NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Southern Utah tied the score at 21-21 with 39 seconds to play but lost to Stephen F. Austin on on a 53-yard field goal as time expired Saturday night.

Ryan Rossner's kick gave SFA a 24-21 win. SFA, ranked No. 4 in Division I-AA improved to 4-0; the Thunderbirds dropped to 1-2.

SUU had tied the game on a 6-yard Casey Rehrer-to-Jerome Eason pass, but SFA took the ensuing kickoff and ran six plays plays to get the ball to the SUU 38, setting up Rossner's game-winner.

"We can say we came in here and gave a great team like Stephen F. Austin a good game, but the bottom line to the kids and the coaches is that we lost the game," SUU coach Wes Meier said.

"We had a great effort though, we got down and we came back a couple of times but we also gave up too many yards in critical situations," he said. "After we took the lead we let them come right back and tie it, then after we tied it at the end of the game we let them get into field-goal range. We played very well most of the time, but we weren't able to keep that intensity all the time."

Quarterback Rehrer set an SUU record for completions in a game, with 28, in 44 attempts and finished with 277 yards through the air. He also rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries, for 369 yards of total offense toward the team's 445-yard total. Eason also had a big night for the Thunderbirds, catching 10 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Nick DiPadova led the Thunderbird defense with 14 tackles, including three tackles for losses as SUU held SFA to 347 yards of total offense.

SUU took its first lead of the game with 8:01 to play in the third period when A.J. Smith took a lateral from Rehrer, then lofted a pass to a wide-open Eason, who ran untouched into the end zone for a 32-yard score. The play gave SUU a 14-7 edge.

Stephen F. Austin answered right back, however, driving 80 yards on four plays. The Lumberjacks then took the lead back 21-14 when Louie Runnels dove one yard on the first play of the fourth period. SUU came back, scoring on second and goal from the 6-yard line when Rehrer hit Eason on his third touchdown of the game.

SFA drew first blood on a 12-yard pass from Michael Williams to Tony Tompkins with 6:51 to play in the first period. Southern Utah came back to tie the game late in the second period on a 5-yard pass from Rehrer to Eason after a short punt out of the end zone set SUU up on the 18-yard line.