MONTICELLO, Ark. – Southern Arkansas fell at the horn on Saturday afternoon in Drew County as Monticello’s Josh Marini pushed through a 34-yard field goal as time expired to lift Arkansas-Monticello past SAU in the Battle of the Timberlands inside Leslie Convoy Cotton Boll Stadium.
RV Southern Arkansas Muleriders (8-3, 8-3 GAC)
Arkansas-Monticello (6-5, 6-5 GAC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Both Southern Arkansas touchdowns occurred in the first half as Barrett Renner connected with Karonce Higgins on a 28-yard touchdown pass to cap a four-play, 77-yard drive on the Muleriders’ first possession of the game and with 16 seconds left in the first half, Renner tossed a five-yard pass to Dalton Wright for six points and a 14-0 lead at the intermission.
- The Muleriders answered UAM’s first touchdown, which came with 2:34 remaining in the third quarter, with a 22-yard field goal from the foot of Austin Wilkerson.
- Southern Arkansas was unable to convert a fourth and one opportunity from the UAM6 midway through the fourth quarter on a drive that took 6:08 off the clock. UAM followed with a 94-yard, game-tying drive in 12 plays that ended with 58 seconds remaining.
- A quick three-and-out by the Muleriders set the stage for Marini who knocked through the aforementioned 34-yard field goal at the horn for the win.
- With a 17-7 lead, the Weevils would score the game’s final 13 points to claim the Battle of the Timberlands trophy.
- Higgins finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown and in the process passed SAU Sports Hall of Famer and former Canadian Football League standout Nik Lewis for the program’s all-time record in receiving yards. Last week, Higgins became just the second player in school history to record a 1,000-yard receiving campaign and with his first catch of the game on Saturday he tied the record with 2,852 yards and proceeded to pass Lewis with the 28 yards on the TD catch. Higgins now holds program records in receptions (191) and receiving yards (2,920).
- Renner’s two TD passes were part of a 25-of-35 showing for 258 yards.
- Lorenzo Alexander carried a team-high eight times for 31 yards.
- Jared Lancaster hauled in six passes for 59 yards, while Jaidon Parrish and Darrion Ardoin each caught four passes. Eight players caught a pass on Saturday.
- Southern Arkansas tallied seven tackles for loss and broke up five passes. Brock Floyd, LaMontrick Turner, and Kobe McDonald each recorded eight tackles. DaVondrick Lison and Anthony Washingtonfollowed with six stops apiece.
- Higgins tallied 90 yards on four kickoff returns, including a long of 42 yards.
The Muleriders will now await their postseason fate. Southern Arkansas entered Week 11 with a strong case to wrap up the seventh and final seed for the Super Region 3 playoffs with a win over UAM, but the loss will ultimately drop Southern Arkansas from the rankings and potentially send the team to the Live United Bowl