Turnovers Gained Fuel 31-7 Wonder Boys’ Win

Arkansas Tech University put its 0-2 start to the 2018 football season in the rear view mirror on Saturday with a 31-7 drubbing of Oklahoma Baptist University in Great American Conference play at Crain Family Stadium in Shawnee, Okla.

The Wonder Boys (1-2) forced four Bison turnovers and committed none of their own while earning Tech’s first football win over Oklahoma Baptist in Shawnee since Oct. 11, 1930.

ATU starting quarterback Carter Burcham completed 11-of-22 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 12 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Tech’s Bryan Allen rushed 15 times for 96 yards to surpass Greg Jefferson and move into fourth place on the Wonder Boys’ all-time career rushing list. Jefferson accumulated 2,838 rushing yards from 1979-82. A senior from Forrest City, Allen now has 2,865 career rushing yards.

K.J. Reid made 13 tackles and a fumble recovery for Tech. D.J. Williams intercepted two Oklahoma Baptist passes and Deeandra Ervin made one interception for the Wonder Boys.

Burcham opened the scoring for Arkansas Tech with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Smith with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter, capping a six-play, 95-yard drive. Jesus Zizumbo added the extra point and the Wonder Boys led 7-0.

Zizumbo connected on a 31-yard field goal at the 3:30 mark of the opening quarter to increase Tech’s lead to 10-0.

Oklahoma Baptist (2-1) lost a fumble on the second play of the ensuing drive, giving the football back to the Wonder Boys at the Bison 21-yard line.

Arkansas Tech cashed in the turnover on a 21-yard touchdown run by Burcham and Zizumbo added the point after to make it 17-0 with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter.

That lost fumble was the first of three first-half turnovers by Oklahoma Baptist, and all three came deep in Tech territory. Williams and Ervin both recorded an interception inside the Wonder Boys’ 10-yard line during the second quarter to keep the Bison off the scoreboard.

Tanner Gaines added a 4-yard touchdown run with 10:27 left in the opening half and Tech went to the intermission with a 24-0 lead.

The Wonder Boys extended their advantage to 31-0 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Burcham to Drew Wade at the 7:34 mark of the third period. Tech’s final score of the day was set up by Williams’ second interception of the afternoon.

The Bison avoided a shutout when Preston Haire threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jacquez Henderson with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas Tech will host Southern Nazarene University for a 6 p.m. GAC contest at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville on Saturday, Sept. 22. It will be Family Day at ATU. Party at the Plaza, the pre-game tailgating celebration outside the stadium on Centennial Plaza, will begin at 3 p.m.