TEXARKANA, Ark. — Southern Arkansas University set the records straight on Saturday during the Farmers Bank & Trust Live United Bowl at Razorback Stadium.
With their convincing 43-27 victory over Missouri Western State University in a rematch of the 2018 bowl game which they lost, the Muleriders posted their first postseason win since 1990 and their first 10-win season since 1952.
After going back and forth in the first half that saw Southern Arkansas take a slim 15-13 lead going into halftime, both teams continued the trend immediately after intermission — except in a more furious fashion as they immediately traded two touchdowns each
Southern Arkansas (10-2) took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and marched 65 yards downfield on five plays before Kadyn Roach scored on a 3-yard run to give it a 22-13 advantage.
Missouri Western (8-4) quickly answered back with a touchdown of its own on its possession in the same amount of plays. Quarterback Armani Edden found a wide open Jonas Bennett on a 39-yard strike that capped off a five-play, 78-yard drive that took just 2:18 off the clock.
With their two-point lead, the Muleriders added another touchdown play right after when quarterback OB Jones hooked up with Seth Johnson on a 29-yard score to increase their lead to 29-20. And, again, the drive took just five plays from 75 yards out.
The Griffons capped off the third quarter with their second — and final — touchdown on a Seth Cromwell 3-yard run.
Southern Arkansas ran away with the game in the fourth quarter with two touchdown plays. Jones rushed in from 22 yards out and Jariq Scales found paydirt on a 10-yard run to give the Muleriders the victory.
Jones went 16-of-23 passing for the Mulriders, tossing 162 yards and a touchdown. Scales rushed for a game-high 172 yards and a score on 17 attempts while fellow back Kadyn Roach added 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts.
Missouri Western's Jared Scott finished with 94 yards rushing and a touchdown and Edden threw for 194 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. Jake Berrey hauled in 83 yards and a score on five catches.
The first half started slower than the game ended, with the Muleriders knocking down two field goals before Missouri Western knotted the score at 6-all on a 1-yard run by Cromwell in the second quarter.
Melvin Smith Jr. intercepted a pass and returned it to the house for Southern Arkansas right after and Hayden Nitz nailed his third field goal of the game to go into halftime. Nitz went 3-for-3 on field goals, including makes from 24, 29 and 37 yards out.