If the 2023 football schedules from Arkansas Tech University and East Central University could get together for a cup of coffee, they’d have a lot to talk about.
The Wonder Boys and the Tigers have matching records of 3-5. They have faced the same eight opponents. They have defeated the same three teams (University of Arkansas-Monticello, Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University) and they have lost to the same five teams (Henderson State University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Ouachita Baptist University, Southern Arkansas University and Southern Nazarene University).
In other words, it would be difficult to find a more even match-up than the ATU-ECU game scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff at Norris Field in Ada, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Live coverage will be provided by KCJC 102.3 FM, www.arkansastechsports.com and the EAB Media Group app.
“You look at (ECU), I think we are similar in a lot of different ways,” said Kyle Shipp, ATU head football coach. “Their defense plays really well. They are only giving up 24 points per game. They have last year’s (Great American Conference) defensive player of the year and the leading tackler in the conference this year in Devon Roush. It’s always hard to win on the road, especially in Ada. If we go out there and do our job, I think we’ll be okay.”
One Wonder Boy is very well acquainted with Norris Field and the ECU Tigers.
ATU quarterback Taye Gatewood was a member of the East Central program for three years before transferring to Arkansas Tech in advance of the 2022 season.
Gatewood’s story is a study in the value of persistence. After splitting time with other quarterbacks throughout his three years in Ada, Gatewood opened the 2022 season as ATU’s starter. His playing time decreased as the season progressed and he began the 2023 season opener on the bench.
But since his number was called late in the first half of the game at Oklahoma Baptist on Aug. 31, Gatewood has firmly established himself as the Wonder Boys’ QB1. He ranks second in the GAC in passing (211.9 yards per game) and he is on pace to join Arsenio Favor, Ty Reasnor and Jack Lindsey as the only Arkansas Tech quarterbacks over the past decade to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season.
“Taye has a good feel for ECU,” said Shipp. “He feels pretty confident about knowing what he will see from their defense. I don’t know if they’ll try to change it up or not, but he’s always excited for this game. I told him he’ll get two senior nights: one at ECU and one at Arkansas Tech.”
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.