Arkansas Tech has celebrated Homecoming with a victory in each of the five seasons since Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field was renovated in 2007. In order to extend their Homecoming winning streak to six in a row, the Wonder Boys must contain one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Great American Conference.
Arkansas Tech has celebrated Homecoming with a victory in each of the five seasons since Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field was renovated in 2007.
In order to extend their Homecoming winning streak to six in a row, the Wonder Boys must contain one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Great American Conference.
Arkansas Tech (2-3 overall, 0-2 GAC) will host the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm (1-3, 0-3) for a 6 p.m. league contest on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Tickets will be available at the gate. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free. Party at the Plaza, the pre-game tailgating celebration outside the stadium on Centennial Plaza, will begin at 3 p.m.
The Savage Storm is led by quarterback Jercolby Bradley, who ranks third in the GAC in total offense (288.5 yards per game) and rushing (80.8 yards per game). Bradley passed for 181 yards and ran for 135 yards in a 27-24 loss to nationally 12th-ranked Ouachita Baptist last Saturday.
“Bradley will be the fastest person on the field Saturday night,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Steve Mullins. “You give him just a little running room and he is going to hurt you. We have to do everything we can to stay in our rush lanes and contain him.”
Bradley directs a Savage Storm offense that ranks No. 2 nationally at the NCAA Division II level in time of possession with an average of 35 minutes, 50 seconds per game.
Southeastern Oklahoma State is just a handful of plays away from owning a 3-1 record rather than its current mark of 1-3. Ouachita Baptist came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Savage Storm last week, much like Southern Arkansas did in a 31-24 victory over Southeastern Oklahoma State on Sept. 15.
The second half has been much kinder to Arkansas Tech in recent weeks. The Wonder Boys have outscored their last two opponents 31-10 after halftime, and Arkansas Tech’s defense did not allow a point in the second half of the Wonder Boys’ 41-20 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State last Saturday.
“Everything we’ve done this year through our first five games, we’ve outplayed our opponents in the second half,” said Mullins. “Bottom line we’re still 2-3, but the in-game adjustments we are making as a coaching staff and the conditioning of our team are paying off. Maybe we can start making our adjustments a little quicker, but I am very proud of the way our team has played in the second half. Hopefully that trend will continue.”
Arkansas Tech quarterback Tanner Marsh completed 16-of-27 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern Oklahoma State. Marsh, who ranks 19th in NCAA Division II in total offense (303 yards per game), has completed passes to 19 different receivers this season.
“Tanner continues to improve,” said Mullins. “I thought our pass blocking improved this last game, and that’s a big key as well. I feel like if we give Tanner time to throw, he’s going to find the right person.”
The Wonder Boys rushed for a season-high 225 yards in their win last Saturday. Marsh carried 14 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns, while Cody Lewis rushed nine times for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Arkansas Tech owns an 8-3-1 lead in its all-time series with Southeastern Oklahoma State. The Wonder Boys defeated the Savage Storm 28-16 on Oct. 22, 2011, in their first meeting as GAC foes. It was the first GAC football victory for Arkansas Tech, and it fell on Homecoming Saturday 2011.
“Our guys understand it will be a large crowd,” said Mullins of playing on Homecoming. “We want to take pride in winning our home games, and when you add Homecoming on top of that, hopefully it will be a source of inspiration.”
Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast the game. Live video and live audio streams will be available over the Internet at http://athletics.atu.edu.