September 25th, 2022 11:00am
It was a week of upsets in the Great American Conference, as well as a top-10 showdown that delivered on the hype. Let's get to the recaps.
Ouachita Baptist 21, Harding 13
The top-10 matchup in Arkadelphia lived up to the billing as the Tigers put themselves in the driver's seat in the conference title race. Both defenses shined in this one, each holding the other well below season averages in points and rushing yards, but it was the Tigers defense that made key stops in big moments to prevent the Bisons from putting any points on the board in the second half.
The Bisons started with a bang, getting a 77-yard touchdown run from Jhalen Spicer on their first possession of the game. The Tigers took a few possessions to get rolling, but took the lead with 5:35 to go in the first half on a 50-yard touchdown strike from Riley Harms to Connor Flannigan. The Tigers tacked on a TJ Cole touchdown run with 1:31 to go in the third and were able to hold on for the win.
Harding moved the ball pretty effectively, but turned it over on downs twice and missed a short field goal just before halftime that would have given the Bisons the lead. Harding also had a 35-25 minute advantage in time of possession. The loss certainly doesn't end the Bisons chances at repeating as conference champions, but it does put them behind the eight ball a bit with Ouachita now owning the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Southern Arkansas 28, Henderson State 24
The first of two upsets in the conference on Saturday. The Muleriders scored the go-ahead touchdown on a four-yard touchdown pass from OB Jones (252 yards, three touchdown passes) to Blake May with 9:35 remaining and then forced a punt and a turnover on downs on the Reddies last two possessions to hold on for the win.
SAU got the ball to start their go-ahead touchdown drive thanks to a muffed punt by the Reddies. SAU then proceeded to go 38 yards in eight plays to take the lead back from the Reddies after HSU took a 24-21 lead earlier in the period.
It's a strange box score to interpret. Jones threw two picks and the Muleriders managed just 61 yards on 32 rushing attempts. On the other side, Henderson State averaged seven yards per play on 478 total yards and did not turn the ball over. Quarterback Andrew Edwards continued his stellar play, throwing for 331 yards and three scores. Both teams racked up eight penalties as well.
It's a big win for the Muleriders and the first loss of the season for Henderson State. That leaves Ouachita Baptist as the only remaining undefeated squad in the GAC.
Southern Nazarene 45, Southeastern OSU 34
You might be wondering how this transpired. Well, there certainly was nothing fluky about it. The Crimson Storm gashed the Savage Storm all night to the tune of 451 rushing yards and 500 yards of total offense. Both numbers are school records. While the offense was spectacular, it was the SNU defense that found its way and put the screws to Southeastern in the second half.
Southeastern scored four touchdowns on their first four possessions of the game, the last of which opened the third quarter. Beginning with the next possession, SEOSU went three and out on three straight possessions, followed by three straight possessions that ended with an interception from quarterback Daulton Hatley, including the back-breaking one on the SNU goal line that was returned to the SE 37-yard line. SNU quarterback Gage Porter scored on his third touchdown run of the night on the very next play to put the game on ice.
It was a surprising performance from Southeastern which boasts a lot of returning starters from last year's nine-win squad. For SNU, it was the first win of the season and if that performance becomes even remotely consistent, there will be more to follow.
Arkansas-Monticello 35, Arkansas Tech 14
The Weevils continued their strong start to the season, riding a second half shutout to a big win over the Wonder Boys.
Monticello picked off five passes, including the first play from scrimmage, and jumped out to a 14-0 lead. However Arkansas Tech responded with a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives sandwiched around two missed UAM field goals to knot the score at 14 at the break. The Wonder Boys put up 152 yards on the ground in the second quarter alone, but that was the lone bright spot for Tech offensively, as the Wonder Boys managed just 256 total yards of offense.
Meanwhile Monticello put up 355 yards on the ground, including 184 and three scores from quarterback Demilon Brown. The Weevils put up at least 95 yards rushing in three out of four quarters. The Weevils held the ball for 33:20, did not turn the ball over and went 7-of-15 on third down. That's a solid recipe for success no matter the day or opponent.
East Central 31, Northwestern OSU 3
The Tigers defense smothered the Rangers all afternoon, forcing two turnovers and holding NWOSU to just 254 yards of offense.
ECU led just 10-0 at halftime, but found the end zone three times in the second half to take care of the Rangers. Running back Nemier Herod carried for 193 yards and a score to lead the Tiger offense while quarterback Kenny Hrncir turned in a second straight quality start, going 22-of-27 for 237 yards and two scores.
It was a rough start to this one, as the Tigers hit a field goal on the opening possession and then scored a touchdown on their final drive of the first half. In between those drives was a missed field goal by the Rangers and three punts for each team.
Northwestern quarterback Tanner Clarkson was sacked three times and threw an interception. He also threw for just 193 yards, as the Tiger defense clamped down on the NWOSU receivers.
Southwestern OSU 38, Oklahoma Baptist 31, OT
The most exciting game of the day saw the Bulldogs overcome an 11-point deficit in the final 10 minutes of the game to force overtime and then turn the Bison aside in the extra period to pick up their second win of the season.
A field goal with eight seconds left in regulation forced overtime and in the extra period, the Bulldogs scored first on a touchdown run from Troy Henderson and then got an interception from Jameon Mitchell in the end zone to seal the win. Southwestern ran 96 plays and put up 467 yards of offense while holding the Bison to just 221 total yards and sacking quarterback Dayton Wolfe eight times. If not for 15 penalties for 118 yards, this one might've looked even more in favor of the Bulldogs.
Tylan Morton threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns for SWOSU while both Henderson and Gerald Palmer rushed for over 100 yards to lead the Bulldogs offense.
How we did: 3-3
Season record: 17-7