CORSICANA, Texas -- Eastern New Mexico's Triple-Option offense befuddled Southern Arkansas University early, and the Greyhounds' defense did its part late in a 20-13 victory over the Muleriders in Saturday's Heritage Bowl.
The Greyhounds, who gained 177 yards and scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, held SAU inches short of a game-tying touchdown with 2:03 to play.
SAU had first and goal at the Eastern New Mexico 9 with 2:41 to play after two 15-yard penalties and 2 catches for 43 yards by Micah Small (4-70 receiving) moved the Muleriders within striking distance.
The Muleriders faced fourth down at the 5 when quarterback Hayden Mallory handed to Dennis Daniels, who broke two tackles and squirmed near the goal line only to be ruled inches short.
Southern Arkansas had all of its timeouts remaining, but Eastern New Mexico took over at the 16 instead of the 1 when Small was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Southern Arkansas (8-4) had numerous opportunities after falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter, but the Muleriders never could take the lead against the Greyhounds (8-4) of the Lone Star Conference.
SAU trailed 20-10 after Eastern New Mexico's Paul Terry, Division II's second-leading rusher, scored his third touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
Antonio Washington recovered a fumble by Terry at the Greyhounds' 22 on Eastern New Mexico's next possession, but SAU settled for a 38-yard field goal by Austin Wilkerson to get within 20-13 early in the fourth quarter.
Terry (26-110) lost two fumbles, the second one coming midway through the fourth quarter to give SAU the ball at midfield.
The Muleriders could not capitalize on the turnover, and it wasn't until regaining possession at their 18 with 4:18 to play that they were able to put together a sustained drive.
SAU ended up with 19 yards on 25 carries, and relied on the arm of Mallory (18-40 passing, 266, 1 TD).
SAU's touchdown came on a 69-yard pass play from Mallory to Jaidon Parrish with 12:52 to play in the first half.Sports on 12/08/2019