SAU's Big 2nd Half Too Much for Tech

Southern Arkansas’ James King turned an entire football game around with one play on Saturday afternoon.

His 64-yard kickoff return early in the third quarter shifted the momentum permanently in the Muleriders’ direction and they went on to a 49-17 win over the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys at Wilkins Stadium in Magnolia.

The Wonder Boys (1-6 overall, 0-2 Great American Conference) took a 17-14 lead on Preston Conder’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Sean Carraway with 11:49 left in the third quarter.

Arkansas Tech’s lead only lasted 16 seconds. King received the ensuing kickoff between the hashmarks and took it all the way back to the Tech 25-yard line.

Tyler Sykora hit Damion Atkins for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the next play. SAU led 21-17 with 11:33 to go in the third quarter, and the Wonder Boys never recovered.

Sykora added second-half touchdown strikes of 5 yards to Brooks White and 4 yards to Atkins, Mulerider tailback Mark Johnson scored on a 2-yard run and A.J. Steele returned an Arkansas Tech fumble 26 yards for a touchdown as Southern Arkansas closed the game with 35 unanswered points.

A sophomore out of Jessieville High School, Sykora completed 17-of-27 passes for 335 yards and an SAU school record five touchdown passes.

Tech’s Conder completed 16-of-33 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were caught by Carraway.

The Wonder Boys committed three turnovers, while the Muleriders (2-5, 2-2) committed none.

SAU finished with 475 yards of total offense, 379 of which were passing yards.

The Wonder Boys will host Southeastern Oklahoma State for the 2011 Arkansas Tech Homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 22. Kickoff at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville is set for 6 p.m.

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