Wonder Boys Top Boll Weevils 30-25

Arkansas Tech quarterback Rico Keller carried 22 times for 209 yards and the Wonder Boys scored two defensive touchdowns in a 30-25 Gulf South Conference victory over the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils at Convoy Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium in Monticello on Saturday night.

Tech (2-2 overall, 1-1 GSC) took the lead for good on a 33-yard touchdown run by Keller (photographed) with 6:24 left in the second quarter. The redshirt freshman’s first career rushing touchdown put the Wonder Boys in front 16-14 at halftime.

Two quick touchdowns to begin the third quarter staked Tech to a 30-14 edge. Brandon Wright recovered a fumble and ran it in from 15 yards out with 14:17 left in the third period and Keller scored on a 58-yard touchdown run at the 12:27 mark of the third quarter.

The Boll Weevils (2-2, 1-1) cut their deficit in half when Carlton Johnson returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown and Steven Porter caught a 2-point conversion pass from Scott Buisson. Tech led 30-22 with 9:45 left in the third quarter.

UAM drew to within 30-25 on a 21-yard field goal by Taylor Pontius with 9:50 to go, and the Weevils gave themselves a chance to win by stuffing a fourth-and-goal run from the UAM 1-yard line by Arkansas Tech with 2:08 remaining.

A 40-yard completion from Buisson to Porter moved UAM to the Tech 18-yard line with 36 seconds left, but Buisson’s next pass was intercepted in the end zone by Michael Chapman to preserve the Wonder Boys’ victory.

Keller’s effort represents the sixth-highest single-game rushing total by a Wonder Boy in the 96-year history of the program.

Only Travis Horn (288 yards vs. Central Arkansas in 2001), Robert Marley (259 yards vs. Ouachita Baptist in 1965), Eddie Meador (239 yards vs. Hendrix in 1958), Jack Simpson (235 yards vs. Ouachita Baptist in 1950) and Marcus Godfrey (225 yards vs. West Alabama in 2002) have ever rushed for more yards in a game for Arkansas Tech.

Buisson completed 18-of-35 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns for UAM. By doing so, he became the all-time leader in career total offense among all college football players in the state of Arkansas. Nathan Brown accumulated 10,993 yards at Central Arkansas from 2005-08. Buisson now has 11,037 career yards of total offense.

Tech jumped out to 3-0 lead on Cody Jones’ 22-yard field goal with 7:33 left in the first quarter.

A 9-yard touchdown pass from Buisson to Jywin Caesar early in the second quarter gave UAM its first lead at 7-3.

Joe Means put the Wonder Boys back in front with a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown at the 9:29 mark of the second quarter, but on the next play from scrimmage Buisson hit D.J. Stephens for a 64-yard touchdown strike to give the Weevils a 14-10 edge.

That was UAM’s last lead of the night. Keller’s touchdown scamper on a keeper around right end with 6:24 to go in the second quarter was the final lead change.

Antonio Charles (nine tackles) and RonDerrick Jackson (eight tackles) helped lead a Tech defense that limited the Boll Weevils to just 12 rushing yards.

The Wonder Boys will play a second consecutive road game on Saturday, Oct. 2, when they visit nationally-ranked North Alabama for a 6 p.m. game at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Ala.