There are moments that shape and define each season.
Fourth-and-1. Oklahoma Baptist University ball on its own 33-yard line. Under a minute to go in the second quarter. If the Bison convert…they build upon the momentum of 13 unanswered points. If Arkansas Tech University gets a stop…the Wonder Boys are poised to regain control of the game and push their overall record to the .500 mark with five games remaining in the season.
Enter Matt Arnold. The ATU sophomore cornerback from Texarkana reads the pass. He reacts. He makes the tackle. Turnover on downs. And, as it turned out, ballgame, Arkansas Tech.
“Matt made a great individual play,” said Kyle Shipp, ATU head football coach. “He’s been a great leader for us on defense this year as a sophomore. Having young guys like that who help with the leadership part is great. That play was a huge turnaround because we were able to get the field goal after that and a more comfortable lead going to halftime.”
The Wonder Boys’ 34-13 win at Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday was their second consecutive win. As ATU prepares to host Homecoming 2022 this weekend, there are more milestones within reach.
First three-game winning streak since 2019. First time to be above .500 this late in the season since 2017. First win over an in-state opponent since 2017.
It will all come to pass if the Wonder Boys (3-3) defeat Southern Arkansas University (2-4) when they meet at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville. Pre-game tailgating on the Crabaugh Hall lawn will begin at 11 a.m. Game tickets are available at www.arkansastechsports.com/tickets.
“It’s not the easiest thing to do, but you try to keep the guys off the roller coaster,” said Shipp. “We don’t want to be too high or too low. We can’t think we’re too good, and we can’t think the world is coming to an end. Our word of the week is habits. We’re not a team that can fall back into old habits. We have to continue the great habits we’ve demonstrated the last few weeks. If we can continue our good practice habits, I think we’ll continue to see success. Our guys understand that.”
Live coverage of the ATU-SAU game on KCJC 102.3 FM, the KCJC Radio app and www.arkansastechsports.com will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Talk to you on the radio.
Tech Tidbits is a column written by Sam Strasner, ATU director of university relations and radio play-by-play voice for ATU football and basketball.