SHAWNEE - Saturday, the Oklahoma Baptist football team trailed 21-0 midway through the first half to the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys as it looked like it would be another tough road trip for the Bison in the Magnolia State.
However, OBU scored a pair of touchdowns late in the first half to cut the deficit to 11 and proceeded to score 30 consecutive points thanks to a huge night from quarterback Preston Haire as they snapped an 18-game losing streak to Arkansas schools in a 43-31 win at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field.
For OBU, it is a landmark win for the young program as it is their first win in the state of Arkansas since joining the ranks of NCAA DIvision II.
The Bison went for 452 total yards including 267 through the air while Tech finished with 384 yards on the day. OBU averaged an impressive 7.0 yards per game. Despite only 26:39 in time of possession, OBU was 8 of 15 on third downs on the night.
It was as bad as a start as you could imagine for the Bison as they could not get anything going throughout the first quarter with both drives ending in punts, one of those punts being blocked. Arkansas Tech turn their two drives into points to take a 14-0 lead.
OBU continued to move the ball to around midfield throughout the second quarter, but could not muster to keep a drive going. Arkansas Tech made it a 21-0 lead on a Deon Simmons run and things looked bleak for the Bison.
On the next drive, Haire connected with Joshua Cornell on a 37-yard completion to move into Tech territory. A few plays later on a third and long, Haire found Abel Wills who shook off a tackler and went 35 yards to paydirt to get OBU on the board and cut the deficit to 21-7.
Tech would take their next drive and move into Bison territory but the OBU defense would hold and force a field goal with 25 seconds to play in the half.
OBU got a strong 43-yard kick return from Keilahn Harris to try and set up a score before the break. It turned out OBU would get the turning point of the contest as Haire fired into the endzone as time expired and found Harris who skied and pulled down the pass from 29 yards out to make it a 24-13 game at the break.
OBU would forced a Tech three-and-out and the offense would go to work. Haire had completions of 20 and 11 yards to Cornell to move the chains and would cap the drive with a 30-yard score as Haire again connected with Cornell for the third time on the drive.
With the score at 24-20, the two sides exchanged a couple of possessions as the game moved into the fourth quarter.
The Bison started with the ball to begin the fourth and were looking for their first lead of the night. They finally broke through as Haire took an option read and raced 50 yards to the house to give OBU a 27-24 lead.
The OBU defense would force another three-and-out and a bad snap to the punter gave OBU the ball at the ATU 16. That would set up a 40-yard field goal to increase the lead to 30-24.
The Bison got another stop and this time the snap flew over the punters head and gave OBU great possession again at the ATU 13 yard line. A few play later, Tyler Stuever pounded it in and the OBU lead increased to 36-24 with under eight to play.
The Wonder Boys went on a long drive deep into OBU territory, but the Bison forced the turnover on downs to take over late in the contest. Haire struck again to put the game on ice as he found another opening and raced 84 yards for six.
Tech got a late touchdown that only effected the final score as OBU took home the 43-31 win.
Haire, the reigning GAC Offensive Player of the Week, made a case to win the award again as he went 20 of 37 for 267 yards and three scores while also adding five carries for 149 yards and two scores.
Cornell continues to show why he is a premier receiver in the GAC as he hauled in nine catches for 143 yards and a score while Harris caught two for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Mason Cunningham was 26 of 47 for 265 yards and two scores while Simmons rushed nine times for 46 yards and a pair of scores. Trey Smith caught six balls for 76 yards.
Defensively, Josh Arnold had a monster night with 17 tackles and a sack while Trajan Lands had 14 tackles and a tackle for loss. Myles Russell and Lane Martin each added seven tackles each.
For Tech, Darryn Cain led the way with five tackles, a tackle for loss, and an interception.
OBU moves to 3-2 overall and carries a three game winning streak back to their home field as they prepare for a huge match up against nationally ranked Harding.
The Battle of the Bison takes place next Saturday as No. 22 Harding comes to town. Kick-off is set for 1 pm.