ARKADELPHIA – Southern Arkansas led 17-14 heading into the fourth quarter of Saturday afternoon's Great American Conference game at Henderson State before falling 38-31.
The Muleriders were unable to hold onto the lead despite two touchdowns in the final 15 minutes as the Reddies scored 24 points in the quarter.
The Muleriders (7-3, 7-3 GAC) out-gained HSU on the ground and through the air as they ran 14 more plays and held the football for more than nine and a half minutes than their opponent. SAU tallied 446 yards of total offense behind 309 yards passing and 137 yards rushing. Additionally, the Muleriders were 12-of-16 on third down.
Three interceptions proved the difference in the game.
HSU scored five seconds into the fourth quarter to take a 21-17 lead, but three and a half minutes later Washington punched in a carry from five yards out to give the Muleriders a 24-21 advantage. After forcing a Henderson State punt, the Muleriders gave the football back after a pass was tipped multiple times before being picked off by HSU. The Reddies took advantage with a 33-yard run up the middle put HSU back out front at 28-24.
With 6:57 to play, Temo Martinez pushed through a 21-yard field goal as the Muleriders held firm in the red zone following a turnover.
At the 2:53 mark, junior quarterback Hayden Mallory found Jones to tie the game at 31. However, with 29 seconds to play, the Reddies punched in the go-ahead score. The following SAU drive made it into Henderson State territory before the last chance pass was picked off.
Redshirt senior SirCharles Perkins was the leading rusher with 65 yards on 14 carries. He finished with 186 all-purpose yards. Redshirt senior Kor'Davion Washington scored on the ground as did freshman O.B. Jones, who was the team's leading pass catcher in the loss with seven grabs for 86 yards and a touchdown. Dekendrick Bender caught a touchdown pass and finished with three catches for 33 yards. Mallory finished 25-of-40 for 309 yards.
Sophomore Brock Floyd, redshirt senior Malik Preston and redshirt junior Antonio Washington all recorded six tackles. Preston added a sack. Senior LaMontrick Turner broke up three passes.
The Muleriders prepare to close out the regular season next Saturday in Magnolia. Southern Arkansas welcomes Arkansas-Monticello for a Battle of the Timberlands matchup from Wilkins Stadium at Rip Powell Field. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
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