DURANT, Okla. – Sophomore wide receiver Chris Terry set a new Great American Conference single-game receiving record in a wild 56-50 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma on Thursday night in Durant, Okla. Terry’s 247 yards on 10 catches surpassed the previous mark of 225 yards set by Southeastern Oklahoma’s Ryan Shelley in 2011.
The record-setting performance for Terry was sparked by a monster first half by the Lindale, Texas native as he hauled in five catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns. That first half total alone bested his previous career-high by 51 yards.
Terry’s two biggest catches of the night came on deep routes as he and senior quarterback Tyler Sykora hooked up for scores of 69 and 63 yards. Both of those touchdowns came in the second quarter and pulled the Muleriders (0-1, 0-1 GAC) to within a touchdown of the Savage Storm (1-0, 1-0 GAC), who exploded for 28 points in the second quarter to take a lead after being held off the board in the first quarter.
While holding the Savage Storm scoreless in the first quarter, SAU jumped out to an early 10-0 lead as freshman kicker Austin Shoemake drilled a 48-yard field goal for the game’s first score. Later in the quarter, Skyora tossed his first of four touchdowns as he hooked up with Zikerious Ware for a 38-yard touchdown strike.
Early in the second quarter, Southeastern got on the board when DevIon Wortham scored on a rush from 35 yards out. Ladarius Abrams then ran in from 17 yards out to make the score 14-10 Southeastern.
After all the scoring in the first half, 51 points combined, only one touchdown was put up in the third quarter as Southeastern’s Anthony Foster caught a 16-yard pass from QB Nick Sioson. The touchdown toss made the score 35-23 in favor of Southeastern.
SAU would make a major charge, however, once the fourth quarter started as they forced two turnovers and turned them into a pair of touchdowns. The first came with 14:43 in the fourth quarter when Tate Mustin fell on a fumbled snap in the endzone. The play prior set up the fumble when punter Dylan Nowak pinned a punt at the Southeastern 2-yard line.
The second turnover came on the ensuing Southeastern possession as cornerback Quan Warren came up with an interception at the Southeastern 33 yard line. Three plays later, running back Mark Johnson scored the first of his two touchdowns as he powered in from 21 yards out. The two-point conversion after the Johnson TD was unsuccessful making the score 36-35 in favor of SAU.
After forcing Southeastern to punt on their next possession, the turnover bug bit the Muleriders as Victor Daniels fumbled the punt and the Savage Storm recovered at the SAU 21. Two plays later, Southeastern took their final lead of the game as Sioson hooked up with Anthony Gale from 11 yards out to make the score 42-36.
Southeastern would add another touchdown following a SAU turnover to make the score 49-36 with 7:53 remaining in the game.
A 2-yard touchdown run with 4:22 by Johnson made the game close once more, 49-43. With 1:34 remaining, Southeastern’s Wortham broke free for an 87-yard touchdown rush to make the score 56-43. Despite time dwindling, the back-and-forth shootout continued as Karon Dismuke jetted out for a 54-yard rush to set up the Mulerider’s final score of the game. That score, which came with 1:03 left, was a 14-yard TD pass from Sykora to Terry.
Needing to come away with a successful onside kick, the Muleriders hands team lined up for the try. Once the attempt was on its way, the Muleriders did recover, but were flagged for fair catch interference, giving the ball to Southeastern, who took a knee on the next two plays to end the game.
Southern Arkansas will now turn their attention to their home opener on Saturday, September 14 as they will play host to East Central. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m. at Wilkins Stadium.