MAGNOLIA — Senior running back Mark Johnson continued to write his name atop the Southern Arkansas records book as he set two more career records in Saturday’s 47-14 win over Northwestern Oklahoma.
For the game, Johnson rushed for 120 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on 12 carries. It was the two rushing scores that gave Johnson the records as he came into this afternoon’s game needing two touchdowns to set a new most points scored in a career record and a new, most touchdowns scored in a career record.
The first of Johnson’s touchdowns came on a 22-yard scamper with 4:45 left in the first quarter, and gave the Muleriders (3-1, 3-1 GAC) an early 7-0 lead. His record-setting second touchdown of the game would come early in the second half as Johnson found paydirt from seven yards out with 13:58 remaining in the third quarter.
Johnson has now scored 38 touchdowns in his Mulerider career, surpassing the previous record mark of 37 touchdowns set by former SAU standout wide receiver Nik Lewis (2000-03). The 38 touchdowns scored by Johnson have meant that he has accounted for 228 points scored in his career, which bests the previous record of 226 points by former All-America kicker Jason Williams (1998-2000).
In between the Johnson touchdown runs, SAU built themselves a 20-0 lead as quarterback Tyler Sykora threw a pair of touchdown passed by finding Paul Walker-Hall from 28 yards away and Jack Brown from 25 yards away. The 20-0 lead would shrink a little before halftime as the Rangers’ (0-4, 0-4 GAC) Reid Miller ran in a score from three yards out to make it a 20-7 SAU lead.
As mentioned, Johnson’s record-setting second touchdown came early in the third quarter to extend their lead back out to 20 points, but from there, the Muleriders would score three more times in the quarter to take a commanding 47-7 lead. Of those scores, Walker-Hall caught his second touchdown of the game from Sykora, backup quarterback Si Blackshire hooked up with Tevin McDonald from 26 yards out, and linebacker Alex Mills returned a fumble 15 yards for a score.
The Rangers would get another rushing touchdown with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter to get the score to its eventual final of 47-14.
For the game, the Muleriders racked up an even 500 yards of total offense as they passed for 275 yards and rushed for 225 yards. On the other end of the ball, the SAU defense continued their strong play as they held the Rangers to just 230 yards of total offense; 179 yards passing and 51 yards rushing.
Individually, Johnson led the team in rushing with 120 yards, Sykora and Blackshire combined for four touchdown throws and Brown led the team in receiving with 67 yards on three catches (one touchdown).
Defensively, SAU was led in tackles by Mark Spaight with his nine total stops. Brandon Moton and Phillip Gahr each had 2.0 tackles for lost yardage to lead the team.
The Muleriders will now turn their attention to their nationally-televised game against Harding University on Thursday, October 3 at 7 p.m. at Wilkins Stadium. The highly-anticipated game will be broadcast to a national audience on the CBS Sports Network. To find out what channel CBSSN is on your television provider, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com and click channel finder at the top of the screen.