SE Louisiana 22, Arknasas-Monticello 17

Updated: August 31, 2003, 1:14 AM ET

HAMMOND, La. -- Martin Hankins hit Choni Francis with a 22-yard touchdown pass with 6:29 left in the game to give Southeastern Louisiana a victory in its first football game since 1985 and coach Hal Mumme a triumphant return to coaching.

The 22-17 victory for Southeastern (1-0) on Saturday night came in large part because of a botched punt by Division II Arkansas-Monticello (0-1).

The Boll Weevils led 17-16 when a drive that could have put the game away stalled. Then Southeastern's Trey Willie recovered a low snap on a punt attempt at the Boll Weevil 22.

Hankins threw for the winning score on the next play and the Lions, a Division I-AA independent, held on defense to close out the game.

Mumme was making his first coaching appearance since resigning from Kentucky in 2000 in the wake of an NCAA investigation which uncovered recruiting violations.

Mumme said his players' unwillingness to fold when they were down late made up for inconsistent play.

"I like they way they hung together," Mumme said. "When a team is just starting out, you don't know how they'll react to that kind of thing. I like their character more than their execution right now, but we're going to work on that."

Southeastern dropped its football program 18 years ago after a 2-9 season and restarted it this year.

Following a 24-minute rain and lightning delay just after kickoff, Arkansas-Monticello jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Wes Baker hit a 24-yard field goal, then Cory Allred hit Shamar Brown with a 16-yard scoring pass to complete a 10-play, 93-yard drive.

Hess Crockett kicked field goals of 47, 31 and 28 yards to pull Southeastern to 10-9 at halftime. The Lions grabbed a 16-10 third-quarter lead when safety Vernon Russell intercepted reserve quarterback Brian Pope over the middle and dove over tacklers into the end zone.

But the Boll Weevils briefly took the lead back with 8:45 remaining on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Allred to Devon Stewart.

<

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index