ARKADELPHIA -- Despite the Tigers playing a "sloppy game" Saturday evening at Cliff Harris Stadium, Ouachita Baptist managed to hold on to secure a 31-11 win over the Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers.
The Tigers (3-0) got things going early as sophomore quarterback Brayden Brazeal found Allie Freeman on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 10:52 left in the opening quarter with freshman kicker Gabe Goodman making it 7-0. OBU fumbled on the third play of their second drive, but the team went on to score two more touchdowns before halftime to carry a 21-0 lead into the break.
"It was pretty sloppy," OBU head coach Todd Knight. "We got the win. I'm pretty happy about that, but you usually can't win a football game when you turn it over. We turned it over a bunch, and we were sloppy with the ball."
The Tigers ended up with five fumbles on the night, losing three.
"We knew it coming in," Knight continued. "They've created more turnovers than anybody. Those guys do a great job on defense, flying around and hitting people. They do a good job causing turnovers. We didn't hang onto the football, and I'm really disappointed in that part of it.
"Saying all that -- we didn't play our best football -- we just won 31-11, so we're going to sleep. We're going to get up and come back and play next week, but it wasn't what we wanted. It could have been prettier."
The Rangers scored all of their points in the third quarter off of drives that began due to Tiger fumbles. With 8:04 left in the quarter, Torrence Stevens found Reuben Saint Jean on a 23-yard pass to get the team on the board followed by a successful conversion.
"Penalties, turnovers -- that's what kills your drives; that's what gets you beat," Brazeal said. "But we're not satisfied where we are. We did some good things still, overcame some of that. It's tough to overcome that. We did a good job of that at certain times tonight, but we've got to come back and get better if we want to continue having success down the road."
Brazeal went 20-for-22 passing for 179 yards and a touchdown and ran 31 yards, including once for a touchdown.
Five minutes later, kicker Nicholas Dill split the uprights from the 20 to cut the spread to 21-11 with 3:09 left in the period. Capping a five-play, 21-yard drive, Goodman made his fourth career field goal, a 40-yard shot to push the Tigers' lead out to 13.
T.J. Cole had 12 touches for 101 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown, Brockton Brown had 15 runs for 80 yards and a score, and Darius Hopkins, in his debut for the Tigers, had 10 carries for 57 yards and three receptions for 11.
Allie Freeman led the receivers corps with 11 catches for 94 yards and a score, and Hayden Waller had three receptions for 46 yards.
Knight was concerned about his defense allowing several long drives by the Rangers.
"Defensively, the thing that most concerns me is the 8-, 9-, 10-play drives," he said. "We didn't do that last week. Last week, after that onside kick, we come out there, get a fourth-down stop and go all out. This week, we just don't have that stinger. We've got to play a lot better than we did down the road for sure."
Austin Guymon led the defense with 12 tackles, six solo and six assisted, and C.J. Heckard and Keandre Evans had seven stops each. Linebacker Jon John had six stops and had a big field goal block that he returned 13 yards to set up a touchdown.
Johnson said that the key to a successful defense is recognizing and correcting those mistakes.
"When you're playing a good defense like us, you're going to go back into the locker room and make corrections like we did," he said. "They got the best of us on a couple plays. The main thing is to go back to the drawing board and see what we did wrong and just run to the ball every play and just make the plays when your number's called."
The Tigers are back on the road this week as they travel to Weatherford, Okla., to take on Southwestern Oklahoma State. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.Sports on 09/22/2019
Print Headline: Tigers overcome 'sloppy' play, rout Rangers