Not that the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys or the Delta State Statesmen need any extra motivation, but the programming schedule at CBS College Sports Network could certainly cause a football team to focus. After all, who wants to watch their own mistakes over and over and over again? “The thing that’s on my mind is that as I watched television this past week, the Grand Valley game has only been shown about 15 times,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Steve Mullins, speaking of last week’s NCAA Division II game of the week on CBS College Sports Network. “That’s in my mind. We need a good performance because they’re going to show it about 15 times over the coming week. I’d like to be able to smile rather than grimace every time I see it coming on the television.”
The Wonder Boys (1-0) and the Statesmen (0-1) will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Travis E. Parker Field at Horace McCool Stadium in Cleveland, Miss.
The game will be televised live — and then replayed throughout the weekend — on CBS College Sports Network (Channel 123 on Suddenlink Digital Cable in the Russellville area).
KWKK 100.9 FM will have the radio broadcast in the Russellville area beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. That broadcast will be streamed over the Internet at www.athletics.atu.edu.
Arkansas Tech opened its 2010 campaign last Thursday with a 34-19 win over Lambuth University. The Wonder Boys held the Eagles to 212 yards of total offense — including just 11 rushing yards.
It was the best performance by a Tech defense in terms of total offense allowed since Sept. 9, 2006, when the Wonder Boys held Texas College to 193 yards.
“We had two big plays that we gave up, and if you take those two plays away it was a dominating performance by our defense,” said Mullins.
Delta State was on the opposite end of a 15-point decision in its season opener. Jackson State, a member of NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, rolled up 501 yards of total offense while defeating the Statesmen 32-17 last Saturday.
“I thought Delta State played pretty sound, but Jackson State just had some big, big plays in the game,” said Mullins.
Arkansas Tech and Delta State had different outcomes in their first games of the year, but they enter their second game of the season looking to correct the same problem — turnovers.
The Wonder Boys and the Statesmen both committed five turnovers in game one of 2010.
“There were a lot of similarities between (Tech) and (Delta State) last week,” said Mullins. “You look at the turnovers Delta had, and I know it makes them sick and it gave Jackson State a big advantage. Delta State had some drives where they had things going, but then they’d turn the ball over. Hopefully we’ll correct ours and they will wait one more week before they correct theirs.”
Trevar Deed is the man to watch for the Statesmen. The senior all-purpose back amassed 3,722 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Delta State.
The Wonder Boys know all too well about Deed’s abilities. He has 391 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns in two career games against Arkansas Tech.
“(Deed) just operates at a different speed than the rest of us,” said Mullins. “He’s got great hands. They’re going to try to get the ball in his hands any way that they can, and if we had that guy we’d do the same thing.”
Despite the fact that Arkansas Tech and Delta State are fellow members of the Gulf South Conference, the game on Thursday will not count in the league standings.
Delta State and West Georgia rotated off of Tech’s GSC schedule this season, but the conference mandated that the Statesmen and the Wonder Boys would play a non-conference game in 2010.
Arkansas Tech will open the GSC portion of its schedule on Saturday, Sept. 18, when it hosts Henderson State University for a 6 p.m. game at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville.
Sept. 18 will be Family Day on the Arkansas Tech campus. Pre-game festivities, including a live concert and Party at the Plaza, will begin outside the stadium at 3 p.m.]]>