The Redhawks lost 27-17 to UT Martin on homecoming Saturday. It was Southeast's third consecutive Ohio Valley Conference loss.
"Losing sucks either way, but whenever you lose by 10 or less it hurts even more because it's one play here or there that can change the whole game around," senior linebacker Blake Peiffer said. "One stop on defense, one finished drive on offense, even something on special teams. It's just you miss out on one little thing."
Southeast and UT Martin were tied 7-7 after one quarter. The Redhawks got the ball to the UT Martin 3-yard line during the first drive of the second quarter but settled for a field goal attempt. Senior kicker Drew Geldbach missed the 20-yard field goal wide right with 11 minutes, 35 seconds left in the half.
Southeast had four turnovers during the game, including a fumble with 22 seconds left in the first half that led to a UT Martin field goal. The Skyhawks had scored a touchdown and completed the extra point to lead 14-10. Freshman running back DeMichael Jackson fumbled the kickoff, and the Skyhawks recovered the ball at the 25-yard line.
"I was glad it was just three points because I was like, 'Oh, we really don't need to give them a touchdown on this thing going into half,'" Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "We came out OK and continued to battle in the second half."
Redshirt freshman quarterback Scott Lathrop had a fumble and an interception during the fourth quarter. After the team gained 66 yards on 11 plays, Lathrop fumbled and UT Martin's D.J. Roberts recovered the ball at the Skyhawks' 16-yard line with 11:02 left in the game.
"I had it high and tight," Lathrop said. "That guy just made a great play."
Lathrop also had a pass picked off in the end zone by UT Martin's Thad Williams. Williams returned the ball to the Southeast 31-yard line, but the Skyhawks had a personal foul that resulted in a 50-yard penalty.
"Sometimes it happens," Samuel said. "We try to make sure we spend an awful lot of time protecting the ball and that's not our style. ... We'll go back and keep working on it."
Senior running back Levi Terrell rushed for 136 yards on 22 carries. It was the fourth consecutive game and the fifth time this season that he has rushed for over 100 yards.
"The offense is moving. That front line, the holes are huge, and it's making my job easier," Terrell said.
The Redhawk defense was led by Peiffer, who had 12 tackles. Senior free safety Tylor Brock had Southeast's only interception. He intercepted a pass by UT Martin quarterback Derek Carr in the end zone and returned it 47 yards.
Southeast's record fell to 2-5 on the season and 1-3 in OVC play.
"I can tell you this, we're not going to give up on the season," Peiffer said. "We're going to come out every week and practice our butts off and try and get better, and we're going to come out on game day and give it everything we've got, every week."
The Redhawks next game will be against Austin Peay at 4 p.m. Saturday in Clarksville, Tenn.