Wonder Boys Face No. 7 Tigers Saturday

One year ago, Ouachita Baptist University traveled to Russellville and upset an undefeated and nationally-ranked Arkansas Tech University football team.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Wonder Boys get a chance to repay the favor.

Arkansas Tech (2-2) and nationally seventh-ranked Ouachita Baptist (4-0) will begin their 83rd all-time meeting at noon Saturday at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia. Live coverage of the Great American Conference match-up will be available on KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.

The Sept. 30, 2017, meeting between the Wonder Boys and the Tigers came down to the final play. OBU took a 35-31 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Drew Harris with 1:36 remaining and then broke up an ATU pass into the end zone as time expired to seal its victory over the 11th-ranked Wonder Boys.

It’s that Ouachita running game — led in 2018 by running backs Shun’cee Thomas and Kris Oliver as well as quarterback Brayden Brazeal — that has vaulted the Tigers to a top-10 ranking. OBU is averaging 282.5 rushing yards per game, third-most in NCAA Division II.

“(Ouachita) has a very good offensive line and a bunch of running backs who do a good job out of the wildcat offense along with the speed sweeps,” said Raymond Monica, ATU head coach. “When they need to make a play, they can throw the ball down the field or (Brazeal) can use his feet to get a first down and keep a drive alive.

“We need to do a better job in special teams to match them because of field position,” continued Monica. “I believe penalties will play a large role in this game. Defensively, we have to stop the run, and on offense we have to convert on third down.”

The Wonder Boys have won two consecutive games, the most recent of which was a 24-10 victory over Southern Nazarene University last Saturday. ATU rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit to remain undefeated against the Crimson Storm all-time.

“We fought through some adversity, and the defense stepped it up in the second half by forcing some turnovers,” said Monica. “Our offense executed better as the game went along. We were able to run the football and throw it when we needed to. I’m very proud of the way the team fought through some adversity going into halftime. Hopefully we can continue to get better this week.”

Senior running back Bryan Allen rushed for 175 yards and had 219 all-purpose yards for the Wonder Boys in their win over SNU. He was rewarded with a GAC co-offensive player of the week award.

“I thought Bryan ran the football extremely well,” said Monica. “He had some good moves and really ran the ball vertically. He’s playing well. There’s still some inconsistency overall on offense. We’ve left a lot of points off the board so far this year, so hopefully we can put it all together this weekend. It’s a new week, and it’s a new game. Anything can happen.”

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