Bison fall at Arkansas Tech, 38-35

Oklahoma Baptist Athletics
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas Tech rallied from a 21-10 deficit and used a late touchdown drive to slip by Oklahoma Baptist 38-35 on Saturday in Great American Conference play at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field.

Within the first three drives, the Bison (3-3 overall, 3-3 in GAC) scored twice. Their first touchdown came after Arkansas Tech muffed a punt at their own 23-yard line. On the ensuing play, Preston Haire found Josh Cornell across the middle for the game's first score.

Following a stop by the Bison defense, OBU scored again. This time, the squad went on a 10-play, 73-yard drive. During the drive, Haire hit Keilahn Harris on a third-and-eight for a 24-yard pass play. Four snaps later, Rueben Thompson scampered in from 12 yards to help bolster the Bison's lead to 14-0.

After that drive, the Oklahoma Baptist offense was slowed down by the Wonder Boys, who gave up just 156 yards over the next seven drives. OBU's only touchdown in those possessions came on a one-handed Julian Clarke scoring grab at the 9:36 mark of the second.

ATU scored three touchdowns over the next quarter and a half as quarterback Jack Lindsey was responsible for all three scores. This run helped the hosts attain a 31-21 advantage with 12:44 left.

Despite getting out of sync, the Bison offense kept fighting and came back to retake the lead.

Following a touchback on an ATU punt, the Bison hit an 80-yard drive in just 2:05. There were two huge pass plays on the drive, a 26-yarder to Harris and 29-yard grab for Cornell. Two plays after that catch, Haire and Cornell linked up again in the left corner for a score.

Only down three now, the Bison defense got the ball right back to its offense. A pass left from Lindsey was read perfectly by safety Will Kohman who snagged the ball and returned it to the Arkansas Tech 20. Four plays later, Thompson scored again, pushing the Bison in front 35-31.

That lead wasn't to be held, though, as the hosts came right back. A six-play, 59-yard drive which included a long 39-yard pass to Joyrion Chase down the ATU sideline, helped the Wonder Boys go back in front. They scored with 42 seconds left on a Jordan Edington two-yard TD rush.

OBU had one more chance and got to the Wonder Boys' 38-yard line. However, some ATU pass pressure forced Haire out of the pocket and eventually forced the quarterback to pitch an incompletion.

Haire passed his way into history, becoming the first Bison to pass for over 10,000 yards in his career and just the third in the GAC history. Haire now has 10,224 passing yards in his career after recording 305 yards against ATU. The quarterback pitched three touchdowns, including two to Cornell. Cornell caught eight passes for 101 yards and two scores, tallying his second 100-plus yard game of the season. Harris recorded his fourth 100-plus yard game this year as he reeled in six balls for 126 yards.

Clarke, a sophomore, grabbed the first touchdown reception of his young Bison career to go along with four catches and 39 yards.

Thompson led the Bison backfield with two scores, while Tyler Stuever was held at bay as Tech limited the junior to his second-lowest rushing total of the season at 52 yards.

Defensively, Nick Boone paced OBU and racked up 11 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, and 1.5 sacks. Josh Arnold followed up with nine tackles, 1.0 TFL, and a sack while Kohman caught his first career interception. Kohman added seven tackles and 0.5 TFL.

Oklahoma Baptist will look to rebound as the Bison travel to Ada to take on the East Central Tigers (4-2, 4-2 GAC) Saturday, at 2 p.m.