The East Central University football team will host Southern Arkansas at 2 p.m. Saturday at Norris Field. Members of the Oklahoma National Guard and the area Boy and Girl Scouts will be honored at the contest.

The Tigers (1-5) will try to snap a five-game losing streak on Saturday. Southern Arkansas enters the game at 4-2.

The Series

The Tigers and the Muleriders have battled on 18 previous occasions, with SAU holding an 11-7 overall advantage, a 4-2 mark in GAC action and a 4-3 mark when playing in Ada.

Last Meeting

In 2016, ECU dropped a 37-24 decision to Southern Arkansas at home.

The Tigers saw scoring from four different players, with three touchdowns and a field goal in the game.

East Central managed just 167 yards of total offense in the game, as no Tiger player gained more than 33 yards rushing or receiving against the Muleriders.

Tre Harvey had one catcher for 33 yards in the contest, while Dezmon Jackson added three grabs for 31 yards and a touchdown. He also had 50 kick return yards.

The Muleriders started the scoring in the first quarter for the 7-0 advantage.

ECU tied the game on an 18-yard pass from Brooks Holder to Dezmon Jackson that capped off an 11-play, 84-yard drive.

SAU regained the advantage in the second quarter as tailback Michael Nunnery scored his second rushing TD of the game to put the visitors on top 14-7.

The Tigers countered with a 39-yard field goal from Jarod Haynes to cut the deficit to 14-10.

Both teams would score again before the end of the half, with SAU scoring on a 6-yard TD pass from quarterback Barrett Renner to make it 21-10.

Trinity Benson blocked a punt late in the second period and Lexus Jackson returned it 11 yards for a touchdown to get the Tigers to within 21-17 at halftime.

The third quarter is when SAU took control of the game, earning two touchdowns.

SAU got a 36-yard field goal and a 47-yard punt return for a score in the third period to built its lead to 31-17.

A Holter to Xavier Scott 17-yard TD toss made it 31-24, but the Muleriders answered with a 4-yard touchdown toss by Renner with seven minutes remaining to ice the game. Renner completed 28-of-35 passes for 204 yards and two scores in the game. SAU piled up 433 yards of total offense.

QB shuffle

Rayjohn Austin-Ramsey will likely get the start at quarterback for the second straight week. According to sources, regular starter Noah Holle is still recovering from early season injuries.

Run versus pass

The GAC’s leader in rushing yards, ECU freshman Ontario Douglas, hosts the leader in passing yards, SAU’s Barrett Renner.

Douglas has three 150-yard games in the first six games of his career. No GAC running back has ever produced four 150-yard games in one season. He ranks third among DII freshmen in rushing yards.

Renner needs just 28 yards to become the second quarterback in GAC history to throw for 9,000 yards. He ranks fourth in the country with 19 passing touchdowns.

Muleriders stuff SNU

The Muleriders improved to 4-2 in league play after a 27-15 win over the Crimson Storm.

The Muleriders led 17-3 at the half and entered the fourth quarter with a 20-6 lead.

At the 11:44 mark of the fourth quarter, the Crimson Storm closed the deficit to five, 20-15, before Tanner Hudson scored from one yard out with 7:36 remaining in the game to extend the Mulerider lead to 27-15.

Southern Arkansas tallied 442 total yards of offense behind redshirt junior quarterback Barrett Renner’s 250 yards on 21-of-34 passing. Renner also added 12 yards rushing on three carries.

The performance for the Rowlett, Texas, native made him the program’s new career leader in total offense as he currently has 8,972 total yards surpassing Tyler Sykora’s previous best career total of 8,847 yards.

Defensively, SAU held Southern Nazarene to 266 total yards with only 87 coming through the air. The Muleriders forced a fumble and picked off a Crimson Storm pass and held SNU to just a 1-of-9 conversion rate on third down, while forcing Southern Nazarene to three red zone field goals.

The coach

Bill Keopple enters his ninth season as the head football coach at Southern Arkansas. In his time at SAU, Keopple has coached 48 all-conference players, 20 all-academic honorees, 13 all-region selections and five All-Americans.

In terms of record, Keopple has amassed a 46-44 overall record with 35 of those wins coming over the last five seasons.

Up next

The Tigers will hit the road for a game at Henderson State at 2 p.m. Oct. 21.

The next and final time to see ECU at home this season is Oct. 28 for the annual Homecoming and Senior Day game against Arkansas Tech. Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. inside Koi Ishto Stadium.

Note: ECU sports information Teri LeJeunesse contributed to this report.

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.