COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — This week has hardly been fair for Southeastern Louisiana.
Hurricane Isaac dumped more than 16 inches of rain on its campus, and the storm's remnants greeted the football team as it played Missouri on Saturday. The game was no picnic, either.
Southeastern Louisiana turned the ball over four times, with two returned for touchdowns, and gave up two punt returns for scores en route to a 62-10 loss.
"Whoo. That was a tough one," first-year coach Ron Roberts said. "The biggest thing, I think, was we made a lot of crucial, crucial mistakes. I don't care who we're playing, you do those things, (they're) going to put points on the board and you're going to get beat."
It was a rude welcome to the FCS for Roberts, who coached Division II Delta State University to four Gulf South Conference championships and a 47-16 record the past five seasons.
And while the rest of the teams Southeastern Louisiana faces this season may not match up to Missouri, there's still lessons to be learned from playing the Tigers, Roberts said.
"The inconsistencies stick out like a sore thumb," he said. "You can play someone else and not look as bad."
Kendial Lawrence ran for a 76-yard TD and totaled 121 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns for the Tigers, who led 28-0 after running just 12 plays in their tuneup for next week's SEC debut against No. 6 Georgia. They then stalled for nearly two quarters before turning it back on.
Marcus Murphy, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound sophomore tailback, matched a 47-year-old school record with two scoring returns and totaled 180 yards on five punt returns. He added 32 yards on five carries.
Nathan Stanley threw a late 21-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley for Southeastern Louisiana, which since resuming football in 2003 is just 8-45 on the road, including 13 consecutive losses. The Lions were picked to in the middle of the pack of the FCS Southland Conference under Roberts.
Roberts said his team could have been more emotional this week and not focused as much on Saturday's game due to the hurricane, but that it was no excuse.
"It was a big distraction," Stanley said. "We lost a day of practice. But to me, that's just another excuse. We've got to come out more focused. 62-10 is not acceptable, regardless of how many practices you get. We've got to clean up a lot of things up and get back to work."