October 6th, 2021 1:00pm
GAC – WEEK SIX
It’s a pivotal week in the GAC as the top teams in the league can begin separation from the rest of the pack.
Henderson went on the road and picked up a huge win to remain unbeaten, while Ouachita Baptist, Harding and East Central also won and remain just one game back of the Reddies.
Southeastern Oklahoma is also just one game back of Henderson following last week’s loss to the Reddies, but the Savage Storm still has a difficult portion of the schedule ahead of them.
Henderson State 27, Southeastern Oklahoma 24
Henderson State relied on its defense, along with the foot of Temo Martinez to hold off Southeastern Oklahoma to become the lone unbeaten team in the GAC.
The Reddies offense, which was ranked No. 1 in NCAA DII entering the game, was held to a season-low 356 yards by the stingy Savage Storm defense. Henderson scored all three of its touchdowns in the second quarter but could not reach paydirt in the final 30 minutes.
Martinez provided the scoring for the Reddies in the second half with field goals of 33 and 36 yards to secure win.
Henderson’s defense limited Southeastern to just 310 yards, 100 yards below its season average. In addition, the Savage Storm rushed for a season-low 91 yards on 28 carries, an average of 3.3 yards per attempt.
HSU quarterback Adam Morse was efficient by completing 22-of-27 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a career-high 46 yards.
With the Reddies leading 24-21 at the start of the fourth quarter SOSU threatened to take the lead having 1st-and-goal at the Reddies' 9-yard line after converting a 3rd-and-20. Jayden Ford provided the big defensive play as he sacked Daulton Hatley to force a Trey Keatts 33 yard field goal to tie the game with 11:55 to play.
Henderson regained the lead on its next drive with the help of a 31-yard run by Fredrick O’Donald to set up Martinez’s eventual game-winning kick.
The Savage Storm had plenty of time to score, however Henderson’s defense again rose to the occasion with Shaq’ke Robinson providing a big third down to force a SOSU punt with 4:55 to go.
The Reddies would eventually run out the clock.
Harding 31, Oklahoma Baptist 7
Harding once again proved that its defense is one of the best in the league as the Bisons limited Oklahoma Baptist to more than 200 yards below its season average.
OBU entered the game averaging almost 41 points and 487 yards of total offense, but Harding held the Bison to only a 57-yard touchdown pass on their first possession and just 267 yards of offense for the game.
Despite totaling just 285 yards of offense themselves, the Bisons controlled the time of possession having nearly a 19 minute advantage.
Cole Chancey rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bisons, while quarterback Preston Paden rushed for 67 yards on 16 totes.
OBU running back Tyler Stuever averaged 132.3 rushing yards per game entering the contest against Harding, was limited to just 15.
Preston Haire completed 27-of-43 passes for 264 yards for OBU, but was picked off twice in the first half.
Harding has now won six straight games against Oklahoma Baptist.
Ouachita Baptist 64, Northwestern Oklahoma 17
Ouachita Baptist scored early and often in rolling to a 64-17 win over Northwestern Oklahoma.
The Tigers had only 53 offensive plays in the win, but totaled 516 yards of total offense with 442 of those yards on the ground.
Four Tiger running backs had at least 60 rushing yards in the win.
Back-up running back Isaac Edwards led the way with 21 second-half carries for 190 yards and two touchdowns, including a three-yard score midway through the third quarter and a 72-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Edwards had totaled just 52 yards in two previous games.
Starter Xaylon Falls and TJ Cole saw limited action but put up solid numbers with Falls having 85 yards on five attempts rushing for two scores, while Cole finished with nine carries and 80 yards reaching the endzone on a 25-yard jaunt.
Falls also had a special teams score with a 93-yard kickoff return for a score late in the first quarter.
The Ouachita Baptist defense limited Northwestern Oklahoma to 356 yards on 75 plays.
East Central 38, Southern Arkansas 17
East Central limited Southern Arkansas to just 303 yards of offense with the Muleriders managing a season-low 80 yards rushing.
The Tigers used a ground attack that rushed for 235 yards led by Nemier Herod who carried the ball 11 times for 80 yards.
However, it was Miles Davis who provided the scoring for ECU with touchdown runs of 1, 3 and 5 yards while totaling 78 yards on 16 carries. Davis also had a 33-yard touchdown reception on the Tigers’ first offensive possession.
Defensively, the Tigers recorded 10 tackles for lost yardage along with key interceptions by Cameron Jones and Cody Alexander.
SAU’s Jariq Scales carried the ball 11 times for a season-low 50 yards.
Arkansas Tech 51, Southern Nazarene 41
Arkansas Tech scored 37 points in the second quarter and held off a second half surge by Southern Nazarene to record its first win of the season.
Tied at 21-21 with 4:25 left in the second quarter, the Wonder Boys scored 23 points before the end of the first half
Quarterback Jack Lindsey quickly connected with Brennon Lewis for a 24-yard strike to begin the scoring.
Monte Toney then recovered a Jarvis Davis fumble and returned it to the SNU17 to set up SAU’s next score.
Leading 35-21 with 1:09 in the half, Matthew Minnix applied defensive pressure, forcing Davis to throw the ball away but did so in the endzone and with no receivers in the vicinity to force the safety.
The Wonder Boys had plenty of time to score and did with 11 seconds left in the half when Lindsey connected with Drew Wade from 40-yards out.
Lindsey fished the game completing 16 of 25 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns.
Arkansas-Monticello 18, Southwestern Oklahoma 16
The Boll Weevils held off SWOSU in the second half and turned the Bulldogs away on a possible game-tying two-point conversion to pick up their third win of the year.
Trailing 18-10, SWOSU’s Nate Davis scored on a 4-yard plunge with 11:42 to play in the game but the UAM defense shut down the two-point conversion and hold on for the victory.
The Weevils out gained the Bulldogs 315 to 255 on offense with the ground game carrying the bulk of the load. UAM rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
Demilon Brown led the rushing attack for UAM carrying the ball 24 times for 127 yards and one touchdown. DeVontae Dean added 44 rushing yards and a score on 16 carries in the contest.
Through the air Brown finished 8-of-16 passing for 150 and one touchdown. C.J. Parham led the receiving corps for the Weevils with five catches for 99 yards including his 41-yard touchdown reception.
The UAM defense shut down the SWOSU running game only allowing 82 yards on the ground and limited the passing attack of the Bulldogs by adding a pair of interceptions.
GAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
GAC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Isaac Edwards, Ouachita, RB, Fr., Hawkins, Texas
Edwards carried the load in the Tigers’ 64-17 win against Northwestern Oklahoma State. On 21 attempts, he ran for 190 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. He entered the week with 53 yards on the season. As a team, Ouachita rushed for 442 yards and averaged 10.0 yards per carry.
GAC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Deldric Shields, Henderson State, DB, Jr., Pittsburg, Texas
Shields took advantage of his first start of the season as he led the Reddies with a career-best 11 tackles in their 27-24 road win against Southeastern Oklahoma State. He recorded an interception at the end of the first half and added a key pass break-up in the fourth quarter.
GAC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Temo Martinez, Henderson State, K, Jr., Dardanelle, Arkansas
Martinez repeated as the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week after he converted all five kicks in the Reddies’ 27-24 win at previously undefeated Southeastern Oklahoma State. He put the Reddies up 24-21 late in the third quarter on a 33-yard try and gave Henderson State the lead for good on a 36-yard kick with 9:25 left in the game.
ON THE DOCKET THIS WEEK
Last week: 3-3; Season Record 20-10.
East Central at Henderson State 2 p.m.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Henderson State has avoided a near scare the last two weeks, but continues to get the job done and sits alone atop the GAC standings. There have been a few breakdowns on defense at times, but they rose to the occasion when needed. The offense stumbled a bit last week as the Reddies were held to its lowest total of the season. However the Reddies still rank third nationally in scoring (45.4 ppg) and sixth in total offense (493.8 ypg). Adam Morse was on target with the passing game last week and now has a 68.8 completion percentage which ranks third nationally.
East Central has continued to improve ever since being shutout by Harding to begin the season. The Tigers are just one game back of Henderson and a win over the Reddies would be a statement victory.
The Tigers’ defense has been stingy in 2021 and ranks second in the conference in both scoring defense (17 points per game allowed) and total defense (311.2 yards per game allowed). ECU has surrendered just three passing touchdowns this year and has held four of its first five opponents to under 200 yards passing.
Henderson better not look past the Tigers as East Central is one of the teams from Oklahoma that have had success playing at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium. In fact, the Tigers have won two of the last three meetings at CHS including giving the Reddies their lone conference loss in 2015. Henderson would go to win the title that season.
This one could be a game that will have the fans on the edge of their seats for the full 60 minutes.
PREDICTION: Henderson State 42, East Central 38
Oklahoma Baptist at Arkansas Tech 2 p.m.
Oklahoma Baptist had its worst outing of the year last week against Harding and is now fighting to stay in contention for postseason play.
Despite last week’s low numbers, the Bison still rank second in the league in total offense (440.8 ypg) and averages 34 points per game.
Arkansas Tech picked up its first win of the season over Southern Nazarene, but the Wonder Boys had to hold on in the second half.
ATU ranks near the bottom of the league in offense and is allowing over 400 yards defensively.
Although the Wonder Boys have done well defending the pass, only allowing 172 yards per game, OBU’s quarterback Preston Haire could have a field day connecting with his primary targets Keilahn Harris and Josh Cornell.
Watch out Russellville a stampede is on the way.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma Baptist 49, Arkansas Tech 13
Southern Nazarene at Harding 2 p.m.
No team has been able to slow down the Harding ground attack. Even though they lost against Southeastern Oklahoma, the Bisons have punished and worn down defenses keeping the football for nearly 40 minutes per game.
Harding has played the toughest schedule thus far in the GAC with opponents having a combined record of 16-4 in their games against other teams. The Bisons average 358.8 rushing yards per game to lead NCAA Division II.
Southern Nazarene is last in the GAC in scoring (18 ppg) and 11th in the league defensively allowing 38.6 point per game.
This one could get ugly quick.
PREDICTION: Harding 42, Southern Nazarene 10
Southeastern Oklahoma at Southern Arkansas 2:30 p.m.
Both teams look evenly matched on paper. Southern Arkansas ranks third in the GAC offensively (411.2 ypg) while Southeastern Oklahoma is fourth in the league (398.0 ypg).
The question is how will the Savage Storm respond after suffering their first loss of the season. CJ Shavers will need to have a big game on the ground to help open up the passing game, especially against a team that ranks 11th in the GAC giving up 456.8 yards per outing.
As for Southern Arkansas, after its collapse against Henderson State the Muleriders put up a lackluster performance against East Central losing for the third straight time.
Will SAU attempt to salvage the season and attempt to win out and possibly get invited to a D2 bowl game or have they packed it in for the year?
The Muleriders have a talented running back in Jariq Scales who leads the GAC averaging 118.8 yards per game, but was limited to 50 yards last week against ECU.
This game will come down to quarterback play. SOSU’s Dalton Hatley averages just over 240 yards per game while tossing 10 touchdown pass and having just three interceptions. SAU’s Hayden Mallory’s numbers are similar with 258 yards per game with 12 scores but he has been picked off seven times.
It’s Homecoming in Magnolia this week and I think SAU will respond.
PREDICTION: Southern Arkansas 32, Southeastern Oklahoma 27
Ouachita Baptist at Southwestern Oklahoma 3 p.m.
Ouachita Baptist put up 64 points last week against Northwestern Oklahoma primarily using its rushing attack which ranks second in the GAC. The Tigers have numerous running backs in the den and that doesn’t bode well for a defense that is giving up nearly 200 rushing yards per game.
Southwestern Oklahoma has lost some close ones and seems to be in that mode of trying not to lose instead of expecting to win.
The Bulldogs need to get the passing game on track if they are to come out on top.
OBU’s TJ Cole (117.2 ypg) and Kendel Givens (71.1) along with a Tiger defense that allows just 143 yards passing will be too much for the Bulldogs to handle.
PREDICTION: Ouachita Baptist 35, Southwestern Oklahoma 20
Arkansas-Monticello at Northwestern Oklahoma 4 p.m.
UAM held off Southwestern Oklahoma last week despite a second half surge by the Bulldogs.
Demilon Brown accounts for over 300 yards of the UAM offense with his versatility to run the football.
The UAM defense is last in passing giving up 270 yards per game which could give an opening for NWOSU quarterback Tanner Clarkson to have a big day.
However, Northwestern is allowing more than 45 points per game and ranks last in the league in defense giving up nearly 515 yards per game.
PREDICTION: Arkansas-Monticello 28, Northwestern Oklahoma 21