RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Henderson State put up 634 yards of offense and L’liott Curry scored on a walk-off 10-yard touchdown in overtime as the Reddies outlasted Arkansas Tech 41-38 on Saturday afternoon.
The win improves No. 20 HSU to 7-1 on the year and keeps them in the running for a potential Great American Conference title and NCAA DII Playoff berth with three regular season games remaining.
The Reddies (7-1) trailed 14-13 at the half, but got a 2-yard touchdown plunge from Duce Sproles with 6:04 in the third quarter to take a 21-20 advantage. Henderson looked poised to go in front by two scores late in the quarter, but a fumble on the 1-yard line ended the drive.
Following the fumble, Arkansas Tech capitalized on the momentum and used a 49-yard pass to set up the go-ahead score touchdown with 12:12 remaining in the game.
Trailing 21-20, Henderson’s offense answered and used a nine-play 75-yard drive, which was capped by another 1-yard score from Sproles and a leaping two-point conversion from Curry, to retake the lead, 28-21. The Wonder Boys would not go away, however, and matched the Reddies’ score with one of their own to tie the game at 28-28 with 5:26 left.
It looked as though HSU delivered a knock-out blow on its next possession when Adam Morse connected with Xavier Malone for a 54-yard touchdown with 3:24 remaining. Down 35-28, Tech found a way to answer once again and scored on a 10-yard pass with five seconds to go to tie the contest and send it into overtime.
In the extra period, the Reddies’ defense, after surrendering the late score, stood tall and forced ATU to settle for a 24-yard field goal. Henderson’s offense needed just two plays to come away with the winning touchdown. A 15-yard strike to Malone set HSU up with a 1st-and-Goal, and on the next play, Morse found Curry on a slant. With defenders draped on him, Curry stretched the ball across the plane of the goal line to set off a wild celebration on the visitor’s sideline and win it for the Reddies.
The Henderson offense put up big stats in the road victory. Morse finished 28-of-41 for a career-high 522 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His 522 yards marks the first 500-yard passing performance by a Reddie since 2013 and is the fourth-most passing yards in a single game in school history.
Malone caught nine passes for 200 yards and a score, and Curry added 11 catches for 193 yards and the winning touchdown. Malone’s big day is just the eighth 200-yard receiving game in program history. Sproles led the Reddies on the ground with 17 carries for 65 yards and the two scores. Patrick Jones and Jacob Greenfield each had 10 stops to spearhead the HSU defense.
Henderson returns to Arkadelphia next Saturday at 2 p.m. for the final home game of the regular season against Southern Nazarene.