October 16th, 2023 6:00am
The biggest week on the GAC calendar (thus far) is in the books and what a tremendous week it was. Let’s get straight to the breakdowns.
Harding 41, Ouachita Baptist 10
HU- The Bisons seized control of the GAC race with a romp over the Tigers. The Bisons rushed for 427 yards while holding Ouachita to 3.8 yards per play. Harding sacked Riley Harms four times as well. An all-around dominant performance for the Bisons, especially over the final 20 minutes of the game. Harding had five separate players rush for at least 50 yards.
OUA- Honestly, I thought the numbers of 155 yards rushing and 79 yards passing would be reversed. Even with the offensive struggles, this was still a game with four minutes in the third quarter, with Harding leading 13-10. But a fumble inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line began the slippery slope into a blowout, as the Bisons scored touchdowns on four straight possessions. Kendal Givens rushed for 146 yards, a really impressive number against Harding, but the Tigers simply couldn’t get the passing game going.
Southern Arkansas 35, Henderson State 34
SAU- The Muleriders control their own destiny in the GAC with the huge win over the Reddies in Arkadelphia. The Muleriders held HSU to two field goals after halftime, and stopped the final Henderson State drive at the SAU 38-yard line with 1:51 to play. SAU also had three sacks and eight tackles for loss and had 247 yards on the ground.
HSU- The Reddies did a lot right on Saturday, rolling up 517 yards of offense and holding the ball for 34:13. With 28 points in the first half, it seemed like the Reddies were going to be able to simply outscore the Muleriders. However, the glaring little things going against the Reddies were penalties (eight for 64 yards) and negative plays generated by SAU (eight tackles for loss). Really tough loss for HSU.
Oklahoma Baptist 20, Southwestern OSU 13
OBU- The Bison avoided a really bad loss with a 10-point fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Kenny Rosenthal threw for 231 yards and led the offense to a zero-turnover performance. The defense got after SWOSU quarterback Sean Shelby, sacking him six times.
SWOSU- The Bulldogs led, 13-10, going into the fourth quarter, but combined for -14 yards on their final three possessions, none of which crossed into OBU territory. SWOSU had 241 yards of offense and made life difficult for OBU, which, given how the season has gone, are positives to build on.
Arkansas Tech 24, Arkansas-Monticello 10
ATU- The Wonder Boys (incredibly) got their first win over an Arkansas school since 2017 with the two-score win over the Weevils. Tech scored on four consecutive possessions over the second and third quarters and held the Weevils to 10 points on five trips into the red zone. Quietly, Tech has now won three straight games.
UAM- The Weevils couldn’t run the ball on Saturday, totaling just 79 yards against the Wonder Boys. This put UAM in third and long much of the time, and the Weevils went just 3-of-13 for the game. Defensively, UAM held Tech to just 268 yards and 4.5 yards per play, numbers that could have been good enough to win. But the lack of offense in this one spelled doom for the team from Monticello.
Southeastern OSU 20, Southern Nazarene 19
SEOSU- Really gritty road win for Southeastern, who bent a lot on Saturday defensively, but didn’t break. The key was allowing just a single touchdown over an eight-possession stretch after a game-opening touchdown for SNU, four of which crossed midfield. That the Savage Storm was able to overcome the loss of quarterback Weston Conaway, who exited at halftime after getting crushed on a late first half sack, made the win even more impressive. D.J. Brown ran for a career-high 165 yards on 26 carries with a score.
SNU- The Crimson Storm did everything but win the game. They rolled up 484 yards of offense, but managed just three touchdowns. SNU was good defensively, holding the Savage Storm to just three points after halftime and allowed just two field goals on six SEOSU red zone trips. The penalties didn’t help—nine for 77 yards, including a late holding call that pushed the game-winning field goal attempt to 55 yards (it was JUST short). It’d be easy to point to two botched extra points—one mishandled snap, one missed kick—as the reason for the loss, but there were little things across the whole game.
East Central 42, Northwestern OSU 7
ECU- The Tigers took care of business early against the Rangers, jumping out to a 35-0 halftime lead courtesy of a 28-point second quarter. East Central rolled up 405 yards of offense, including 207 on the ground without the services of running back Miles Davis. The defense forced three interceptions and held the Rangers scoreless until late in the fourth quarter.
NWOSU- Not many positives to pull from this one, although backup running back Jashaun Foster ran for 106 yards on 15 carries. The Rangers had just two drives over 24 yards on Saturday and quarterbacks Ethan Everson and Caleb Deal combined to go 11-of-27 with three interceptions through the air. Overall, another rough day in Alva.
Prediction Recap: 4-2 this week, 35-7 overall
The Good: Calling for a comfortable Harding win
The Bad: SNU getting a second straight win over Southeastern
The Ugly: Monticello winning by double-digits in Russellville