DURANT, Okla. — It was a tale of two halves as Southeastern Oklahoma State stormed to a 24-7 lead in the first quarter, only to allow 29 straight points to rival East Central over the final 15:24 of the game en route to a 42-38 loss in the 103rd meeting of the Great American Classic at Paul Laird Field.
Southeastern (1-10, 1-10), which had a five-game winning streak in the series snapped, piled up 556 yards of offense, finishing with 301 through the air and a season-best 255 on the ground.
Daulton Hatley threw for 301 yards on 17-of-34 passing with three touchdowns, but was sacked five times.
Braxton Kincade was his favorite target as he finished with 104 yards on six catches with a touchdown while Duce Pittman added 80 on three grabs, including the game’s longest offensive play of 59 yards for a touchdown.
Katrell Blakely added four catches for 63 yards and Rashod Polk finished with 43 yards and a score on two grabs.
Polk also added a touchdown on the ground but it was Ryan Taylor who turned in a season-high 162 yards on 17 carries and added a touchdown.
Polk finished with 65 rushing yards.
Scooter Baker led the Storm with 15 tackles and added a fumble recovery, which he returned 30 yards. Josh Mulumba also cracked double-digits with 10 stops and a forced fumble. Brandon Swope and Cameron Tate each logged sacks while Troy Tubby blocked a PAT.
Southeastern’s first possession started on its own one-yard line and the Storm marched 99 yards in 10 plays with Hatley twice connecting for 30-plus yard hookups before Polk scored from nine yards out to put the Storm up 7-0 at the 10:31 mark.
After the defense held again, it only took one play to find paydirt as Hatley hit Pittman for a 59-yard strike to open up a 14-0 lead.
ECU closed the gap with a score on its ensuing possession but the Storm tacked on a 27-yard Pablo Tarango field goal at the 2:40 mark to stretch the lead to 17-7.
With under 10 seconds to play in the quarter, Alexce Marshall forced an Ontario Douglas fumble, which was returned by Baker to the ECU 23-yard line, but a penalty on the Storm gave them the ball at the 38-yard line.
One play later Hatley connected with Polk from there to take a 24-7 lead that lasted through the half-time break.
Southeastern was the first to find the end zone in the third quarter as Taylor capped a six-play, 50-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 31-7.
The Tigers answered on their ensuing drive with a seven-play, 75-yard drive capped by a one-yard Douglas run, but a missed two-point try left the Storm ahead 31-13.
That extended to 38-13 at the 3:29 mark of the third when Hatley found Kincade for an eight-yard TD toss to cap an eight-play, 81-yard drive.
ECU scored with 24 seconds to go in the third but Tubby’s blocked PAT kept the Southeastern lead at 38-19.
However, the Tigers scored on each of their fourth-quarter drives and Southeastern was trailing, 42-38, with 2:33 to play.
The Storm eventually had second-and-goal at the ECU four-yard-line and thought it had regained the lead when Hatley hit Kincade for a touchdown pass but an offensive pass interference call wiped out the score and on the game’s final play Hatley was sacked.