BETHANY – Oklahoma Baptist closed out the 2017 season with a 34-28 win over Southern Nazarene, sending off its seniors with wins in the season finale two weeks after getting them a win in the last home contest.
"I'm so proud of our players. What a great team effort. We had a job to do and they did it for their brothers," said OBU Coach Chris Jensen. "I'm so proud of the seniors, what they've done and what they've been through. They get to go out winners."
Freshman Preston Haire broke the season passing record during the third quarter and finished the year with 2380 yards.
OBU got a huge life from the kicking game as well with Luke Wendl converting two field goals and all four extra points. Wendl's 47-yard field goal in the third quarter is the longest since the school restarted the football program. The school record is 51.
The Bison got on the scoreboard first, moving 53 yards on seven plays. Frankie Edwards had a 24-yard run and Haire passed to Stephan Turner for 12 yards and Emmanuel Adesokan for 10. That set up a three-yard touchdown run by Haire for a 7-0 lead with 8:01 showing on the first quarter clock.
SNU answered on its ensuing drive and the score was tied at 7-7 heading into the second quarter.
OBU stopped the Crimson Storm on fourth down at the OBU 34 with Albert Monge getting consecutive tackles for a loss of two yards and no gain.
The offense seized that momentum and went 66 yards on six plays. Haire had completions to Alex Lewis for gains of 24 and 19 yards and rushed for 10 yards. Haire then found Cagney Roberson from 13 yards out for a 14-7 lead with 9:38 remaining in the half.
Edwards had a 20-yard run in OBU's final drive of the half to help set up a 35-yard field goal by Wendl to make it 17-7 with 44 seconds before intermission.
OBU's defense forced a punt on SNU's first possession of the second half and after a 27-yard pass from Haire to Roberson, Wendl launched his 47-yard field goal to make it 20-7 with 11:44 remaining in the third quarter.
SNU counterpunched with a touchdown to make it 20-14 but the Bison didn't back down, getting a touchdown of their own on the next march.
Haire ran for 21 yards and passed to Roberson for 27 and a touchdown with Roberson going high for the catch and a 27-14 lead with 7:04 left in the third period.
SNU turned an interception into a quick offensive touchdown and OBU had a 27-21 lead after three quarters.
The Bison got its first drive of the fourth quarter after Lane Martin made a diving interception to thwart a SNU march.
OBU went up 34-21 when Haire pulled the ball back from Edwards and scored from four yards out, capping a 60-yard drive that also included a 26 yard pass from Haire to Lewis, a 12-yard pass to Jaelen Barlow and barreling 14-yard run by Darrian Moss.
Southern Nazarene answered the bell with 4:26 to go.
The Bison ran out the clock from there but not without drama. OBU went for it on fourth and one from its own 34. Haire's pass was tipped up in the air and into the hands of Roberson, who scrambled on for a 31-yard gain. Moss had a 29-yard run and OBU opted to not run a play from the one, letting the clock expire.
Haire for the game was 15 of 23 for 258 yards passing and another 36 rushing, accounting for four scores. Roberson had his second 100-yard receiving day of the season, getting 123 yards on five receptions. Lewis had 69 yards on three catches.
Moss rushed for 73 yards on 21 carries with Edwards adding 69 on a dozen runs.
Matthew Tigert and Myles Russell had eight tackles each and Dante Foster had two of OBU's five tackles for loss.
Leaving the field for the last time as winners were seniors Barlow, Emmanuel Cole, Edwards, Foster, Chris Hosanna, JT Ketch, Lewis, Zach Mederios, Gage Meisinger, Monge, Daniel Moniz, Dennis Nguyen, Nathan Sosa, Pierce Spead, Dezmond Stegall, Trey Tully and Stephan Turner.
The win continues an odd trend for the Bison, who, for three consecutive seasons, have gone 2-9 with one road and one home win and no win over the same two opponents.