There are plenty of statistical and historical reasons to believe that nationally second-ranked Harding University will win the football game scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Simmons Bank Field at Thone Stadium in Russellville.
Kyle Shipp, Arkansas Tech University head football coach, is aware of all those reasons.
He’s also aware of what he sees when he looks in the eyes of the Wonder Boys.
“I have faith in my kids,” said Shipp. “I have no doubt we’re going to show up. If we do what I think we can do and keep this game close into the fourth quarter, count on the Wonder Boys. I can’t promise anything, but if we can make this thing close into the fourth quarter, get ready for possibly something really special to happen.”
Harding (10-0) and Arkansas Tech (5-5) both have a great deal of momentum and plenty to play for in the regular season finale.
The Bisons, who have won their 10 games this season by an average margin of 41 points, are No. 1 in the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 rankings. With a win on Saturday, Harding would clinch the Great American Conference championship outright, a first-round bye in the NCAA Division II Playoffs and home-field advantage throughout the regional portion of the postseason bracket.
The Wonder Boys, winners of five of their last six games, would clinch their first winning season since 2017 with a victory on Saturday. It would be Arkansas Tech’s first win over Harding since 2015 and only the second time the Wonder Boys have defeated the Bisons during the GAC era.
Harding averages 430.6 rushing yards per game, most among every NCAA football team in the nation regardless of level. The Bisons are second in NCAA Division II in total defense (217.9 yards allowed per game).
“It’s going to be the most physical game we’ve played all year,” said Shipp. “Even my injured guys that are banged up pretty bad are begging to play, and that hasn’t been the case in the past. That tells me a little bit about where our kids’ mindset is. Beating the No. 2-ranked team in the country is something they’d talk about for the rest of their lives.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game are available at www.arkansastechsports.com/tickets.
Live coverage will be provided by KCJC 102.3 FM, www.arkansastechsports.com and the EAB Media Group app.
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.