Tech Tidbits: Wonder Boys Seek Back-to-Back Wins

Wonder Boys Celebration 9-30-2023
Members of the Arkansas Tech University football team celebrate the Wonder Boys' 44-21 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Arkansas Tech University earned its first win of the 2023 football season last Saturday.

The Wonder Boys’ goal this Saturday is to prevent Southwestern Oklahoma State University from enjoying that same sense of relief.

ATU (1-4) and SWOSU (0-5) will meet for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff at Milam Stadium in Weatherford, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 7. Live coverage will be available on KCJC 102.3 FM, and the EAB Media Group app.

Arkansas Tech quarterback Taye Gatewood completed 19-of-20 passes for career highs of 254 yards and four touchdowns in the Wonder Boys’ 44-21 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Saturday. ATU amassed 532 yards of total offense — its most in a game since Nov. 4, 2017 — and Gatewood was named Great American Conference offensive player of the week.

“I think he’s more comfortable with what we do offensively,” said Kyle Shipp, ATU head football coach, when asked about Gatewood’s performance this season. “It’s like with any quarterback…normally, in their second year, you see an increase in productivity. I think that’s a big part of it, and I think we’re a little better at the receiver position, too.”

Arkansas Tech has won its last three games against Southwestern Oklahoma State, but each of them has come by the slimmest of margins. The Wonder Boys needed fourth-quarter field goals from Jesus Zizumbo to come from behind and defeat the Bulldogs 36-35 in 2019, 15-14 in 2021 and 22-21 in 2022, when Zizumbo connected on a 44-yard field goal as time expired to set a new ATU record for career field goals made.

“If you know anything about Arkansas Tech and Southwestern Oklahoma State, we make things very, very interesting every game,” said Shipp. “Something we’ve talked about a lot this week is how to handle situations and play the kind of football we want to without allowing outside noise to affect us. (SWOSU) is capable of winning games, and if we don’t come to play, they’re capable of beating us.”

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.