SHAWNEE - After two straight wins to get back to .500 on the season, the Oklahoma Baptist football team will play their third road contest in the last four games as they travel to Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field to battle the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys. The game will be featured on OBUBison.com with the trio of Todd Miller, John Brooks, and Scott Wanish.
OBU is coming off another picture perfect night under the home lights as they picked up a thrilling 50-41 win over East Central thanks to a huge effort on the offensive side of the ball. The win moves the Bison to 2-2 on the year.
For the first time in the NCAA Division II era, the Bison went over 600 yards as they finished with a total of 601. It is the most yards in a single game since the Bison went for 655 yards against Texas College back in 2014 when they were a member of the NAIA. OBU threw for 312 yards and added 289 yards on the ground while averaging an impressive 9.1 yards per play.
HAIRE NAMED POTW
Preston Haire continued to show why he is one of the premier quarterbacks, not only in the GAC, but it all of NCAA Division II. Haire went 21 of 31 in the contest for 312 yards and three scores while adding 62 yards on the ground on six carries as well as a score to ice the game with 24 seconds to play. He was named GAC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Surprisingly for the junior gunslinger, it was only the second time he has earned the honor, taking the award last season after a five touchdown performance against Southern Arkansas.
HAIRE'S NATIONAL NUMBERS
Haire's numbers cannot be ignored in the national spotlight through four games. He is currently 4th in the country in completions per game (26.0), 5th in total offense (335.8), 8th in points responsible for (80), 10th in touchdown passes (11), and 15th in total passing yards (1,106).
COMING TO LIFE
Going into Saturday's contest against East Central, Oklahoma Baptist had struggled to run the ball, going for 419 total yards rushing with 175 of those yards primarily coming on Preston Haire scrambles. Isaiah Mallory and Tyler Stuever had combined to rush for 172 yards and were averaging less than three yards per carry.
That all changes on Saturday as OBU erupted for a season-high 289 yards on the ground. Mallory led the charge with 169 yards on 18 carries which including a 75-yard touchdown. It was his best rushing performance since going for 170 on 22 carries against Arkansas Tech in 2017. It ties the second longest run of his career behind an 86 yard touchdown run against East Central on September 24, 2016.
Not to be out done, Stuever also got rolling on Saturday as he finished with 58 yards on 11 carries and a pair of touchdowns, the second time he has scored two touchdowns in a game. Stuever already has five touchdowns scores on the season, only one off his total a season ago.
Josh Cornell continues to be one of the top playmakers for the electric OBU offense in 2019. Cornell hauled in two more touchdown passes on Saturday night as he finished with eight catches for 89 yards. Cornell is currently 7th in the country in receptions per game (8.3), 10th in the country in touchdown receptions (5), and 14th in receiving yards (408).
The OBU receiving core continues to impress as a whole as they have helped Haire to his 11 touchdown passes through four games. Noah McGraw currently sits at 979 career receiving yards and can surpass 1,000 in his career with 21 more yards in Saturday's contest.
Though the OBU defense has had its struggles this season, it came through with a big turnover on Saturday night as Ke'Landus Culton pulled down an interception in the third quarter against East Central, helping the Bison push a two score lead at the time.
OBU has already matched their interception total from a season ago as it was their fourth thus far, all by a different Bison defender. The Bison will hope to get some relief in the secondary as Landon Rowlett returned to the lineup on Saturday. Rowlett led the Bison with three interceptions last season.
IN GOOD HANDS
It's no secret how much OBU can air it out and yet the Bison offensive line continues to keep their quarterback upright as they have only allowed one sack in four games and four total sacks in two seasons. They are currently third in the country in sacks allowed this season.
THE STREAK CONTINUES, BUT THE ARKANSAS BLUES
OBU has now won eight straight contests over Oklahoma schools with the win over East Central.OBU last loss to the Oklahoma school came on November 4, 2017 in a 31-24 loss to Northwestern. Additionally, OBU is looking for a monumental road win on Saturday as they look to secure their first ever road win in Arkansas. The Bison will look to break through and end an 18 game losing streak to Arkansas schools.
LAST TIME OUT
Senior Isaiah Mallory rushed for 169 yards on 18 carries while junior Preston Haire threw for 312 yards, rushed for 62, and had four total touchdowns as the Oklahoma Baptist football team earned a thrilling 50-41 win over East Central on Saturday night under the lights at Crain Family Stadium at the Hurt Complex.
Oklahoma Baptist took an early 7-0 deficit, but flipped that quickly into a pair of touchdowns to lead 14-7. After ECU tied it up, Isaiah Mallory took a 75-yard run to the house to make it 21-14, but the Tigers answered before half to even the score. OBU scored on the first play of the second half followed by a turnover from the OBU defense that pushed the lead to 35-21. The two teams went back-and-forth before a fourth quarter stop led ECU to a score. The Tigers went for two and failed and OBU closed the game out with a late score and two point conversion to end the contest and take the win.
For a team that was severely struggling to establish a running game so far in 2019, OBU found its footing on Saturday night as they rushed for 289 yards as a team and racked a season-high 601 yards on the evening averaging 9.1 yards per play. East Central had a good night on the offensive side as well, going for 469 yards of total offense including 277 on the ground.
It was the eighth consecutive win for Oklahoma Baptist over a GAC in-state team dating back to 2017.
OBU was an impressive 9 of 12 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down while the Tigers dominated time of possession as they held the ball for 35:01. ECU was 7 of 15 on third down and a whopping 5 of 5 on fourth down.