Southwestern Oklahoma State University withstood a fourth-quarter comeback bid by Arkansas Tech University to defeat the Wonder Boys 35-14 in Great American Conference football at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (3-5) snapped a two-game losing streak against Arkansas Tech (2-6) and a three-game losing skid overall. The Wonder Boys suffered their fourth consecutive loss and saw their hopes for a fourth consecutive winning season come to an end.
Southwestern Oklahoma State took the opening kickoff and marched 69 yards in 10 plays for the first touchdown of the day. Casey Freeman’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Alex Ramirez followed by a 2-point conversion pass from Tyler Marr to Ramirez gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead at the 10:28 mark of the first quarter.
SWOSU scored twice more in the second quarter, first on a 72-yard touchdown pass from Freeman to J.R. Omigie with 7:55 left in the half and later on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jaden Knowles with 2:12 to go until the intermission.
Jackson Wilhite missed the first extra point and made the second to send the Bulldogs to halftime with a 21-0 advantage.
Arkansas Tech penetrated the SWOSU 20-yard line twice during the first half, but both scoring opportunities resulted in missed field goals.
SWOSU extended its lead to 28-0 behind a 9-yard touchdown pass from Marr to Jared Rayburn with 45 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Wonder Boys fought back in the fourth quarter behind two Manny Harris touchdown passes.
The Copperas Cove, Texas, product, who made his first start at ATU on Saturday, threw scoring strikes of 23 yards to Drew Wade and 11 yards to Andrew Carter to pull the Wonder Boys within 28-14 with 2:54 left.
The comeback bid was stunted when the ensuing on-side kick attempt went out of bounds and halted when SWOSU’s Clay Wilkerson returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown with one minute to go, setting what proved to be the final score.
Harris completed 26-of-49 passes for 270 yards. Tech’s Bryan Allen had 150 all-purpose yards. KJ Reid made a game-high 12 tackles for ATU.
The Wonder Boys will face Southeastern Oklahoma State University for a 2 p.m. GAC contest at Paul Laird Field in Durant, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 27. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.