Wonder Boys Face Road Test at No. 23 HSU

The two Great American Conference football teams that posted the biggest statement victories in week one of the 2017 season will meet in week two on Saturday night in Arkadelphia.

Arkansas Tech University (1-0) and nationally 23rd-ranked Henderson State University (1-0) will begin their 90th all-time meeting with a 6 p.m. kickoff at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage.

The Wonder Boys took down then nationally 22nd-ranked Southern Arkansas University 28-21 in Russellville in their season opener on Aug. 31.

Tech forced the preseason favorite to win the GAC title into three turnovers. Offensively, the Wonder Boys scored touchdowns on Ty Reasnor passes of 23, 35 and 59 yards before Reasnor gave Tech the lead for good with a 10-yard touchdown run at the 2:54 mark of the fourth quarter.

“I was very pleased with the way the team played,” said ATU head coach Raymond Monica. “They never panicked on the sideline and just kept on playing. I think it goes back to January when we came back from the holidays. We started talking about SAU. I felt like at that time they would probably be the preseason pick to win the league, and they were. This goes back to early morning conditioning, spring training and summer conditioning. It didn’t happen overnight. This was several months of working on different things.”

On that same evening, 95 miles to the east in Searcy, Henderson State defeated nationally 15th-ranked and defending GAC champion Harding University 28-20. The Reddies were 7-of-11 on third down conversions, and they allowed zero quarterback sacks. Harding led the conference in that category in 2016 with 29 sacks.

“It’s the same type of Henderson State team you’ve been seeing for a long time,” said Monica. “They are very well coached, and they do a good job in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and kicking game. It’s early in the year to be able to tell what they’re going to do. I’m sure they have different wrinkles for attacking us compared to how they attacked Harding. I know they’ll have a good plan.”

Arkansas Tech leads the all-time series between Tech and HSU 43-42-4, but the Reddies have held the upper hand in recent years. Henderson State, which has won three of the first six GAC football titles, is 6-0 against the Wonder Boys since 2010. Tech’s last win over the Reddies was a 44-14 triumph in Arkadelphia on Oct. 24, 2009.