Wonder Boys Fall in Regular Season Finale

Two second-half touchdown runs by Harding University quarterback Terrence Dingle propelled the Bisons to a 24-17 win over Arkansas Tech University at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville on Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale for both teams.

With the win, Harding (8-3 overall, 8-3 Great American Conference) is likely to move past Arkansas Tech (8-3, 8-3) in the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 rankings and claim a berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs, which begin on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The Bisons entered the weekend ranked eighth in the region, while the Wonder Boys were ranked seventh in the region. Only the top seven teams from NCAA Division II Super Region 3 will be invited to the playoffs.

If Arkansas Tech is left out when NCAA Division II Playoffs selections are announced on Sunday, Nov. 12, it is anticipated that the Wonder Boys will be invited to play in the Agent Barry Live United Bowl in Texarkana on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Harding’s win made Ouachita Baptist University (9-2, 9-2) the outright GAC champion for 2017. The Tigers will be among the teams to earn a playoffs bid on Sunday.

Arkansas Tech took the opening kickoff on Saturday and went 74 yards in four plays to take the first lead of the day. Ty Reasnor’s 16-yard touchdown pass to J.V. Davis and Eric Perez’s extra point kick staked the Wonder Boys to a 7-0 lead with 13:19 to go in the first quarter.

Harding tied the score in unconventional fashion with 1:06 left in the opening period when offensive lineman Gavin De Los Santos recovered a Bisons’ fumble in the end zone and Tristan Parsley added the point after.

Reasnor put the Wonder Boys back in front with a 5-yard touchdown run around right end at the 8:22 mark of the second quarter. Perez added the point after touchdown to make it 14-7.

Harding set what proved to be the halftime score of 14-10 when Parsley booted through a 27-yard field goal with 2:24 to go in the second quarter.

Arkansas Tech lost two fumbles on its end of the field in the first half, but both times the Wonder Boys’ defense came up with stand to allow Tech to preserve its four-point lead at the intermission.

The difference in the second half were the two touchdown runs by Dingle, who notched his 15th and 16th rushing touchdowns of 2017. He ran in from five yards out with 7:37 to go in the third quarter and from 30 yards out with what was the game-winning score at the 7:23 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Bisons sealed the win by intercepting an Arkansas Tech pass with 1:23 left.

KJ Reid made a game-high 16 tackles for the Wonder Boys. Reasnor completed 14-of-21 passes for 157 yards. Tevin McKenzie made five receptions for 50 yards.

Cole Chancey led Harding in rushing with 23 carries for 97 yards. The Bisons, the NCAA Division II national leader in rushing this season, accumulated 311 rushing yards on Saturday.

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