Scales

Jariq Scales rushes the football for Southern Arkansas last week against Southwestern Oklahoma.

Southern Arkansas plays host Saturday to its first in-state opponent of the '21 campaign – Harding, which is the only team to beat Southern Arkansas at home since 2015.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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Southern Arkansas enters the third week of the season unbeaten.

The Muleriders have now won nine straight home openers and it marked SAU's 23rd consecutive home victory over an Oklahoma opponent. Head Coach Mike McCarty became the sixth head coach to start 2-0 in his first season in Magnolia joining G.W. Bacot (1919), Auburn Smith (1954), Jimmy "Red" Parker (1981), Steve Arnett (1982), and Don Tumey (1990). Bacot, Parker and Tumey all won in Week 3.

Southern Arkansas owns a 35-7 record at home and has enjoyed four unbeaten seasons at Wilkins Stadium since joining the Great American Conference as a charter member in 2011. Since 2015, the Muleriders have won 22 of their 24 home games with the two losses coming at the hands of Harding.

Harding comes to town at 1-1 overall after suffering a 32-31 loss on the road at Southeastern Oklahoma State last Saturday. The Bisons topped East Central at home 28-0 in the season opener. HU brings the nation's second-best rushing attack through two weeks to Magnolia averaging 349.0 yards per game on the ground.

Freshman Jariq Scales leads the Great American Conference in rushing yards and rushing yards per game. Scales' 268 total rushing yards ranks eighth in the country, while his per game average of 134 ranks tenth.

Senior quarterback Hayden Mallory ranks in the top 20 nationally in five major statistical categories including touchdown passes (4), points responsible for (5th), completion percentage (9th), passing efficiency (10th) and completions per game (19th). Redshirt junior Micah Small leads the nation in touchdown catches with five and ranks fifth in total points scored.

The Mulerider defense, a unit that boasts five players with eight or more tackles this season, is led by redshirt freshman Gavin Roe's 15 stops; 11 of which are unassisted and rank second in the GAC. Redshirt junior Prince Udenze leads the team in tackles for loss with four totaling 13 yards. SAU has accounted for 17 TFL from nine different players. SAU ranks fifth nationally in sacks per game with six.

Cole Chancey, the GAC's all-time leading rusher and NCAA DII's career active rushing leader (3,870) headlines the Bisons' rushing attack. He has scored four touchdowns this season to lead the team. Three other players have recorded over 120 rushing yards out of the Bisons' vaunted flexbone.

Twenty-nine of the team's 31 first downs have come on the ground and HU averages over six yards per carry. Harding has attempted eight passes all season.

The Harding defense is allowing just 16 points per game and opponents are converting on just 19% of their third-down opportunities.

The last time these two teams met it was one-sided as the Bisons added 21 points to 10-0 halftime lead to end SAU's Division II-best 17-game home winning streak that dated back to the 2015 season. The Muleriders' historic streak started following a loss to the Bisons that season.

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