ATU Seeks Continued Dominance of NWOSU

Arkansas Tech University will seek to extend a seven-game football winning streak against Northwestern Oklahoma State University when the two sides meet at Ranger Field in Alva, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Kickoff for the Wonder Boys (2-4) and the Rangers (2-4) is set for 2 p.m. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and will provide live coverage.

Arkansas Tech is 11-4 all-time against Northwestern Oklahoma State, including a 6-0 mark against the Rangers since the two institutions became fellow members of the Great American Conference in 2012. Five of the Wonder Boys’ six GAC wins over NWOSU have come by double digits, including a 66-10 victory in 2017.

The 2018 ATU team has lost two consecutive games.

Turnovers figured prominently in a 24-7 loss at Ouachita Baptist University on Sept. 29 and a 34-16 home setback against the University of Arkansas-Monticello on Oct. 6. The Wonder Boys had a cumulative turnover margin of minus-6 in those two defeats, and OBU and UAM both returned an interception for a touchdown against Tech.

“That’s one thing that’s really been hurting us offensively,” said ATU head coach Raymond Monica. “It’s one thing if you have the turnover, make the tackle and get a chance to line up on defense, but when you give up an interception return for a touchdown two weeks in a row, that’s not good.”

Northwestern Oklahoma State is 2-1 at home so far this season, and its only loss at Ranger Field was a 29-21 decision on Aug. 30 against now nationally fifth-ranked Ouachita Baptist.

The Rangers rank fourth in the GAC in rushing offense (170.2 yards per game).

Junior running back Jacob Peyton averaged 136 rushing yards per game over NWOSU’s first three games of the season. Freshman Tyson Gatewood has been the Rangers’ featured back the last three weeks, averaging 98.7 rushing yards per game over that span.

Gatewood carried 27 times for 134 yards and a touchdown in Northwestern’s 17-7 victory over East Central University last Saturday.

“(NWOSU) has a couple of really good running backs,” said Monica. “If they get a chance to go the distance, they will. They are committed to running the football. One thing that’s a little different is they changed quarterbacks last week. The last two ball games they’ve played three different quarterbacks, but they did a good job protecting the football last week and that’s how they won the game. We’ve got to be able to stop the run, and we can’t give up the big play in the passing game.”

Arkansas Tech counters with the third-leading rusher in Wonder Boys’ history, Bryan Allen. He is averaging a GAC-best 93.3 rushing yards per game in 2018, and he has 3,271 career rushing yards with five regular season games remaining in his senior season.

Allen needs 140 yards to surpass Eddie Meador (3,410 rushing yards from 1955-58) for second place and 333 yards to break the school record held by Larry Brown (3,603 rushing yards from 1968-71).