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Playoff spot secured, Lamar rakes in conference kudos

November 21, 2018

Jordan Hoy is ready for whatever the future holds. Lamar University’s junior quarterback knows firsthand how quickly plans can change.

After transferring from Old Dominion, Hoy began the season as Lamar’s backup. Then he was forced into action when starter Darrel Colbert Jr. went down with an ankle injury during the Cardinals’ seventh game.

Hoy didn’t waste his chance, leading Lamar to back-to-back road wins against SFA and No. 19 Central Arkansas. He piled up 692 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns during those two games, being named the conference’s offensive player of the week on both occasions.

But Colbert fully recovered from his ankle sprain just soon enough to start against McNeese and lead the Cardinals to a come-from-behind win last weekend. Hoy watched from the sideline.

Still, that didn’t stop the Southland Conference from recognizing Hoy’s mid-season emergence on Tuesday, naming Hoy the SLC Newcomer of the Year.

Just days before traveling to Cedar Falls to take on Northern Iowa in the first round of the FCS playoffs, Hoy is ready to fill whatever role necessary for Lamar to bring back a win to Beaumont.

“When you get thrown in like that, you’ve got to be pretty confident in order to have success,” Hoy said. “That’s how I tried to play and that’s still what I’m doing. It’s always a great feeling of accomplishment to receive an award like this, but I’m really excited about what’s going on with this team and keeping this going.”

Hoy wasn’t the only Cardinal to receive a Southland superlative. Lamar senior Garrett Bowery was selected as the conference’s top offensive lineman.

While Hoy found out from his teammates in the locker room, Bowery was in a position meeting when the news broke. He didn’t know until scrolling past a social media post with his name on it.

Bowery, a junior college transfer, said he was honored to be recognized by the Southland, but thinks the conference might have left other worthy Cardinals off the list.

“I have to give a shout out to my guys, those are some bad dudes up front,” Bowery said of Lamar’s offensive line. “Playing o-line isn’t an individual thing, and I think there are some guys that deserved to be recognized, too.”

Bowery might have a point. A Lamar offensive line that was a perceived weakness last year is a big reason why the Cardinals rank 12th nationwide in rushing yards per game.

Two other Lamar players were named to the all-conference team on Tuesday. Senior defensive back Davon Jernigan garnered first-team honors, while defensive lineman Dedrick Garner was a second-team selection.

Jernigan made a game-sealing interception on McNeese final possession last weekend to give Lamar its six-straight win.

Six other Cardinals were honorable mentions.

Lamar coach Mike Schultz said the Southland recognition is just another sign of the team’s progress this season.

“I’m very excited for each of these young men,” Schultz said. “Most people only get to see them on gameday, so they never get to see the hard work they put in during the offseason, in weight room and film study, but as a coach I got a firsthand look.

“They committed themselves to getting bigger, faster and stronger. It was great to see that hard work pay off on the field, and now for it to be recognized by the other coaches and media relations directors in the league.”

mfaye@beaumontenterprise.com

twitter.com/mattGfaye

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