MAGNOLIA, Ark. — The Bulldogs went blow for blow in a slugfest with Southern Arkansas on Saturday night, but couldn’t keep up late in the game and they eventually fall 42-27.
The Dawgs found themselves down a touchdown in the first quarter, but an impressive drive that included a 37-yard pass to Adrian Williams and was eventually finished off by a 32-yard strike to Torin Justice got the Bulldogs on the board. That was only the start for SWOSU’s offense.
A little help defensive never hurts, as Xavier Mathis came up with a huge interception deep in Southern Arkansas territory on the next possession to prevent a quick answer from the Muleriders and SWOSU got the ball moving again. This time it was a Tanner Griffin pass to Deshon Moreaux from 23 yards out that gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the season.
A great first half for the Dawgs was capped off by a Nate Davis screen pass on 2nd and 14 that went for 55 yards to the house to give SWOSU at 20-14 lead going in to the break.
The momentum continued to side with the Bulldogs to start the second half, as RJ Powell and Nate Burnard stood up Southern Arkansas running back Jariq Scales on 4th and 2 in the red zone on the Muleriders opening drive.
After Southern Arkansas scored late into the third quarter to take the lead once again, the Bulldogs fought back as Tanner Griffin found a wide-open Justin Bailey on a 52-yard bomb. It was Griffin’s fourth touchdown pass of the day and gave SWOSU a one-point lead.
However, the fourth quarter would be all Muleriders as the home team scored on three of their final four possessions while holding the Bulldogs scoreless in the final quarter of the game.
It was a matchup that was exciting from start to finish. SWOSU’s offense came to play against a Southern Arkansas defense that only gave up 13 points last week. Head Coach Chet Pobolish‘s team put up 505 yards of total offense, the first time a SWOSU team had broken the 500-yard mark since 2018.
Griffin especially looked dangerous all night, as it was clear the SWOSU game plan revolved around him. He finished 29-48 with 437 yards and four touchdowns through the air. It was a career high in both passing yards and passing touchdowns for the Sophomore signal caller.
Another clear part of the plan for the Bulldogs was getting Junior wide receiver Torin Justice more involved from the get go. He hauled in six catches for 83 yards and touchdown against Southern Arkansas, a much better day than the two catches and 18 yards he had against Henderson State in week one.
Reigning Bulldog of the Week Justin Bailey continued his hot start to the season with five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Bailey continues to show up in clutch moments for the Bulldogs. Among his catches were a 14 yard catch to move the chains on a touchdown drive and an 11 yard catch on a 4th and 5, not to mention his 52-yard bomb to take the lead late in the third.
SWOSU (0-2) will look to get in the win column when they travel to Durant next Saturday, September 18th to take on Southeastern Oklahoma State at 6:00 pm.