RUSSELLVILLE — Long before his teams played Saturday, Arkansas Tech coach Kyle Shipp suspected Southern Arkansas of being better than its record suggested.
The Mulerriders gave him no reason to waver from that belief until the game was over.
Jarick Skales finished with 152 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns as SAU snapped a two-game losing streak, beating the Wonder Boys 49-33 at Thone Stadium with 6:16 left in the fourth quarter of a game called due to weather.
The game was actually delayed twice, with the first stop on the last play of the third quarter after more than two hours of lightning flashing through the area.
As the game resumed, the teams played over nine minutes before the game was halted again for an hour due to lightning. Fortunately for the Mulerriders, the weather cooperated to complete the three quarter game they needed to earn their fourth straight win over their longtime rivals.
OB Jones completed 20 of 27 passes for 208 yards with 1 touchdown and carried 10 times for 110 yards and a score for SAU (3-4, 3-4 Great American Conference), which took the fight to Arkansas Tech (3-4, 3). -4) To put an early defense on the Wonder Boys’ homecoming festivities from the start.
The Mulerriders converted on five of their six possessions in the first half and built a 35-10 halftime lead.
SAU quickly fumbled on the opening drive of the game. Despite being punted twice for possession, the Mulerriders moved 90 yards in 15 plays, connecting with Scales for a 5-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, SAU’s Gavin Roach recovered a fumble at Arkansas Tech’s Deon Simmons’ Mullerider 43. Nine plays later, Kadin Roach’s field goal extended SAU’s lead to 14-0.
The Wonder Boys broke through on their next try and soon got off their special teams to take the field.
Jack Grissom threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Keon Simmons with 1:58 left in the first quarter to cut SAU’s lead in half. The Wonder Boys took possession of the ball at the Mulerrider 11 and connected on a 27-yard field goal with Jesus Zizumbo to pull within 14-10 with 13:36 left in the second quarter.
But SAU scored three touchdowns in a nine-minute span to emphatically take control. Scales started the streak with an 18-yard scoring run, and Blake May followed with a 3-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds left in the half.
Twenty-one seconds after May’s score, Zay Woods sacked Grissom and returned it 34 yards to Arkansas Tech. It took just three plays for SAU to find the end zone again, during which Jones threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Witten.
The Wonder Boys put together an impressive drive to start the third quarter, getting a 1-yard touchdown run from Jordan Eddington to cap a 12-play, 75-yard march. Yard score from Jones.
Arkansas Tech responded with a 7-yard touchdown scamper from Deon Simmons, and SAU came back with a 4-yarder from Scales before the game was stopped first. The Wonder Boys added another touchdown on Ryan Wilkerson’s 43-yard run later in the game, but that would be after it was decided there wouldn’t be enough of a play window to continue.