Gipson’s Career Day Propels SFA Past SUU, 41-38

That is exactly what All-American Xavier Gipson did. The senior set the school record with 256 receiving yards to go along with two touchdowns and Stephen F. Austin defeated Southern Utah 41-38 to improve to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in Western Athletic Conference action.

The match-up between two high-powered offenses went back and forth.

At 10:54 in the first quarter and going against the wind, SFA successfully executed a fake punt and 6-foot-4, 291-pound Ky Thomas took the direct snap and ran for a 40-yard gain to the Thunderbird 33-yard line.

The ‘Jacks finished off the drive when Lawton Rikel took the end-around and scored from three yards out.

SUU countered with a touchdown; however, Thomas blocked the extra point and SFA trailed 13-7.

Trae Self and the Lumberjack offense went on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard pitch-and-catch from Self to Gipson.

After the score, the ‘Jacks dialed up their second trick play on special teams. Dylan Brown successfully executed the onside kick and the Lumberjacks took possession. On the next play Self connected with Gipson for a 54-yard score and SFA led 21-13.

On the ensuing possession, Self found Moe Wedman from two yards out.

The Lumberjacks went into halftime with a 28-22 lead.

SUU rallied in the third quarter with a touchdown and a field to take a 32-28 lead. SFA countered with a pair of Campos field goals and the ‘Jacks led 34-32 at 9:08 in the fourth quarter.

Self’s 21-yard touchdown rush at 6:14 in the fourth quarter put the game on ice for the ‘Jacks.

Self completed 18-of-29 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns to go with 48 yards on the ground.

Jerrell Wimbley rushed for a career-high 137 yards on 21 attempts for an average of 6.6 yards per rush.

Jermaine Brown totaled a game-high eight tackles, while senior Myles Heard added six stops.

As a team, SFA generated 555 yards of total offense and gashed the Thunderbird defense with 257 yards on the ground.

The ‘Jacks return to action Saturday and host Utah Tech for Homecoming. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.