MONTICELLO – The Southern Arkansas Muleriders scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to defeat the Arkansas-Monticello football team 30-14 on Saturday in the inaugural Battle of the Timberlands.
After SAU posted the only touchdown of the first quarter on a 10-yard pass from Tyler Sykora to Brooks White at the 7:18 mark, UAM answered a 4-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Damon Wicker at the 13:18 mark of the second quarter to cap an 11-play, 79-yard drive.
UAM (1-4, 0-3 Great American Conference) took a 14-7 lead with 7:47 remaining in the first half when Wicker found senior Blake Prince on a wheel-route for a 59-yard touchdown pass.
The Muleriders (4-0, 3-0 GAC) scored the final points of the first half with a 23-yard field goal by Jacob Carpenter with two seconds remaining before halftime. That field goal gave UAM a 14-10 after two quarters of play.
SAU began its 20-point second half with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Sykora to White at the 13:17 mark of the third quarter to cap a six-play, 63-yard drive.
SAU’s Mark Johnson controlled the final 15 minutes with a 4-yard touchdown run at the 6:18 mark and a 6-yard scoring run at the 3:58 mark. Johnson finished the game with 29 carries for 203 yards, an average of seven yards per carry.
Wicker finished the contest 22-of-47 through the air for a career-high 358 yards with one touchdown. The Baton Rouge, La., added to his 452 yards of total offense with a team-high 94 yards rushing on 22 carries.
Wicker’s favorite target was senior Malik Matthews, who went over the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive game with seven catches for 112 yards. Senior running back Blake Prince also eclipsed the 100-yard mark in receiving with five catches for 100 yards.
Junior Dustin Presley paced the UAM defense with eight total tackles. SAU’s Mark Spaight also had eight tackles.
The Boll Weevils return to the road next Saturday with a trip to Arkadelphia to face nationally-ranked No. 17 Henderson State. HSU (5-0, 3-0 GAC) defeated Southwestern Oklahoma State 50-22 on Saturday to remain undefeated. Next Saturday’s kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium on the HSU campus.