September 5th, 2022 11:45am
Week one in the GAC provided a bit of everything across the six contests. Let’s get to the recaps.
Harding 29, East Central 12
In a shocking turn of events, the first three touchdowns of the season for the Bisons all came through the air, as Harding took care of business against East Central in Ada.
Redshirt freshman Cole Keylon accounted for all three passing touchdowns as well as a rushing touchdown in his first career start. It was the first time in eight season Harding threw for three touchdowns in a game.
As expected, the Harding defense smothered the East Central offense, allowing just 161 total yards and a measly 2.8 yards per play. The Tigers managed just 25 yards on the ground and 147 through the air.
Harding put up 219 yards on the ground, a far cry from the 390 per game they averaged a season ago, but it was enough thanks to the strong performance from the defense.
Henderson State 30, Southwestern OSU 13
Another strong defensive performance was found in Arkadelphia, as the Reddies held the Bulldogs without an offensive touchdown in the season-opener.
Henderson State got a terrific performance from Landon Ledbetter in his debut as the new starting quarterback, rushing for a game-high 140 yards and a score while throwing for 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Southwestern’s lone touchdown came on a 65-yard punt return from Jalen Lampley midway through the opening quarter. The Bulldogs managed just 66 yards on the ground on 46 rushing attempts thanks to six sacks and 12 tackles for loss by the Reddies.
Ouachita Baptist 42 Oklahoma Baptist 32
The Tigers shook off a scoreless first quarter to put up 374 yards rushing against the Bison. TJ Cole (198 yards) and Kendel Givens (142 yards) each went over 100 yards with two rushing touchdowns each. Givens also had a 42-yard reception for a touchdown, one of just two completions in 16 attempts for quarterback Riley Harms.
Oklahoma Baptist quarterback Dayton Wolfe put up some big numbers in his first career start, going 34-of-55 for 397 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. The Bison put up 20 points in the final seven minutes of the game after the Tigers took a 42-12 lead with 8:52 to play.
Ouachita Baptist also held the Bison to just 2.1 yards per rush on 44 attempts thanks to nine tackles for loss. The Bison managed just a single tackle for loss, a sack by Jake Landers, in 48 rushing attempts by the Tigers.
Southern Arkansas 62 Northwestern OSU 31
The start of the season was delayed for these two teams by inclement weather, but after a slow start, the Muleriders cruised to a season-opening win over the Rangers.
Northwestern took an early 9-7 lead in the ballgame, but the Muleriders rallied in the second quarter to take a 21-9 lead into halftime. After the break, Southern Arkansas blew the game open, putting up 41 points in the final two stanzas.
Final stats were not available at the time of publication.
Southeastern OSU 41 Arkansas Tech 34 (2OT)
The week’s best game needed two extra periods to be decided, as the Savage Storm escaped with a double-overtime win over the upset-minded Wonder Boys.
After Southeastern’s Caleb High scored on a two-yard run in Southeastern’s portion of the second overtime, Arkansas Tech quickly moved the ball to the one-yard line. On first and goal, Jordan Edington fumbled after taking the snap and Conner Swope recovered for Southeastern to seal the win.
Arkansas Tech used a 21-point third quarter to take a 31-20 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Southeastern defense stood strong, forcing three punts and a turnover on downs at their own three-yard line that prevented Tech from icing the game. Instead of kicking a field goal to go up six points, coach Kyle Shipp opted to end the game on 4th-and-2 from the three-yard line. Keon Simmons was stuffed on the play and Southeastern promptly went 93 yards in 1:14 to tie the score on a 21-yard Trey Keatts field goal.
Southeastern quarterback Daulton Hatley threw for 379 yards and a touchdown which his Arkansas Tech counterpart, Taye Gatewood, the transfer from East Central, went for 218 yards and a touchdown while carrying the ball 18 times.
Arkansas-Monticello 40 Southern Nazarene 26
The Weevils jumped out to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter and never relinquished it despite a furious rally from the Crimson Storm.
By halftime, SNU had cut the lead to 21-19. The teams exchanged touchdowns to open the third quarter, but Monticello was able to shut out the Crimson Storm the rest of the way and leave with the victory.
Monticello put up 538 yards of offense, including 310 yards on the ground. Quarterback Demilon Brown shook off three interceptions to throw for 228 yards and two scores while rushing for 149 yards and three scores. Running back Jonero Scott had 129 yards and a score on the ground for the Weevils.
SNU welcomed back quarterback Gage Porter, who missed nearly all of last season with an injury. After sitting the first quarter for undisclosed reasons, Porter threw for 143 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
How our week one predictions fared: 5-1