Wonder Boys Earn Shutout Win at SNU

Nationally 16th-ranked Arkansas Tech University raced out to a 24-point halftime lead and went on to defeat Southern Nazarene University 52-0 in Great American Conference football at the SNU Football Stadium in Bethany, Okla., on Saturday afternoon.

It marked the first time since 1970 and 1971 that the Wonder Boys have posted a shutout in back-to-back seasons. Tech defeated SNU 46-0 in 2016.

The Wonder Boys (4-0) marched 60 yards in eight plays on their first possession of the day. Bryan Allen scored on a 2-yard rushing touchdown, Eric Perez added the extra point and Tech led 7-0 at the 10:06 mark of the first quarter.

ATU’s defense set the tone for the rest of the day on the ensuing Southern Nazarene drive. The Crimson Storm (2-2) reached the Wonder Boys’ 8-yard line before back-to-back quarterback sacks by Tech’s Hunter Hudson and Jared Loftis led to a missed SNU field goal.

Arkansas Tech controlled the rest of the game. Brandon Hunter’s 7-yard touchdown run, Perez’s 35-yard field goal and Ty Reasnor’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Tremel Glasper during the second quarter gave the Wonder Boys a 24-0 edge at halftime.

The second half was made memorable by Braden Stringer. The ATU senior running back matched his longest career run with a 63-yard carry for a touchdown at the 5:12 mark of the third quarter, and he was just getting started.

Stringer broke a Tech record that had stood for almost 63 years when he returned an SNU punt 93 yards for a touchdown with 1:35 left in the third period. He surpassed the previous Wonder Boys’ record set by Sammy May when he returned a punt 91 yards against Henderson State University on Nov. 5, 1954.

Tanner Gaines had a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Cale Fulsom threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Drew Wade in the final minute of the third period to close out the scoring.

Reasnor completed 16-of-22 passes for 205 yards. Jackob Dean caught seven passes for 75 yards for the Wonder Boys, while Allen finished with 15 carries for 87 yards. Cua’ Rose led the Tech defense with seven tackles.

The Wonder Boys will host Ouachita Baptist University for a 6 p.m. GAC contest at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville on Saturday, Sept. 30. Party at the Plaza will begin outside the stadium at 4 p.m.

Suns’ Winning Streak Reaches 16 Matches

Nationally 24th-ranked Arkansas Tech University earned its 12th straight sets victory of the 2017 volleyball season by defeating Ouachita Baptist University 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 in Arkadelphia on Thursday night.

The Golden Suns (16-0 overall, 3-0 Great American Conference) were led by Allie Anderson with 10 kills, Amanda Milnick with 30 assists and Madison Nagel with 10 digs.

Arkansas Tech will return to Arkadelphia on Tuesday, Sept. 26, for a 6:30 p.m. GAC match against Henderson State University.

Wonder Boys Visit SNU Saturday Afternoon

Team chemistry is often difficult to describe, but Arkansas Tech University head football coach Raymond Monica knows what it sounds like.

“This group really likes being around one another,” said Monica of his undefeated and nationally 16th-ranked Wonder Boys. “You can see it at practice and how they act. It doesn’t matter if it’s offense or defense, if someone does well, you hear ‘great catch’ or ‘good play over there’ or ‘good job there.’ All of them are in this together, working extremely hard and doing the right things.”

Arkansas Tech (3-0) will visit Southern Nazarene University (2-1) for a 1 p.m. Great American Conference contest at the SNU Football Stadium in Bethany, Okla., on Saturday, Sept. 23. Live coverage will be available from radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.

A win would give the Wonder Boys their fifth start of 4-0 or better this century. Tech started 5-0 in 2001, 9-0 in 2004, 5-0 in 2005 and 4-0 in 2015.

Southern Nazarene stunned the GAC with a 28-27 win at defending conference champion Harding University last Saturday. The Crimson Storm scored two touchdowns in the final 49 seconds to earn its second consecutive victory.

“I give Southern Nazarene all the credit for the way they fought all game long to put themselves in position to win that football game,” said Monica. “For them to do what they did was remarkable. You could see this team plays with a lot of passion and a lot of emotion. They’re probably at the all-time high they’ve ever been in (NCAA) Division II.”

SNU’s start is particularly surprising given its history. The Crimson Storm compiled a cumulative overall record of 5-50 during its first five seasons of NCAA Division II and GAC competition from 2012-16. Southern Nazarene was picked to finish last in the GAC in the 2017 preseason poll.

“(SNU) is 100 percent better than they have been on special teams in the past,” said Monica. “Their kickers are doing a good job and they’re doing a good job covering. That’s the part they’ve improved in the most.”

Arkansas Tech enters the weekend tied with Southeastern Oklahoma State University for first place in the GAC standings. Saturday will mark the first of three trips to Oklahoma for the Wonder Boys during their 2017 schedule.

“I’m looking forward to watching this team play and to see how we respond to three wins in a row,” said Monica. “We’ll see what our team is going to be all about in terms of going on the road and competing.”

Golden Suns Earn 15th Consecutive Victory

Amanda Milnick’s sixth double-double of the season helped nationally 24th-ranked Arkansas Tech University dispatch Harding University 25-22, 25-14, 25-16 in Great American Conference volleyball at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Tuesday night.

Milnick notched 36 assists and 16 digs for the Golden Suns (15-0 overall, 2-0 GAC).

Tabitha Spray and Allie Anderson made 11 kills apiece for Tech, while Hunter Eshnaur added 16 digs.

The Golden Suns will visit Ouachita Baptist University for a 6:30 p.m. GAC match in Arkadelphia on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Wonder Boys Finish Second in Muskogee

A final-round comeback bid by Arkansas Tech University forced the University of Central Oklahoma to earn the team title at the 19th annual Northeastern State University Golf Classic, which was played on Monday and Tuesday at Muskogee Country Club in Muskogee, Okla.

Central Oklahoma posted rounds of 286-277 on Monday and entered the final round with a 10-stroke lead over second-place Arkansas Tech. The Wonder Boys returned team totals of 288 and 285 on Monday.

Bolstered by a front-nine, 4-under par 32 by Shawn Tsai, Arkansas Tech turned up the heat on the Bronchos during the final round before ultimately falling four strokes short. UCO shot 285 on Tuesday to complete the 54-hole event with a 848 total. The Wonder Boys accumulated a team score of 279 in the final round to finish at 852.

Tsai finished tied for fifth in the individual standings. He carded rounds of 71-69-70 on the 6,729-yard, par-71 layout to finish at 3-under 210.

Jackson Marseilles (T-8th, 74-72-67-213), Luke Cornett (T-10th, 69-75-70-214), Putter Srinoon (T-19th, 74-71-72-217) and Ryan Spurlock (T-64th, 75-73-79-227) also contributed to Tech’s team score.

ATU’s Kellen Gray (T-37th, 71-74-76-221) competed as an individual.

The Wonder Boys will return to action Oct. 2-3 at the Henderson State University Fall Invitational in Hot Springs.