EL DORADO, Ark. — After allowing two early first quarter touchdowns, the Southern Arkansas University defense would hold the Arkansas Tech offense to just three points which came late in the fourth quarter, as the SAU offense put up 34 unanswered points behind redshirt freshman Jariq Scales’s 245 rushing yards to pick up the 34-17 win. SAU is now 3-4 in Great American Conference play, while ATU falls to 2-5.
ATU built an early first quarter lead as Caleb Batie and Kyren Harrison both scored rushing touchdowns to cap off a 13 play 75-yard drive, followed by an eight play 53-yard drive, which would go on to be the only Wonder Boys touchdowns of the contest. The SAU defense would start their dominant showing on ATU’s third drive of the game, as Brock Floyd recovered a fumble and took it to the house for 60-yards to cut the deficit to one score with 2:18 left in the first quarter.
The SAU defense would hold ATU scoreless to start the second quarter as they missed a 41-yard field goal. Still scoreless late in the second quarter, SAU would start their first scoring drive of the game from the SAU 30 yard line. The offense would only need one pass interference call and a 55-yard touchdown run by Scales to tie the game at 14-14, which capped off a one play 70-yard drive with just under four minutes to play in the first half.
Tied 14-14 to start the second half, SAU would use two special teams’ plays to jump out to a 24-14 lead. The Muleriders first drive of the second half resulted in a bounce back season long 38-yard field goal from Austin Wilkerson, who missed a 38-yard field goal in the first half. On the ensuing drive, the SAU defense forced an ATU punt which was blocked by wide receiver Cole Williams and then recovered by wide receiver Trent Franklin who took the scoop and score 37-yards to the house for the Mulerider touchdown at the 11:12 mark.
Senior quarterback Hayden Mallory (9-21, 139 yds, 1 TD) threw his only touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter as he hit Matthew Whitten on a 38-yard fade ball in the end zone for Whitten’s first career TD (7:30). ATU and SAU would trade field goals in the fourth quarter as Jesus Zizumbo knocked one in from 30 yards out with 8:52 in the fourth. Wilkerson would tack on three more points to the Mulerider lead late in the fourth quarter as he booted a 24-yard field goal with :57 remaining in the fourth to give SAU the 34-17 lead.
Scales’s 245 rushing yards now ranks second all-time in program history, only behind Mark Johnson’s 264 yards against McMurry in 2012. He now has 908 rushing yards on the season to go along with 5 touchdowns.
Floyd led the SAU defense with 14 total tackles including one tackle for loss. Rayvon Ingram and Gavin Roe each collected 10 tackles. Del Kristopher Wade tallied nine tackles, while Zack Rice finished with a career high eight tackles and one tackle for loss.
The SAU defensive line was in ATU backfield all day, as David Walker found himself in the behind the line of scrimmage five times as he finished with seven tackles, two sacks and five tackles for loss for 26-yards. Teammates Prince Udenze and Demoni Boyd joined Walker for the party in the backfield as Udenze totaled four tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. Boyd collected six tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. The defense tallied 12 tackles for loss for 61 yards on the day.
Andrew Schreiner punted four times for 158 yards for an average of 39.5. Schreiner had a long of 53 and landed one punt inside of the 20 yard line. Wilkerson booted five touchbacks as he kicked off seven times for 421 yards, to go along with his two field goals and four extra points.
Southern Arkansas will return to Arkadelphia for the second time this season next week as they have a matchup with Ouachita Baptist University Tigers on Saturday, October 23. Kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. Live coverage links are available at www.MuleriderAthletics.com.