MAGNOLIA, Ark. – For the first twenty-two minutes of play on Saturday afternoon from inside Wilkins Stadium at Rip Powell Field, things were certainly going Southern Arkansas’ way. However, Arkansas-Monticello rallied down 17-0 in the final 7:30 of the second quarter to take a 21-17 halftime lead and it would be all Weevils in the final half hour of action in the ninth playing of the Battle of the Timberlands; the 96th overall meeting of the oldest rivalry in the state of Arkansas.
Southern Arkansas (4-7, 4-7 GAC) employed an offensive effort that totaled 516 yards on 84 plays and saw a trio of players reach statistical milestones.
Redshirt freshman running back Jariq Scales rushed into the record books as he totaled 171 yards on 37 carries with two touchdowns. The Osceola, Arkansas, native entered the Week 11 affair needing 22 yards to break Julian Frazier’s single-season program rushing record and on his sixth carry of the game, he rattled off a 22-yard run to topple the 28-year old record. Scales’ first year of play comes to an end with an 11-game statistical ledger that reads 236 carries (3rd-most single season) for 1,477 yards and nine touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Hayden Mallory became the third passer in program history to throw for over 5,000 yards in a career joining former signal callers Barrett Renner and Tyler Sykora. Mallory’s time in Magnolia comes to an end with 5,139 total passing yards. His 401 career completions and 43 touchdown passes both rank third all-time behind the previously-mentioned quarterbacks.
Redshirt junior Micah Small hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass, his final reception of a ten-catch afternoon, from Mallory for the Muleriders’ final score of the contest late in the fourth quarter. That grab put the wide out over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season; just the third receiver to reach the milestone and only the fourth time it has been done in a single season in program history. Small’s 2021 season ends with 60 catches for 1,012 yards and a dozen touchdowns. His catch total is the sixth-most in a single season, while his 12 scoring grabs are tied for the third-most in a single season.
A Scales rushing score from one yard out with 11:49 in the first quarter opened what would end up being the highest combined score in the series. Senior Austin Wilkerson connected on a 25-yard field goal three and a half minutes later and less than sixty seconds later, Scales punched in a 13-yard rush for his second score to stake SAU to a three-possession lead.
The Weevils (5-6, 5-6 GAC) tallied 655 total yards of offense and thirty first downs, while scoring on all eight red zone chances. UAM, after being shutout in the opening quarter, scored 21 points in the second, added 31 points in the first 15 minutes following the intermission, and capped the dominant win with 21 fourth-quarter points. After winning seven straight matchups from 2011 to 2017, SAU has now lost two of its past three to the Weevils.
The all-time series, which began in 1913 and is full of memorable moments, remarkable performances and colorful characters, now stands at 58-37-1 in favor of the Muleriders. Since 1970, SAU holds a 34-17 lead over the Weevils.