ALVA – Winning on the road in college football is no easy task most weeks. Just ask OU or OSU, each of which has narrowly survived as heavy favorites.
For the second time in the past three weeks, Southeastern managed to survive on the road for a dramatic victory, dropping Northwestern, 30-27, Saturday at Ranger Field.
The contest was never fully decided until Joel Carlos drilled a 32-yard field goal with just one second remaining in regulation to break a 27-all deadlock and move the Savage Storm to 5-0 on the season for the first time since 1988.
“Joel was clutch,” Southeastern head coach Bo Atterberry said afterward. “It wasn’t real pretty in the second half but we found a way to win.”
Southeastern looked comfortably in front at 27-7 after a Carlos 24-yard field goal with 8:06 left in the third period before watching the Rangers storm back to tie it.
Northwestern immediately drove 82 yards in 12 plays for the first of two Anthony Cota touchdown runs in the second half, but failed on the extra point try to leave the SE lead at 14 points.
The hosts followed with another 53-yard touchdown march after the Savage Storm was stymied in its own end and forced to punt. That one ended with a four-yard burst by Cota, cutting the advantage to just 27-20.
Atterberry’s club continue to sputter offensively on its next two series, mounting just 36 total yards before giving the ball back to Northwestern.
That’s when the Rangers strung together the longest drive of the contest, taking the ball from its own 10 to the end zone in 13 plays, cashing in Jalen Williams’ seven-yard scoring run with just 3:47 left in the contest.
Needing a spark offensively, the Savage Storm found it when Austin Skinner connected with Durant native Skye Lowe for 13 yards to convert a 3rd-and-7. That seemed to open the running lanes for Rashod Polk, who the Rangers had bottled up most of the second half.
Polk bolted 12 yards into Northwestern territory and then reeled off 23 more yards on four ensuing carries to take the ball to the Ranger 24, where Carlos finished it off by connecting on his third field goal of the game with one second to spare.
Early in the game it looked like Southeastern might run away with things, getting a quick touchdown for the second week in a row after the defense forced a turnover deep in Ranger territory. Rollin Kinsaul found massive target Codey McElroy in the end zone for a five-yard score and 7-0 lead.
The Savage Storm marched 71 yards on their next possession, culminating with an 18-yard scoring strike from Skinner to C.J. Elkins.
Northwestern narrowed the gap to 14-7 but the Savage Storm then countered on another short touchdown drive following a Jonathan Torres fumble recovery at the NW 9.
Polk scored on that one before Carlos closed the half with a 19-yard field goal with two seconds remaining for a 24-7 edge at intermission.
Southeastern’s offensive piled up 241 yards on the ground with Polk posting a monster, career-best 201-yard effort on 31 carries.
Skinner came off the bench to complete five of 10 passes for 102 yards through the air with Elkins and Lowe accounting for two receptions apiece.
Troy Parker led the Savage Storm defensive effort with nine tackles and a pick as Christian Banasiak added eight stops, Hunter Powell seven and Reggie Marshall six.
Southeastern, now ranked 23rd in the nation, will be back home this week to start a two-game homestand with Southwestern Saturday at 2 p.m. for Homecoming.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org