Alva Review-Courier -



September 23, 2018

MAGNOLIA, Ark. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State University defense gave the Rangers opportunities on Saturday night at No. 19 Southern Arkansas, but turnovers proved costly as the Muleriders came out on the high side of the score, 27-14.

Northwestern's record dropped to 1-3 on the season, while the Muleriders improved to 4-0. The Rangers will be back in action next Saturday on the road as they travel to Durant, Oklahoma for a matchup at Southeastern Oklahoma State.

Red zone defense was huge for the Rangers in the game against the Muleriders as they kept the home team out of the end zone on seven separate occasions, forcing two field goals. Late in the second quarter with the game tied at seven, Aharon Barnes picked off a pass in the end zone and the defense forced a turnover on downs in the second quarter late in the fourth.

With arguably the top linebacking corps in the conference, Dakota Driskill, Maurice Wright and Kyler Ferguson yet again made huge tackles for the Rangers. Driskill led the way with 15 tackles, six solo, including a solo tackle for a loss. Wright finished the game with 14 takedowns and Ferguson had 10.

For the second contest in a row, Jimmie Pace came up with two sacks and assisted on a third tackle.

The Northwestern defense held SAU to its second lowest offensive output of the season and kept quarterback Barrett Renner well below his season average in passing yards.

The Muleriders got on the board first early in the first quarter when they turned an interception into a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead with 10:36 to go.

On the next SAU possession, however, Erick Cook returned the favor by picking off a Renner pass in SAU territory. With the Rangers looking at fourth-and-15 on the following possession, Isaiah Weed found Gavin Garner for 31 yards on the three yard line to keep the drive alive.

Tyson Gatewood promptly punched the ball into the end zone to tie the game at seven on the first touchdown of his collegiate career. Gatewood rushed for over eight yards a carry for 90 yards on 11 carries.

The score remained the same until the second half when the Muleriders added a touchdown and two field goals to extend their lead to 20-7 in the fourth quarter.

After a defensive stand on the four by the Rangers that led to the second field goal, the Rangers quickly answered with a three play drive in less than a minute of action, capped by a Weed to Garner 74-yard connection for a touchdown.

Garner finished the game with 127 yards on four catches and Weed completed nine passes for 151 yards. The redshirt sophomore Garner has recorded 100-yard plus receiving games in two of the four contest this season.

Southern Arkansas proved why it has the top defense in the conference and among the top in the nation after holding the Rangers to only 254 yards, well below their season average. DaVondrick Lison was a force with eight tackles and 2.5 sacks.

The Rangers turned the ball over four times, including two fumbles and two interceptions.


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