ARKADELPHIA -- Oklahoma Baptist came into Saturday's game with No. 5 Ouachita Baptist University boasting an offense that ranked No. 1 in the Great American Conference in yards gained and points scored.
But the Bison's averages of 36.0 points and 437.2 yards per game were not sustainable at Cliff Harris Stadium. Not even close.
OBU beat Oklahoma Baptist 42-14, twice stopping the Bison after they gained first and goals in the first half. The Tigers also took care of business on the offensive side, scoring touchdowns on their first six possessions before taking a knee to run out the clock on their seventh.
"They've figured out the formula," Oklahoma Baptist coach Chris Jensen said. "They stiffen up in the red zone."
Oklahoma Baptist (3-4, 3-4 GAC) ran 71 plays to 59 for the Tigers, but the Bison didn't score until 2:03 remained in the third quarter to make it 35-7.
Oklahoma Baptist junior quarterback Preston Haire (21-of-41 passing, 258 yards) threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to leading receiver Joshua Cornell with 8:25 to play in the game to set the final score, but that was against some of the Tigers' second-team defenders.
"They're not really complicated," Jensen said of the Tigers. "They know where the goal line is, and they're going to stiffen up when you get closer to it. They protect their house, basically."
OBU (7-0, 7-0) outgained Oklahoma Baptist 415-373, with 348 yards coming on the ground.
OBU quarterback Brayden Brazeal (7-of-7 passing, 74 yards) came into the game ranked No. 1 in the GAC and Division II in completion percentage (77.8%), and he improved upon his mark.
Three running backs for the Tigers -- Brockton Brown (10-86), TJ Cole (7-80) and Shun'cee Thomas (17-77) -- scored two touchdowns as OBU built a 14-0 lead after one quarter and led 28-0 at halftime.
The score heading into the second would have been closer if Oklahoma Baptist had scored at the end of two second-quarter drives -- one that ended with Hayden Lassiter's end-zone interception of a Haire pass with 6:51 to play in the half, and another that ended with Haire being stopped at the OBU 4 on the final play of the first half.
Jensen said he did not see any benefit in accepting a field goal down 28-0.
"You've got to be able to score every opportunity against a team like this," he said. "And for us not being able to do that, that hurt."
Lassiter and senior cornerback Keandre Evans said not allowing points is the crux of the Tigers' game plan.
"That's what we live on," said Lassiter, a junior from Warren who has intercepted passes in each of his team's past three games. "There's a switchback there. When they're about ready to score, we feel we ought to step it up a little bit. I don't know why it is like that."
Evans, whose main responsibility in coverage was Cornell (7-143, 1), was credited with seven unassisted tackles and three pass breakups.
"I love a challenge," said Evans, who wasn't in the game when Cornell scored on his 78-yard reception. "When we get in the red zone, we lock on. We feel like we can win our one-on-ones against anybody in the conference."
Evans said defensive coordinator Roy Thompson sets up a game plan that permits the players to understand what they can and cannot give up.
"The only thing we give them is the short yards, and we knock 'em down right there," he said. "When we get into the red zone or near the goal line, we defend the end zone."
OBU's defense came into Saturday ranked 45th in Division II and fourth in the GAC in yards allowed per game (312.7), but ranked No. 7 in Division II in points allowed (12.7).
Evans said there is a perception the Tigers are willing to allow yards, which is fine with him.
"I feel like teams think that, but that's what we want them to think," he said. "They think they're going to drive down and score against us, but when they do, we're going to stop them."
OBU (7-0) plays on short rest Thursday night against Southern Nazarene (2-5) in Bethany, Okla., then gets 10 days off before finishing the GAC regular season with Southern Arkansas (6-1), Arkansas-Monticello (5-2) and Henderson State (6-1).
Jensen said he believes the Tigers are worthy of their national ranking, especially if they play the way they have the past two weeks.
"And if they keep building momentum, they could go a long way," Jensen said.
OBU coach Todd Knight said his team is starting to put all three facets of the game together.
"The intangible is it's a team game," Knight said. "The offense has got the defense's back, vice versa, and the special teams fits in nicely. Our guys really understand what we're trying to do. It's not about statistics, it's about trying to win a football game."
Ark. Tech 21, NWOSU 14
Arkansas Tech (1-6, 1-6 GAC) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to hold off Northwestern Oklahoma State (2-5, 2-5) and secure its first victory of the season at Thone Stadium in Russellville.
With the score tied 7-7 after three quarters, Arkansas Tech's Gio Williams returned a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Wonder Boys a 14-7 advantage.
Tanner Gaines ran 4 yards for the final Arkansas Tech score with 53 seconds left for a 21-7 lead.
The Rangers scored on a 25-yard pass from Trent Easley to Kentrez Bell with 12 seconds left to set the final margin.
Caleb Battie led Arkansas Tech with 68 yards rushing and had the team's first touchdown, a 2-yard dive with 6:25 left in the opening quarter.
Tre Chism led the Wonder Boys' defense with 8 tackles, including 5 1/2 for losses. The junior defensive tackle from Little Rock had three sacks, which tied Roland Dampeer for the second most in a game by an Arkansas Tech player.
The Rangers had 395 yards of offense to the Wonder Boys' 273. Arkansas Tech outrushed Northwestern Oklahoma State 178-81.
SAU 49, SEOSU 7
Southern Arkansas (6-1, 6-1 GAC) jumped out to a 28-0 halftime advantage and was never threatened by Southeastern Oklahoma State (1-6, 1-6) at Wilkins Stadium in Magnolia.
It was SAU Coach Bill Keopple's 63rd victory, as he became the all-time winningest coach in Muleriders' history.
The Muleriders held the Savage Storm to minus-3 yards rushing on 34 attempts and outgained the visitors 468-203 in total offense.
Quarterback Hayden Mallory led the SAU attack, completing 11 of 14 passes for 311 yards and 4 touchdowns. After the Muleriders went up 14-0 in the first quarter on Kor'Davion Washington (4 yards) and OB Jones touchdown (1 yard) runs, Mallory found SirCharles Perkins for a 63-yard score and Dekendrick Bender on a 7-yard strike to give SAU a 28-0 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, Mallory found Jared Lancaster for a 54-yard touchdown and Bender again from 20 yards as the Muleriders led 49-0 going into the fourth after Brock Floyd returned an interception 62 yards for a score.
The Muleriders overcame 11 penalties for 115 yards.
UAM 31, SNU 28
Devontae Dean ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns to lead Arkansas-Monticello (5-2, 5-2 GAC) over Southern Nazarene (2-5, 2-5) at Willis "Convoy" Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium in Monticello.
Trailing 20-7 at halftime, the Boll Weevils took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter on two of Dean's touchdown runs.
Demilon Brown ran 74 yards early in the fourth quarter to give UAM a 28-20 advantage before Josh Marini kicked a 35-yard field goal with 6:46 left in the game for the final Boll Weevils' final points.
Southern Nazarene scored on Nate Walker's 6-yard run and a two-point conversion with 3:29 remaining to set the final margin.
The Boll Weevils ran out the remainder of the clock behind the running of Dean and Brown.
Brown had 146 yards rushing on 12 attempts, and also completed 3 of 5 passes for 44 yards.
Harding 45, SWOSU 14
Harding (6-1, 6-1 GAC) rushed for 504 yards on 68 attempts (7.0 yards per carry) in its blowout victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State (2-5, 2-5) at First Security Stadium in Searcy.
The Bisons led 31-0 at halftime behind two Cole Chancey touchdown runs, a Tristan Tucker 37-yard rushing score and Grant Ennis' 42-yard field goal.
Harding capped its first-half scoring on Preston Paden's 26-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Bissell with 42 seconds left in the second quarter. The pass was Harding's lone completion.
Tucker led all rushers with 97 yards on 6 carries, while Chancey added 90 yards on 15 attempts.
Harding had 26 first downs to 13 for the Bulldogs, who scored both of their touchdowns in the fourth quarter after the Bisons had opened a 45-0 advantage.
Harding's defense combined for 8 tackles for loss, including 4 sacks. Chris Wein and Nate Wallace combined for 31/2 of the sacks.Sports on 10/21/2019
Print Headline: OBU bottles up highly ranked offense