ATU Visits SWOSU Saturday Afternoon

Benjamin Franklin famously said the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes.

If he’d lived long enough to attend a Southwestern Oklahoma State University home football game, he likely would have added one more certainty to the list: the wind blowing in Weatherford, Okla.

Winds of between 20 and 30 miles per hour are forecast for Milam Stadium on Saturday afternoon when Arkansas Tech University (4-2 overall, 4-2 GAC) and SWOSU (2-4, 2-4) are scheduled to meet for a 2 p.m. kickoff in Great American Conference football action.

ATU head coach Raymond Monica has coached enough games in the Sooner State to know that wind direction — and whether his team has the wind at its back or in its face — impacts every phase of the game.

“Probably the most important play will be the coin toss to start it all off,” said Monica. “When you have the wind that strong, that’s the play of the game.”

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live play-by-play coverage.

Slightly calmer wind conditions — mere gusts of 20 miles per hour — existed one year ago in Weatherford when the Wonder Boys came up with a goal line stand in the final seconds to preserve a 24-20 victory over the Bulldogs. The victory clinched Arkansas Tech’s second consecutive winning season.

The 2017 Wonder Boys won their first four games and climbed as high as No. 11 in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II top 25 poll. Back-to-back losses to Ouachita Baptist University and the University of Arkansas-Monticello by a combined total of five points have resulted in ATU dropping into a three-way tie for second place in the GAC standings, two games behind front-running Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

“It always comes down to a play here or a play there,” said Monica. “It’s so much nicer to correct mistakes when you win the game, but they’re magnified when you lose. It’s like I told the team this week, a lot of teams would love to be 4-2. We’re very upset right now around here because we’ve lost the last two when we had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win it, but we didn’t get it done. Everybody’s very positive, and I think this has pulled our team together even closer.”

Southwestern Oklahoma State led undefeated Southeastern Oklahoma State 17-7 in the fourth quarter last week before the Savage Storm rallied for a 31-24 victory.

“I thought (SWOSU) played extremely well last week, and I was very impressed with them,” said Monica. “Southwestern is a team that always scraps, fights and does a great job. It’s always a good football game.”

After traveling to SWOSU, the Wonder Boys will prepare for their 2017 Homecoming game against Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Party at the Plaza, the pre-game tailgating celebration outside the stadium, will begin at 11 a.m.

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