Southwestern Oklahoma at Southern Arkansas
Wilkins Stadium, Magnolia, Saturday, 6 p.m.
Media: Live Video, Live stats at muleriderathletics.com (multimedia tab)
STARTING A STREAK: The Southern Arkansas football team will look to begin their first winning streak of 2013 as they are coming off of an impressive 50-16 win over East Central last week.
Contrary to what the 50-point output on the scoreboard might indicate, it was the Muleriders’ (1-1, 1-1 GAC) defense that was story of the game as they forced a season-high six turnovers.
At one point in the ECU game, the Mulerider defense forced a turnover on four consecutive drives. All four of those turnovers would eventually turn into a touchdown for the Muleriders on the other end.
ABOUT SOUTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA: Southwestern Oklahoma enters play this evening as the top team in the Great American Conference as they have gotten off to a 2-0 start to their year and conference slate. Last week, the Bulldogs hit the road and knocked off an upstart Arkansas Tech team, 28-17. That win for the Bulldogs came off the heels of the team’s upset 27-23 win over then No. 25 Harding in week one. The Bulldogs early 2-0 start is somewhat of a suprise as the league head coaches tabbed SWOSU to finish seventh in the GAC in their preseason poll. One of the reasons for the Bulldogs’ early success is the play of their senior signal-caller Dustin Stenta. On the year, Stenta has thrown for 511 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception.
Stenta has also proved to be a dual threat at times as he is the team’s second-leading rusher with 121 yards and a touchdown.
That rushing touchdown for Stenta couldn’t have come at a better time as it was the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown in SWOSU’s 27-23 win over Harding. Offensively, the Bulldogs are averaging 27.5 points per game and are putting up an average of 419.0 yards of total offense per game. 255.5 of those yards are coming from the air and 163.5 are coming from the ground. SWOSU’s leading rusher is D.C. Walker with 177 yards on 46 carries. The leading pass-catcher is preseason All-America tight end Ryan Corbin with 11 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Bulldogs are holding opponents to 20.0 ppg and 340.0 yards of total offense per game. The Bulldog defense has forced four turnovers on the season. Eight Bulldogs have recorded 10 or more tackles with Jim O’Brien leading the way with 17.
IT’S A 50-50 CHANCE: So far this season, the Muleriders have scored 50 points in each of their first two games, tying the team record for most 50-point games in a season. Previous years with two 50-point games include 2012, 2005, 2003, 1948, 1920, and 1914.
Show Me 50 points and I’ll Show You a WinWith the Muleriders scoring 50 points in their first two games of 2013, SAU, as a school has now reached the 50-point mark 27 times. The Muleriders record in games in which they score at least 50 points is an outstanding 26-1. The lone loss came in week one this season when SAU lost to Southeastern 56-50.
JOHNSON RUSHING TOWARDS THE RECORD BOOKS
• Career Rushing Record —- With an 86-yard effort against East Central, Mark Johnson, the 2008 Gulf South Conference Freshman
of the Year and two-time All-GAC First-Team running back, set a new career rushing record at SAU. Currently, Johnson
has 3,077 career rushing yards and is coming off of his second consecutive 1,000+ yard rushing season. Johnson passed Mark Mason’s (1985-88) old mark of 3,034 career rushing yards.
• Career Touchdowns Scored Record — Johnson enters play tonight with 34 touchdowns scored, placing him second all-time at SAU. Johnson needs four (4) touchdowns to surpass Nik Lewis’ (2001-03) career mark of 37 touchdowns.Career Points Scored Record | Having scored 35 career touchdowns, Johnson has been responsible for 210 points scored, placing him third all-time at SAU. Johnson is now 17 points from setting a new mark. Former All-America kicker Jason Williams (1998-2000) holds the record which is currently 226 points.
• Career Rushing Attempts Record — With is 20 carries against East Central, Johnson is now the all-time leader in rushing attemps, surpassing the previous mark of 597 held by Gerald Pride (1979-82)
NATIONALLY-RANKED OFFENSE: Early on this season, the Southern Arkansas offense has showed that it has the chance to be among the nation’s best once more. So far, the Muleriders offense ranks in the top-30 in four categories.
• 8th — Scoring Offense (50.0 ppg)
• 22nd — Passing Offense (331.0 ypg)
• 23rd — Total Offense (511.5 ypg)
• 26th — First Down Offense (51)
CATCHING A NEW RECORD: Sophomore wide receiver Chris Terry had an amazing season debut against Southeastern Oklahoma as he hauled in 10 catches for 247 yards. The 247 yards receving set single-game records for Southern Arkansas and the Great American Conference. Since being inserted into the starting lineup in the regular season finale in 2012, Terry has become a touchdown-catching machine. In the four games as a starter, Terry has hauled in nine (9) touchdowns. For his career, which spans 12 games, Terry 13 touchdowns. The SAU career record for receiving TDs is 36, held by Nik Lewis.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: After suprisingly giving up 522 yards of total offense and forcing just a pair of turnovers in a 56-50 loss to Southeastern Okla. the Mulerider Defense rebounded in a significant way against East Central. In that game, SAU limited the Tigers to 240 yards of total offense (54 yards rushing) and forced a season-high six turnovers. All six of those turnovers led to points for SAU with five leading to touchdowns.