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Wonder Boys Visit SWOSU Saturday Night

Image of Arkansas Tech will try for its first 2-0 start to a football season since 2009. If the Wonder Boys are to achieve that goal, they will have to snap SWOSU’s two-game winning streak in home openers. Southwestern Oklahoma State suffered a 42-6 loss at Harding University in its first game of the 2014 season. The Bulldogs committed four turnovers and allowed three quarterback sacks in the loss. The loss at Harding marked the first career start for SWOSU sophomore quarterback Ryley Claborn, who succeeds four-year starter Dustin Stenta as the signal caller for the Bulldogs. Stenta tied a school record with four touchdown passes against Arkansas Tech in a 28-17 SWOSU victory at Russellville in 2013. “When you have a guy that you are so accustomed to having in that position for so many snaps and then you try to break in a new quarterback…you just can’t replace game experience,” said Monica. “But I’m sure their quarterback will be ready to play, and just like us they will be much improved from the first game to the second. (SWOSU) has very good running backs, and I’ve always been impressed with their offensive line.” Arkansas Tech got a big lift from special teams in week one. The Wonder Boys lead the GAC in kickoff return average (45 yards per return), freshman Michael Perry ranks second in the conference in punt return average (10.5 yards per return), sophomore place kicker Randy Velazquez was 3-for-3 on point after touchdown kicks and 2-for-2 on field goals and freshman punter Clayton Watson averaged 38.6 yards per punt while having two punts down inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Add in two touchdown passes by junior quarterback Dennis Robertson, 144 receiving yards by junior wide receiver Jermaine Merdock, a combined 112 rushing yards from tailbacks Kelton Smith and Braden Stringer, 12 tackles from junior linebacker Logan Genz and two interceptions by senior linebacker Wesley McKinney, and the second-year Arkansas Tech head coach had a lot to be pleased with following the season-opening win over NWOSU. “If you can run the football it helps you in a lot of different areas, and if you’re good on defense you’ll always have a chance to win the football game,” said Monica. Arkansas Tech will return home to Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville on Saturday, Sept. 20, to host Southern Nazarene University for a 6 p.m. GAC contest. Tickets will be available at the gate. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted for free.]]>