October 9th, 2022 12:00pm
The GAC football season crossed the halfway point of the season on Saturday and the conference continues to provide plenty of entertainment across the whole conference.
This week, we saw Northwestern OSU pick up their first win of the season, a big upset victory for East Central over Henderson State, and an offensive explosion by Ouachita Baptist against Southwestern OSU. All that and more in this week's GAC recap.
Saturday's Final Scores
No. 7 Harding 56, Southern Nazarene 28
No. 4 Ouachita Baptist 63, Southwestern OSU 24
East Central 31, Henderson State 10
Northwestern OSU 26, Arkansas-Monticello 23
Southeastern OSU 35, Southern Arkansas 32
Arkansas Tech 34, Oklahoma Baptist 13
Best Performance: Ouachita Baptist Offense
709 yards on 70 plays, good for over 10 yards per play. TJ Cole and Kendal Givens both go over 100 yards, part of a 481 yard effort on the ground. Quarterback Riley Harms goes 12-of-13 for 197 yards and two touchdowns plus 81 yards rushing and another score. The Tigers offense has been really good all season long, but this was taking it to another level, especially against a Southwestern OSU defense that has been pretty solid over the past few weeks. What a showing.
Best Defensive Performance: East Central
Don't look now, but the Tigers have won four straight games and knocked off Henderson State in Ada on Saturday. The Tigers forced four turnovers while holding the Reddies to a season-low in points and in total offense. They also sacked quarterback Landon Ledbetter twice and held the Reddies to their second-lowest total of the season on the ground and through the air.
Upset Special: Northwestern OSU
The Rangers went to Monticello 0-5 and not a close 0-5, either. The box score from this one is a weird one. NWOSU ran 32 less plays than the Weevils and gained just 258 total yards. They also committed 12 penalties for nearly 100 yards and yet they still won the game, holding off a late Monticello rally to pick up the first win of the year. Backup quarterback Dakota Michaels was just 9-of-23 for the game, but threw a touchdown pass and led the team with 32 rushing yards. The difference in the game ended up being a 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown for the Rangers in the opening quarter. The Rangers had to hold on for dear life, as a blocked punt gave Monticello the ball, down three, at the NWOSU 43-yard line with 3:25 remaining. The Rangers defense stood tall and blocked a game-tying field goal attempt to secure the win.
Bouncing Back: Southeastern OSU
The Savage Storm's 2-3 record coming into Saturday did not accurately reflect the team's talent and potential. Something's been off for Southeastern for much of the year, but things came together on Saturday in a really nice win over Southern Arkansas. In particular, the run defense was outstanding. The Muleriders are one of the top rushing offenses in the conference and the Savage Storm came into Saturday dead last in the nation in yards per carry allowed. Saturday, however, the Savage Storm held SAU to 140 yards on the ground and just 4.5 yards per carry. The strong showing from the SEOSU offense forced the Muleriders to throw the ball more than desired in the second half, but either way, a great showing for a much-maligned Southeastern defense on Saturday.
Bouncing Back Part II: Arkansas Tech
Arkansas Tech began the season with a double overtime loss at Southeastern OSU and a nice win over East Central. Then things went south in big losses to Ouachita Baptist and Arkansas-Monticello. Now, the Wonder Boys have won two straight games after switching from quarterback Taye Gatewood to Jack Grissom. Saturday, Tech went on the road and took care of business against a reeling Oklahoma Baptist team, 34-13. Kudos to the Wonder Boys for righting the ship.
How we did this week: 3-3 (and picking Ouachita to only score 31 points also feels like a loss)