Wonder Boys Go in Search of 1st Road Win

www.arkansastechsports.com. The Wonder Boys improved to 3-0 at home last Saturday with an 18-13 win over the University of Arkansas-Monticello. With the victory, Arkansas Tech remained one game out of first place in the GAC standings, a position shared by nationally seventh-ranked Henderson State University (5-0, 4-0), nationally 15th-ranked Harding University (4-0, 4-0) and Ouachita Baptist University (4-0, 4-0). Games against Henderson State (in Russellville on Oct. 18) and Ouachita Baptist (in Arkadelphia on Oct. 25) are rapidly approaching for the Wonder Boys, but in order for Arkansas Tech to vie for the top of the GAC standings it must first deal with Southern Arkansas. “We always concentrate on the next game,” said Raymond Monica, second-year head coach of the Wonder Boys. “We know that this is a game we need to have if we’re going to do what we want to do around here. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.” The Muleriders suffered a 56-13 loss at Harding last Saturday. Like Arkansas Tech, Southern Arkansas is undefeated at home and winless on the road so far in 2014. Seven of the 11 GAC members are still looking for their first road football victory this season, and home teams are 19-8 in games involving GAC members this season. “Adjusting to a different routine is a big part of it,” said Monica when asked about the characteristics of a good road team. “Being home gives you a big advantage with the crowd and the energy, and you are accustomed to that environment. We practice in our stadium each and every day. But great teams are able to go on the road and win games.” SAU quarterback Si Blackshire leads the GAC in total offense (312.2 yards per game). After waiting his turn behind record-setting signal-caller Tyler Sykora for the past two years, Blackshire earned two GAC offensive player of the week awards in his first four starts of 2014. He threw a single-game school-record six touchdown passes in a 62-21 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Sept. 27. “(Blackshire) is a dual threat,” said Monica. “He does a good job throwing the football downfield, and he makes plays with his feet. When the other team has a quarterback who can do both of those things, it can cause you some problems.” Blackshire and the SAU offense will be matched up against an Arkansas Tech defense that ranks No. 3 in the GAC in total yards allowed (302.0 per game). Tech has held its last two GAC opponents to less than 200 yards of total offense. “Defensively, we’ve shown some toughness,” said Monica. “We showed some toughness offensively last week running the football when we needed to. But each and every week is different. You have different match-ups. How will we respond this week? We’ll be able to find out Saturday night.”]]>