SHAWNEE - After a historic win in Arkansas, the Oklahoma Baptist football team returns home as they welcome in No. 22 Harding on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. to Crain Family Stadium at the Hurt Complex. The game will be featured on OBUBison.com with the trio of Todd Miller, John Brooks, and Scott Wanish.
OBU is coming off their third consecutive victory as they score 36 unanswered points to erase a 21-0 deficit and defeat Arkansas Tech 43-31, their first win in the Magnolia State since restarting the football program in 2013. The win moved the Bison to 3-2 overall on the season.
Another week and another terrific outing by Preston Haire as he was 20 of 37 for 267 yards and three touchdowns as well as five rushes for 149 yards and two scores to earn GAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row. OBU was down 24-7 before the break before Haire through a hail mary that was answered to cut the deficit before the break. He then led OBU to a furious comeback which included 36 unanswered points to earn the win. Haire had a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth to take the lead before icing the game later in the fourth with an 84-yard touchdown run. It is the third time Haire has earned the weekly honors from the conference office and the first time the Bison have had a repeat winner in back-to-back weeks.
ARNOLD ADDS HARDWARE
The leader of the defense all season long, Josh Arnold took home GAC Defensive Player of the Week. Arnold had a monster night in earning GAC Defensive Player of the Week. Arnold finished with 17 tackles including a sack in the contest. After giving up 24 points in the first half, the OBU defense shut down the Tech offense and held them scoreless throughout the half. The Wonder Boys got one late and meaningless touchdown that only affected the scoreboard in the end.
It was an incredible win for OBU on the road as they moved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 on the road. It was also a historic win as the Bison got their first in the state of Arkansas since joining NCAA Division II in 2015. Additionally, OBU snapped an 18-game losing streak to Arkansas schools with the win over the Wonder Boys.
Though OBU has three wins thus far, they have not always made it easy on themselves in 2019. The Bison have trailed in every contest they have played in this season. Furthermore, the Bison have been notorious slow starters as their opponent has scored first in every contest this season. The Bison are being outscored 42-14 in the first quarter, but outscore their opponent 73-37 in the fourth quarter, which they have trailed going into in four of their five games this season. OBU trailed 21-0 to Henderson State (lost 35-28), 14-0 to Southern Arkansas (lost 30-28), 14-0 to Southeastern (won 34-31), 7-0 to East Central (won 50-41), and 21-0 to Arkansas Tech (won 43-31) in the first half.
Preston Haire is currently third in the nation in completions per game (24.80), fourth in the nation in total offense (351.8), fifth in points responsible for (110), sixth in passing touchdowns (14), 13th in passing yards (1,373), and 14th in passing yards per game (274.6).
Wide receiver Josh Cornell comes off another huge contest with a career-high 143 yards on nine catches and another touchdown. He is fourth in the country in receptions per game (8.4), fifth in receiving yards (551) and receiving yards per game (110.2), and 11th in touchdown catches (6).
The OBU offensive line continues to keep Haire upright as they are second in the country in sacks allowed (0.20). The offense has also done a great job taking care of the ball as they are sixth in the nation in turnovers lost (4).
After trailing 21-0 midway through the second quarter and eventually 24-7 going into the break, the OBU defense came through in the second half and put together a tremendous 30 minutes. The Bison shutout the Wonder Boys for most of the second half, holding Tech to 135 yards in the second half and helping OBU secure a come-from-behind victory. Tech got a late touchdown with under two minutes remaining and 119 of their 135 yards came in the final eight minutes with the game already decided.
YOU AND YOURS VS. ME AND MINE
It will be a classic match up of the top offense in the GAC against the top defense in the GAC on Saturday afternoon between the pair of Bison. Oklahoma Baptist is regarded as the best offense in the conference as it is tops in the GAC total offense (453.2) and scoring offense (36.6) while Harding is the best when it comes to defense, leading in total defense (196.8) and scoring defense (6.4) including two shutouts on the year.
TOUGH TEST AHEAD
For OBU it is a tough two weeks ahead as they will take on back-to-back nationally ranked foes beginning Harding, ranked 22nd by the AFCA polls. It'll be the Bison's third home game of the year and their first afternoon game with a 1 PM kick off. The Bison will follow this test with a date with No. 5 Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia next weekend.
LAST TIME OUT
OBU scored a pair of touchdowns late in the first half to cut A 21-0 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 over Arkansas Tech at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field.
Oklahoma Baptist found themselves in a 21-0 hole as it was as bad as a start as possible for the Bison. However, OBU found a way to get things rolling as they got a pair of late scores including a hail mary to end the half to make it 24-13. OBU went on to score 30 unanswered in the second half, finally pushing ahead early in the fourth en route to an 43-31 win over Tech in front a crowd of 5,000+ at Thone Stadium.
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.
Preston Haire went 20 of 37 for 267 yards and three scores while also adding five carries for 149 yards and two scores. Josh 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 Keilahn Harris caught two for 46 yards and a touchdown.
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.
SCOUTING THE BISONS
Last week, No. 22 Harding took a big first half lead and rolled to a 31-3 home win over Southern Nazarene.
Junior slot back Tristan Tucker rushed for 120 yards and two TD, and Harding's defense held its third opponent of the season without a TD.
Tucker did most of his damage in the first half, rushing for 112 yards and scoring from 14 yards out with 6:22 left in the first quarter and on a 20-yard run early in the second quarter. It was his first career two-TD game.
Junior quarterback Preston Paden accounted for two TD in the second quarter, running one in from 5 yards out and connecting on a 27-yard pass to Baylor Cohu with 5:16 left for his second TD pass of the season.
Harding's defense limited Southern Nazarene to only 150 total yards and had 12 tackles for loss, including three sacks. Junior defensive back Segun Olubi and junior linebacker Dylan Hendricks both had 2.0 tackles for loss, including a sack each. Senior defensive end Jordan Allison had a sack and a fumble recovery.
Last year, Harding had three players rush for 100 yards or more for only the second time in program history and defeated Oklahoma Baptist 56-7.
Tyler Stuever rushed 16 times for 96 yards while Preston Haire passed for 126 yards, completing 13 of 26 passes. Felipe Alvear and Josh Arnold led the Bison with eight tackles each with Hayden Ashley, Trajan Lands, Demarco Shoat and Quinton Thorp logging tackles for loss.
Harding rushed for a season-high 457 yards and seven TD. Slot back Tristan Tucker posted his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, carrying six times for 119 yards. Fullback Cole Chancey rushed for 118 yards on 11 carries and had TD runs of 5 and 25 yards. Paden rushed for exactly 100 yards on 13 carries and two TDs, his first career 100-yard game at the time.