September 25th, 2023 5:00am
Week four in the Great American Conference turned out to be blowout week for half the league. We also had the first major showdown of the season in Arkadelphia between Harding and Henderson State.
Let’s jump into the recaps.
Harding 27, Henderson State 16
Harding- Man, this defense is so good. The Bisons held HSU to just 54 yards on the ground and 48 total plays. Harding held the ball for over 40 MINUTES in this one. Fullback Blake Delacruz was the workhorse, carrying 31 times for 179 yards and three scores. The Bisons are really good and passed this first major obstacle.
Henderson State- If you’re the Reddies, you have to be disappointed in how the offense performed. Ultimately, the defense was just worn down by the end of the game, but part of that was the inability of the offense to stay on the field. Only three of the Reddies’ 11 drives went longer than 21 yards and only four of them lasted longer than two minutes.
Oklahoma Baptist 23, East Central 15
Oklahoma Baptist- In a game that had a 2.5 hour lightning delay and didn’t end until close to midnight, the defense notched 10 tackles for loss and four sacks, another great performance for a unit that wasn’t any good last year. Running back EJ Moore had a terrific game with 153 yards. Running game and solid defense is a winning formula in football. We’ll see if it continues for the Bison.
East Central- Another tough night offensively for the Tigers. The defense stiffened in the second half and gave ECU a shot, but they just couldn’t put up enough points. Give credit to the OBU defense, but the Tigers have been ineffective on offense all season. Running back Miles Davis had a great game, rushing for 189 yards and grabbing four passes for 32 yards.
Southern Arkansas 49, Arkansas Tech 3
Southern Arkansas- Our first WHOA score of the week also presents us with an interesting question: does Brad Smiley read the GAC column each week? If you’ll remember, we wondered aloud why the SAU running backs weren’t shouldering more of the load. Well, on Saturday, quarterback OB Jones had his fewest carries of the season and the running backs totaled 49 carries for 294 yards and five scores, led by Jariq Scales’ 151 yards and three touchdowns. The defense also impressed, sacking Tech quarterback Taye Gatewood five times and holding the Wonder Boys to 33 yards rushing.
Arkansas Tech- Woooo, buddy. Where do the Wonder Boys go from here? We expressed a lot of concern over the full staff shakeup in the offseason, and that move has not done what coach Kyle Shipp wanted it to. Saturday was rock bottom for Tech, an embarrassing performance in every facet. Tech crossed midfield six times and came away with three points. Half of those ended in a turnover on downs.
Ouachita Baptist 45, Arkansas-Monticello 25
Ouachita Baptist- The final numbers aren’t dominant for the Tigers, but Ouachita did jump out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. Essentially, the Tigers held serve the final three quarters, and taking care of business in Monticello against a team that has a bunch of athletes is always a positive thing. Kendal Givens had a great game, rushing for 171 yards and two scores. Kicker Gabe Goodman did have an uncharacteristic 1-for-3 night on field goals, which dampened the final margin.
Arkansas-Monticello- Man, Demilon Brown is just a baller. The conference will be decidedly less fun once he’s gone. Brown threw for 247 yards and a score and rushed for 154 more and two scores. As long as he’s healthy, the Weevils have a chance. The defense hasn’t been great the past two weeks, but facing Harding and Ouachita back-to-back is rough. We’ll keep an eye on things here.
Southern Nazarene 41, Southwestern OSU 7
Southern Nazarene- The biggest takeaway for me is how the SNU defense continues to improve. Now, I’ll be the first to admit the SWOSU offense is dreadful, but the Crimson Storm gave up a 70-yard touchdown drive to open the game, then proceeded to give up 84 yards the rest of the game. They’re not perfect, but only someone unwilling to look at facts would deny the improvements made in Bethany. Also, Gage Porter, still good, but didn’t reach 100 yards rushing for the first time since facing Ouachita last September. What a slacker (sarcasm).
Southwestern OSU- Man, the Bulldogs are just not good on offense. Gotta feel bad for interim head coach Ruzell McCoy, whose audition for the permanent job is not going well. The defense, particularly the front seven, is solid, but they just can’t do it alone. SNU was able to just wear that group down by the end of the game. Running back Ethan Hyche had nice game, rushing for 104 yards and the Bulldogs’ only touchdown.
Southeastern OSU 41, Northwestern OSU 2
Southeastern OSU- Another WHOA score from Saturday. It was just 13-2 in favor of the Savage Storm at halftime, but a 28-point explosion in the third quarter sent the fans home happy in Durant. The last two scores of the quarter came on one-play drives each after SEOSU interceptions. Southeastern found some much-needed success on the ground, rushing for 220 yards and five scores.
Northwestern OSU- All the success the Rangers had last week was not to be found on Saturday. At least NWOSU had the blocked PAT return to prevent the shutout? Northwestern was without running back Darian Gill in this one, a really big loss for their offense, but even Gill isn’t worth 39 points.
Prediction results: 5-1, 21-3 for the season
Was on the wrong side of Harding-HSU, but swept the rest. Second straight week the margins have been wildly inaccurate, though!