ECU Tigers football lost a heartbreaker to Southern Arkansas University in overtime at Koi Ishto Stadium on Thursday night.
The Tigers led 17-3 for the majority of the fourth quarter before the Muleriders scored 21 unanswered points, including a game-winning touchdown in overtime, to stun the Tigers with a 24-17 victory.
“We didn’t finish last night,” Interim Head Coach John Litrenta said. “We have to find a way to flatten the curve. This team will continue to come together and be ready for our next opportunity. We will build off the good and continue to coach up the bad.”
Thursday was the first overtime contest since the 2021 season when ECU beat Northwestern 20-17 and the team’s first OT loss since the first game of the 2018 season when Oklahoma Baptist edged out the Tigers 27-26 in Ada.
The Muleriders outgained the Tigers 511256 in total yards, along with 26 first downs to ECU’s 20. SAU did more damage on the passing side of the ball netting 307 yards, while ECU had success on the ground with 167 yards.
The Tigers led 17-0 at the half thanks to two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Traair Edwards and a 27-yard field goal from Tommy Yousey.
SAU was held scoreless until the third quarter when the Mulerider kicker put them on the scoreboard courtesy of a 23-yard field goal to make the score 17-3.
With two minutes to go in the fourth, SAU put together a 69-yard drive on six plays highlighted by a 38-yard touchdown strike to close the gap 17-10 with 1:11 to play. The Muleriders were able to recover the onside kick, setting the stage for another six-play drive that resulted in a four-yard touchdown to even the score 17-17 and send the game to overtime.
SAU would receive the ball first in extra time and wasted little time as they scored in just two plays.
The Tigers attempted to answer back, driving the ball down to the SAU 10-yard line, but were unable to find the endzone, resulting in the tough 24-17 loss.
ECU will head to Weatherford next Saturday for a 6 pm kickoff at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.