#21 Southeastern Louisiana FCS Football 2022 Preview

Southeastern Louisiana Lions
Overall Rank: #21
#2 Southland
 Southeastern Louisiana Logo
Just like in 2019, the 2021 season ended in the second round of the playoffs. Southeastern Louisiana won in the first round of each of those seasons before they hit the road and were outmatched by a seeded team. This time around it was a 59-20 loss at James Madison. But this was a tough team to beat last season. All three of their losses prior to the James Madison game were each by three points. And one of those was at FBS Louisiana Tech.
2021 Record: 9-4, 6-2
2021 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Frank Scelfo (25-19 at Southeastern Louisiana, 25-19 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Stevens
Defensive Coordinator: Bill D’Ottavio
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Taron Jones, RB, 370 yards
Passing: Cephus Johnson III, QB, 149 yards
Receiving: Gage Larvadain, WR, 521 yards
Tackles: Jack Henderson, DB, 51
Sacks: Garrett Crawford, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: Zy Alexander, DB, 6
Other Key Returnees: WR CJ Turner, WR Terrell Carter, WR Nick Kovacs, OL Josh Allen, OL Jalen Bell, DB Donniel Ward-Magee, LB Herman Christophe, DL John Graves III, DB Justin Dumas
Key Losses: QB Cole Kelley, WR Austin Mitchell, WR Brennon Dingle, TE Nolan Givan, OL Rendon Miles-Character, OL Drew Jones, LB Alexis Ramos, LB Mike Mason, DB Alphonso Taylor, LB Chinedu Ogbonna
Southeastern Louisiana boasted the top scoring offense in the FCS last year, scoring 45.1 points per game last season. Much of that was due to the impressive passing game led by Cole Kelley and his 5,124 yards and 44 touchdowns through the air. As if that was not impressive enough, Kelley also led the Lions in rushing and added 16 more touchdowns on the ground. But Kelley is gone now and the Coach Frank Scelfo will look to Louisiana-Monroe transfer Colby Suits to pick up where he left off. Suits saw most of his playing time in 2020 when he completed 61.0 percent of his passes for 1,541 yards and eight touchdowns. Cephus Johnson III has more experience with the Lions and spent the last two seasons backing up Kelley. There are plenty of receiving threats despite the loss of top pass catcher Austin Mitchell. Gage Larvadain, CJ Turner, Terrell Carter and Nick Kovacs are all capable of emerging as major receiving threats.
Overall the Southeastern Louisiana defense was pretty good in 2021 considering how often they were on the field due to how quickly the offense scored. Garrett Crawford will again lead the defensive front. He will need some help though from the rest of the line when it comes to getting into the backfield. With more pressure on the opposing quarterback, the experienced secondary should be able to make more big plays. They already have a ballhawk in Zy Alexander, who picked off six passes in 2021.
The Bottom Line:
Southeastern Louisiana will not have much time to get their new quarterback going. The season starts with trips to Louisiana and Florida Atlantic. Two weeks later the Lions host Incarnate Word. Most expect that September 24th game to decide the Southland championship.
Projected Postseason:  FCS Playoffs
2021 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 144.6 (61st in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 407.2 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 551.8 (2, 1)
Scoring Offense: 45.1 (1, 1)
Rushing Defense: 148.5 (55, 3)
Pass Defense: 280.3 (122, 6)
Total Defense: 428.8 (98, 4)
Scoring Defense: 32.7 (99, 4)
Turnover Margin: -0.23 (85, 4)
Sacks: 1.69 (85, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (74, 2)