Southern Arkansas took an early lead in its Homecoming game against Southeastern Oklahoma on Saturday, but fell to the Savage Storm 38-24.
The loss drops SAU to 2-4 in the Great American Conference while SOSU is in a three-way tie at 5-1 with Harding and Ouachita for second. Henderson remains unbeaten at 6-0.
Southern Arkansas travels to El Dorado for a 2 p.m. Saturday game against Arkansas Tech (2-4) in the Murphy USA Classic.
SOSU punted on its first possession and SAU’s Micah Small gave the Wilkins Stadium crowd a thrill with a 77-yard pass completion from Hayden Mallory to the SOSU 10. However, the Muleriders were kept out of the end zone and Austin Wilkerson booted a 25-yard field goal with 8:01 left in the first quarter.
The visitors responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard run by SOSU quarterback Daulton Hatley. Trey Keatts kicked the extra point at the 4:29 mark that put SOSU ahead to stay, 7-3.
SAU got another 25-yard field goal by Wilkerson from the hold of Andrew Schreiner with 14:45 to play in the second quarter. The field goal was set up by a 27-yard run into the red zone by Cole Williams.
Keatts capped an 11-play drive for SOSU with a 21-yard field goal with 9:58 left in the half.
The Muleriders went four and out on their next possession, but Schreiner made his best punt of the afternoon with a 58-yarder to the Savage Storm’s 10. But an 18-yard pass from Hatley to Marquis Gray was followed by a 59-yard touchdown pass from the same combo with 7:26 left in the half. The Keatts PAT made the score 17-6.
Wilkerson nailed his third field goal, a 37-yarder, with 3:33 left in the half, which ended with a 17-9 SOSU lead.
SAU charged out with a touchdown on first second-half possession. Mallory threw a 37-yard pass to Small down the right sideline with 12:50 left in the third quarter. Wilkerson’s PAT closed the gap to 17-6. The five-play drive covered 63 yards.
SOSU responded with a 32-yard pass from Hadley to C.J. Shavers with 12:02 left in the third.
The Muleriders got a break when the Savage Storm punter, Jackson Nalley, shanked a kick into the home stands, taking possession at the SOSU 24. However, SOSU’s Josh Mulumba intercepted a Mallory pass in the end zone and returned the football to the 35. A penalty moved the pass return back, and SOSU was forced to punt when the drive stalled at the SOSU 42. SOSU’s Ryan Taylor recovered a fumbled punt at the SAU 26.
Deundra Wheeler scored on a 1-yard run with 13:46 to play as SOSU led 31-16.
SAU responded quickly with a six-play, 75-yard drive that was helped by a 20-yard pass from Mallory to Williams, and a 15-yard Jariq Scales run. The score came on a 39-yard pass from Mallory to Small. Mallory ran for a two-point conversion with 10:27 to play as SAU trailed 31-24.
SOSU closed the door on an SAU comeback with a 6-play, 75-yard driven that ate 6:16 off the clock. The drive ended with a 1-yard Wheeler run with 4:11 to play.
SAU managed to reach the SOSU 8, where the Savage Storm’s Kevin Simms recovered an SAU fumble. SOSU ran out the clock.
In other Great American Conference games on Saturday:
Arkansas-Monticello 42, Northwestern Oklahoma 23
Arkansas Tech 38, Oklahoma Baptist 35
Harding 49, Southern Nazarene 10
Henderson State 59, East Central 24
Ouachita Baptist 30, Southwestern Oklahoma 10
Great American Conference Standings
All games are conference games
Henderson State 6-0
Southeastern Oklahoma 5-1
East Central 4-2
Oklahoma Baptist 3-3
Arkansas Tech 2-4
Southern Arkansas 2-4
Northwestern Oklahoma 0-6
Southern Nazarene 0-6
Southwestern Oklahoma 0-6
This Week’s Schedule
Southern Nazarene at Southwestern Oklahoma (Thursday), 6 p.m.
Henderson State at Harding, 2 p.m.
Southern Arkansas at Arkansas Tech (Murphy USA Classic at Memorial Stadium in El Dorado), 2 p.m.
Southeastern Oklahoma at Northwestern Oklahoma, 2 p.m.
Arkansas-Monticello at Ouachita, 2 p.m.
East Central at Oklahoma Baptist, 6 p.m.