DURANT, Okla. — In a slugfest between unblemished teams, No. 13 Henderson State proved to be the last unbeaten standing on Saturday as the Reddies outlasted Southeastern Oklahoma State 27-24 on the road. The victory improves HSU to 5-0 on the year and gives them sole possession of first place in the Great American Conference. Henderson’s 5-0 start is its best since 2016.
Adam Morse was excellent for the Reddies and finished 22-of-27 for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Morse also rushed for a career-high 46 yards. Mike Benning and Chase Lodree both had touchdown receptions for HSU in the first half, while L’liott Curry caught eight passes in the win.
The Reddies led it 21-14 at the half on the road after a Duce Sproles 2-yard touchdown gave Henderson its first lead with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter. Southeastern Oklahoma got the ball to begin the third and promptly marched 75 yards to tie the game at 21-21. A facemask penalty hurt the HSU defense on the drive.
Henderson responded on its ensuing possession and held the ball for nearly 10 minutes on an 18-play drive that ended in a 33-yard field goal for Temo Martinez. The Reddies converted two fourth downs on the scoring drive, including one on its side of the field.
The Savage Storm threatened to take the lead at the start of the fourth quarter and had 1st-and-Goal at the Reddies’ 9-yard line after converting a 3rd-and-20. HSU’s defense stood tall, however, as a sack from Jayden Ford on third down held SOSU to a field goal which tied the game at 24-24.
True freshman running back Fredrick O’Donald had the big play for the Reddies on their following drive, as he shed tacklers for a 31-yard burst that moved the ball into Southeastern territory. SOSU’s defense rose up on third and short, but Martinez nailed another clutch field goal from 36-yards to put Henderson back in front 27-24 with 9:25 remaining in the game.
With another chance to take the lead, the Savage Storm was again thwarted by the Reddie defense, as Shaq’ke Robinson made the biggest play of his career with a sack on third down which forced a SOSU punt with 4:55 to go.
Henderson’s offense never gave the ball back. Darius Austin broke an 18-yard run into Southeastern territory and Curry had a monster grab on 3rd-and-6 with 1:23 left to help ice it for HSU.
The Reddie offense, which was ranked No. 1 in NCAA DII entering the game, was held to a season-low 356 yards by the stingy Savage Storm defense. The Henderson defensive unit was equally stout, however, and held SOSU to just 310 yards in the victory. Southeastern rushed for a season-low 91 yards on 28 carries — an average of 3.3 yards per attempt.
HSU returns home next Saturday when it hosts East Central at 2 p.m. inside Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field. —