff slated for 2 p.m.