ARKADELPHIA — No. 18 Henderson State faces its toughest test of the young 2021 season on Saturday night when the Reddies welcome old AIC rival Southern Arkansas into Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field at 6 p.m.
TOP STORYLINES: SETTING THE SCENE
– The Reddies are riding high after opening the season with three emphatic wins. HSU has out-scored its first three opponents 144-38 and has put up over 600 yards of offense in back-to-back games. Henderson is one of just three unbeaten teams remaining in the GAC along with Ouachita Baptist and Southeastern Oklahoma.
– Saturday is the 84th all-time meeting between the Reddies and Southern Arkansas. HSU leads the series 46-35-2 and is 11-3 against SAU under head coach Scott Maxfield. The Muleriders have not defeated Henderson in Arkadelphia since 2004.
REDDIES REPORT: OFFENSE
– The Reddies have been scorching hot offensively to begin the 2021 season. Henderson leads the GAC in both scoring offense (48 points per game) and total offense (539 yards per game) after three games and has scored on 24 of its 35 total possessions. Of those 24 scores, 19 have been touchdowns.
– L’liott Curry has lived up to his billing as a Preseason First Team All-American thus far and has pulled in 24 receptions for 416 yards and five touchdowns in three contests. Curry was named GAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after putting up a career-best 228 yards and four touchdowns in the win over UAM. Curry is currently averaging 138.7 receiving yards per game and is now third all-time at HSU with 19 career receiving touchdowns.
– Adam Morse has been excellent for Henderson in his first season as the starting quarterback. Morse has thrown for 889 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and is completing 69.7% of his passes. He has the highest passing efficiency (182.2) of any quarterback in the GAC.
– While the passing attack has garnered headlines, the Reddies have also been potent on the ground. HSU has rushed for 731 yards overall and has eclipsed 200 yards rushing as a team in three-straight games for the first time since 2009. Henderson is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and is third in the GAC in rushing offense (243.7 yards per game).
– Henderson’s efficiency in the red zone continued against UAM. HSU leads the nation and is now a perfect 19-for-19 on red zone scoring chances with 16 touchdowns.
REDDIES REPORT: DEFENSE
– Henderson is tied for first in the GAC in scoring defense (12.7 points per game allowed) and has surrendered just 38 points so far this season. The Reddies limited Arkansas-Monticello to just 114 passing yards in the 58-18 win last Saturday and picked off their conference-leading seventh pass of the year.
– The Reddies are currently fourth in the GAC in total defense (309.7 yards per game allowed). HSU has only given up six touchdowns in three games, which is tied for second-fewest in the conference. Henderson is one of only four teams who have yet to allow 1000 total yards of offense to their opponents.
– Outside linebacker Jayden Ford leads the GAC with three sacks and has one in each of the Reddies’ first three games. Ford is also fifth in the conference in tackles for loss with four and finished with 2.0 tackles for loss in the victory at UAM.
– Dedric O’Bryant is tied for the conference-lead with two interceptions after securing a pick against both NWOSU and Arkansas-Monticello. O’Bryant now has three interceptions in his career at Henderson and has compiled 17 total tackles this season from his cornerback spot.
– Linebacker Jacob Greenfield is third in the league in tackles with 22 total. Greenfield has made 15 solo stops, which is tied for most of any player in the GAC, and has recorded seven or more tackles in each of Henderson’s first three wins.
– As a team, Henderson is second in the conference in defensive pass efficiency (102.8). Opponents are completing just 55.6% of their passes against HSU and have thrown seven interceptions compared to just four touchdowns.
REDDIES REPORT: SPECIAL TEAMS
– For the second-straight week, kicker Temo Martinez took advantage of a huge day for the Reddie offense. Martinez scored eight points, was 5-for-6 on extra points and connected on a 27-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
– Martinez got a lot of work in on kickoff thanks to a 58-point performance. The junior kicked off nine times, had two touchbacks and averaged 56.9 yards per kick. Martinez is tied for the league-lead with nine touchbacks on kickoffs this season.
– While Martinez has benefited from the offensive output, Tristan Heaton has punted just seven total times in 2021 and saw the field just once on Saturday against UAM. His lone punt was a beauty that traveled 50 yards with no return.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN ARKANSAS
– Southern Arkansas comes to Arkadelphia on Saturday night with a 2-1 record this season. The Muleriders played in the GAC game of the week last Saturday but fell to Harding 37-6 at home in Magnolia. Harding’s ball control offense kept possession for over 42 minutes and SAU was limited to just 294 total yards.
– The Muleriders are fifth in the GAC in scoring defense (25.7 points per game allowed) and sixth in scoring offense (26.7 points per game). Southern Arkansas is sixth in the league in total offense (392 yards per game) and 10th in total defense (455 yards per game allowed).
– SAU’s defensive front has been tremendous in the first three weeks of the season. The Muleriders lead the conference with 12 sacks and surrendered just 94 rushing yards on 49 total attempts prior to facing Harding’s triple option offense last Saturday.
– Southern Arkansas’s offense is led by quarterback Hayden Mallory, who has been solid for the Muleriders this year. Mallory has thrown for 708 yards, eight touchdowns, two interceptions and is completing 68.2% of his passes.
– Jariq Scales has been the top tailback for SAU and is third in the GAC in both rushing yards (340) and carries (61). Scales is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 113.3 yards per game.
– The top receiving weapon for the Mulerider offense is wide receiver Micah Small, who leads the conference with six receiving touchdowns in three games. Small had 122 yards on eight catches against Harding and has found the end zone in all three of SAU’s games.
– Defensively, Southern Arkansas is led by freshman defensive end Dawson Scott, who has three sacks already in 2021. Scott, as well as defensive linemen Demoni Boyd and Terrion Thompson, have combined to rack up eight sacks for the Mulerider defense. SAU’s leading tackler is Gavin Roe, who has 21 total stops this year.
THE COACHING MATCHUP
– Henderson State is led by head coach Scott Maxfield, who is 111-57 in his 16 seasons at the school. Maxfield is eight wins away from tying HSU legend Sporty Carpenter for the most wins in program history (119). In his career with the Reddies, Maxfield is 11-3 against Southern Arkansas and has never lost to the Muleriders at home.
– Southern Arkansas is under the direction of first year head coach Mike McCarty. McCarty was hired as SAU’s offensive coordinator in 2020 and took over from longtime head coach Bill Keopple last November. McCarty has coached at both Arkansas State and Central Arkansas, but most recently was the offensive coordinator at Colorado-State Pueblo. During his two years at CSU-Pueblo, the ThunderWolves went 22-4.
THE LAST MEETING
– Henderson State scored 24 points in a wild fourth quarter, including a go-ahead touchdown with 29 seconds remaining, to outlast Southern Arkansas 38-31 on Nov. 9, 2019 at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field.
– The Reddies trailed 17-14 entering the game’s final 15 minutes, but scored three touchdowns in the final quarter to hold on and improve to 9-2 on the year. L’liott Curry made an acrobatic, contested 25-yard catch to set up the winning score.
– Richard Stammetti finished 24-of-39 for 292 yards and two scores to lead Henderson. His favorite target, Curry, caught eight passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Mercardo Anderson led an outstanding effort defensively and turned in 11 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception in the win.
– Saturday Day is Family Day at Henderson State, which will feature activities for fans of all ages outside the Duke Wells Center. Check-in begins at the front of Wells Gymnasium at 1:30 p.m. and activities and music start at 2 p.m. Among the attractions are face painting, inflatables, a corn hole tournament, snow cones, free t-shirts and an obstacle course.
– Dinner will be served outside Wells Gymnasium from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. The price is $8.50 and the menu features burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, veggie burgers, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, cookies, chips, water and sodas.
IMPORTANT GAMEDAY INFORMATION
– Several different parking options are available for game day. CADC SCAT buses will be staged at the corner of 12th and Wilson streets two hours prior to kickoff, allowing fans to use the parking lots around Henderson’s main campus. The free shuttles will travel down 12th street and drop fans off in two locations: the front of the Wells Center on M.H. Russell Drive, for those who wish to partake in pregame activities, and at the main gate to Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field. The shuttles will also run up to an hour after the game ends, allowing fans to board at the main gate as they exit and ride back to their cars on campus.
– The two other available public parking lots are the Formby Center lot, located directly in front of the Formby Athletic Complex and next to the Reddie Villas, and the South Wells Center lot, located directly in front of the Duke Wells Center.
– For Reddie Club members, Red and Gray reserved lots are located directly behind the main stands and above Clyde Berry Field. These lots require your Reddie Club parking passes. Handicapped parking is also available in the Red and Gray lot directly behind the main stands.
– Ticket windows at the stadium open two hours before game time. Tickets can also be purchased digitally at hsusports.com/tickets. For more information on buying tickets online, CLICK HERE. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children. All students, faculty or staff with a valid Henderson State ID will be admitted for free, as will children five years old and younger.
WHERE TO LISTEN
– The game will be broadcast and available by the Henderson State Sports Network on KDEL 100.9 FM and KVRC 1240 AM in Arkadelphia, KWPS 99.7 FM in Hot Springs, KYXK 106.7 FM in Gurdon, and KZYP 104.1 FM/1310 AM in Malvern. Coverage begins one hour prior to kickoff. The radio broadcast can also be heard on the web by going to the audio link for the game at hsusports.com.