DURANT, Okla. — Southeastern Oklahoma State’s defense put together one of its best performances of the season, holding Arkansas-Monticello to 202 yards, but it was not enough to offset four fumbles and a safety in a 9-7 loss in Great American Conference action at Paul Laird Field.
“Our defense is awesome,” Southeastern head coach Tyler Fenwick. “They played their butts off. That’s all they do; they go out and go to work. We turn it over and they go back to work. They get it done.
“When you keep turning the ball over and you keep giving the ball back to them then it’s going to snowball.”
The Storm defense took the field without four regular starters, including tackling leader Conner Swope, but put together a clinic against the pass, holding the Boll Weevils to 43 yards on 8-of-20 passing.
The 202 yards allowed is the lowest this season by 53 yards. Josh Mulumba led all tacklers with 12, including one for a loss and also added his second interception of the season.
Ja’Lon Freeman and Scooter Baker each added 10 tackles while Alexce Marshall chipped in seven with a team-best 1.5 tackles for loss.
The Storm (1-5, 1-5) finished the game with eight tackles for loss and four pass breakups, three of them by Jeremiah Baltrip.
The offense struggled throughout the contest as the Storm had eight total fumbles, losing four.
Southeastern finished with 307 yards, splitting it almost evenly down the middle with 155 yards on the ground and 152 through the air.
Rashod Polk finished just shy of his second 100-yard outing, turning in 95 yards on 17 carries, while Ryan Taylor added 65 yards on eight attempts, mostly on the strength of a 62-yard run which is the longest play of the season.
Polk finished with the team’s only touchdown.
Rollin Kinsaul was 13-of-23 through the air for 100 yards while Daulton Hatley added a 4-for-4 effort for 52 yards.
Katrell Blakely was the top target for both, finishing with a career-high 83 yards on seven catches. Felton Hatcher hauled in five catches for 39 yards.
The teams traded fruitless drives for the first quarter and were nearly 10 minutes into the second quarter before UAM struck first as Devontae Dean got loose for a 31-yard touchdown run with 5:05 to play in the first half to take a 7-0 lead.
That advantage held till half-time as a Storm field goal try from 42 yards out with 12 seconds left in the half was wide left.
The teams again traded drives before the Boll Weevils moved the ball to the Southeastern 22-yard line before missing a 39-yard field goal.
On the ensuing drive the Storm handed off six straight times with Taylor taking the third run 62 yards to the UAM nine-yard line and Polk punched it in from a yard out three plays later to knot the game up at seven with 2:50 to go in the third.
The score remained tied into the fourth with the Storm driving into the Boll Weevil red zone before a fumble ended the drive.
The defense stopped the ensuing UAM possession but the Storm were backed up on their own 10-yard line to start their next drive.
Hatley was then called for intentional grounding in the end zone as he was in the grasp of UAM’s C.J. Everett, recording a safety to fall behind 9-7. It was the first safety given up by Southeastern since surrendering one to Oklahoma Baptist in 2016.
Mulumba picked off a Caleb Canady pass on the ensuing Boll Weevil drive to regain possession with 8:18 to play but the next two Storm possessions ended on fumbles as UAM was able to run out the clock and seal the win.