Down 26-21 with just over five minutes left in the game, the University of North Alabama was stopped short on a fourth-and-one call at its own 11-yard line and Delta State scored on the next play and was able to hold off the Lions 33-28 at Parker Field.
The third ranked Lions fell behind 17-0 in the first half and never led in the game against the 19th ranked Statesmen but pulled within five in the fourth quarter. Facing a fourth-and-one at its own 12, UNA quarterback Luke Wingo was hit in the backfield for a loss and DSU took over. Eddie McCadney then scored on an 11-yard run and DSU put the Statesmen up by 12 with 5:22 left in the game.
UNA then drove for a touchdown as Wingo hit Dre Hall with an eight-yard TD pass with 3:09 left to cut it to 33-28. DSU took the ensuing kickoff, however, and was able to run out the remaining time.
UNA is now 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Gulf South Conference, while Delta State improved to 7-1 and 5-1.
UNA lost three turnovers in the first half, were stopped on a fourth-down conversion attempt and missed a field goal attempt to fall behind 17-0. The Lions lost four total turnovers in the game and managed just 54 yards rushing.
Delta State finished the game with 410 total yards led by 241 passing yards from quarterback Tyler Sullivan. He was 26-of-38 for 241 yards and no touchdowns and three interceptions. Wingo finished the game 24-of-43 for 290 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
UNA gained 344 total yards with 290 passing but the Lions were only able to convert three-of-13 third down conversion attempts.
The loss snapped UNA's 14-game regular-season winning streak, with the Lions last previous loss coming to Delta State in 2013. The Lions had also won seven consecutive road games.
North Alabama missed out on a scoring opportunity on its first possession of the game as the Lions drove to the DSU five-yard line before a Luke Wingo fumble was recovered by DSU's Randall Boyd with 10:58 left in the first quarter. The UNA defense forced a punt but the Lions turned it over again on their next possession when Wingo was picked off by Artavius Morgan at the Lions' 37-yard line. The UNA defense held again but Vince Sciorrotta kicked a 25-yard field goal to put DSU on top 3-0 at the 4:29 mark of the first quarter.
North Alabama's James Rivers picked off a DSU pass to stop the Statemen's next possession but Wingo was picked off again to stop UNA's subsequent drive.
Delta State got the first touchdown of the game with 6:54 left in the half when D'Juan Bellaire scored on a seven-yard run to cap a 71-yard drive. Scirorrotta's gave DSU a 10-0 advantage.
The Statesmen made it 17-0 with 44 seconds left in the half on an Eddie McCadney one-yard run.
UNA had an another scoring opportunity before the half but Taylor Pontius came up just short on a 54-yard field goal attempt as time expired. It snapped a string of six straight made field goals for Pontius this season.
North Alabama took the opening possession of the second half and scored on its second play from scrimmage when Wingo hit Delvon Carpenter with a 77-yard touchdown pass. Pontius PAT made it 17-7 at 14:12 of the third quarter. It was UNA's longest pass of the season.
Later in the quarter DSU drove deep into UNA territory before Philbert Martial picked off a Statesmen pass and returned it 85 yards for an apparent touchdown. The Lions were whistled for an illegal block on the return but had possession at their own 49. UNA failed to gain a first down, however, and was forced to punt.
Martial then picked off DSU again on the next possession but was hit and fumbled the ball back to the Statesmen, giving them a new set of downs with 6:12 left in the third quarter. It was UNA's fourth turnover of the game.
Delta State extended its lead to 20-7 with eight seconds left in the third quarter when Scirorrotta hit a 29-yard field goal.
After North Alabama was stopped on its possession, the Lions punted and Khyle Jackson recovered a fumble by the DSU return man, giving the Lions the ball at the Delta State 33. Four plays later Wingo hit Carpenter with a 21-yard TD pass and Pontius PAT cut the DSU lead to 20-14 with 12:42 left in the game.
Delta State answered with a quick touchdown drive of its own that Bellaire capped with a 15-yard run with 9:12 left in the game. Scirorrotta's extra-point attempt went wide but DSU led 26-14.
The Lions' Darvell Harris then took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown and Pontius PAT made it 26-21 with 8:58 left.