BETHANY, Okla. (SAU) - After averaging 13.5 points per game and 345.5 yards of total offense per game in their last two games, the Southern Arkansas football righted the ship on Saturday against Southern Nazarene as they scored 66 points and totaled 481 yards of total offense as they routed SNU by a score of 66-17.
The 66 points scored by the Muleriders (4-3, 4-3 GAC) is the second-highest single-game score in the modern era, and is the most points scored in a game since 1998 when SAU beat West Alabama 58-13. The 66-point effort was also historic as it gave the Muleriders their third game this season with 50 or more points, setting a single-season team record.
SAU has now scored 50 or more points 28 times and are an outstanding 27-1 in such games. Since 2012, SAU has had five games in which they have scored 50 or more points, going 4-1 in those games.
The scoring barrage got started early for SAU as Tyler Sykora found Karon Dismuke, with 11:40 left in the first quarter, from five-yards out for the game's first score. Later in the quarter, Sykora tossed his second TD pass as he hooked up with Paul Walker-Hall from 18 yards out to make the score 14-0 SAU.
A 27-yard field goal early in the second quarter put the Crimson Storm (0-7, 0-7 GAC) on the board, but SAU would rattle off 38 unanswered points after that to take a commanding 52-3 lead with just under a quarter and a half to play.
During that scoring run, running back Mark Johnson would find pay-dirt twice, and Brooks White and Jack Brown found themselves on the receiving end of TD passes from Sykora. Bookending the scoring was a 36-yard field goal by Austin Shoemake and a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by Quan Warren.
Following the scoring barrage, Southern Nazarene would score their first touchdown of the day as Dylan Terry found Trey Knowles for a 2-yard TD pass with 18 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Crimson Storm would add another TD in the fourth quarter as Trey Hill connected with Jakeil Everhart from four yards out.
The final two scores of the game belonged to SAU as Deandre Jenkins scored his first career rushing touchdown with 2:10 left in the game. With 45 seconds remaining in the game, Q'Niko Thomas returned an interception 67 yards for the game's final score.
For the game, SAU rushed for 222 yards as a team with Johnson leading the way with 95 yards and two scores. Aarion Jones was the next leading rusher with 80 yards on nine carries followed by Jenkins with 44 yards and one score.
Through the air, SAU totaled 259 yards with Sykora accounting for 210 yards passing and four touchdowns. Si Blackshire came on in relief and totaled 49 yards passing on three completions. 10 different Muleriders caught a pass with David Bell leading the team in receiving yards with 52 yards on three catches.
Defensively, SAU forced five turnovers as they picked off three passes (two that went for TDs) and recovered two fumbles. They also limited SNU to 244 yards of total offense as they allowed 126 yards rushing and 118 yards passing.
SAU will now enjoy their bye week and will be back in action on Saturday, November 2 as they will play host to Ouachita Baptist for the Muleriders' Homecoming/Hall of Fame Game. Homecoming festivities begin at 2:00 p.m. and Hall of Fame introductions will be held at halftime. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.