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Excuse Harding football Coach Paul Simmons if he didn't feel entirely secure with his Bisons leading Southern Nazarene by four touchdowns late in the third quarter of Saturday's Great American Conference game at SNU Stadium in Bethany, Okla.

Harding won easily 42-0, but the image of what happened to the Bisons one year ago -- when Southern Nazarene rallied with 14 points in the final 43 seconds to beat Harding 28-27 in Searcy -- was on Simmons' mind.

So, if anybody was offended the Bisons ran a fake punt up 28-0 early in the fourth quarter, Simmons said he was sorry.

"It's a four-score game," Simmons said. "No way that game is over. We didn't do it in the spirit of revenge. We did it trying to win the game."

Shedrick Robinson's 26-yard run on fourth and 3 from the Southern Nazarene 45 gave the Bisons (2-1) the ball at the Crimson Storm 19, and it set up Harding's fifth touchdown, a 15-yard run by Taylor Bissell with 12:19 to play in the game.

Harding outgained Southern Nazarene 367-51, with 356 of those yards coming on the ground.

But the Bisons had trouble handling the ball, fumbling six times but losing only one, during a game played in a heavy mist.

Harding scored on its first two possessions and led 14-0 with 13:26 to play in the first half, then went dormant the rest of the half. The Bisons finished with an 11-1 advantage in first downs and a 132-20 lead in total yards in the first half.

Harding got back on track on its opening possession of the second half. Tristan Tucker (10-118 rushing) took a pitch from quarterback Preston Paden on the third play from scrimmage, broke two tackles and raced 69 yards down the right sideline to give Harding a 21-0 lead with 13:44 left in the third quarter.

Southern Nazarene got its best chance to score midway through the third quarter when Harding returner V'Onte Williams muffed a punt to give Southern Nazarene possession at the Harding 21.

The Crimson Storm went nowhere, and Frank Herbert blocked a 31-yard field goal attempt. Chris Wein returned it to midfield, setting up Harding's fourth touchdown, a 31-yard run by Paden with 2:44 left in the third.

Ten of Southern Nazarene's 11 possessions went for 11 yards or less, including 5 drives for negative yardage. The Crimson Storm had only two drives of more than four plays.

"I thought we were efficient," Simmons said. "It wasn't perfect. There's some things we can do better."

Simmons said the Bisons' second-quarter struggles had nothing to do with overconfidence.

"We knew we had our hands full," Simmons said. "We know we've got to come to play each Saturday. It was a drizzly day, not a lot of energy. We kind of matched that energy."


Redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Burcham accounted for 3 touchdowns -- 2 passing and 1 rushing -- and defensive back DJ Williams intercepted 2 passes at Crain Family Stadium in Shawnee, Okla., as the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (1-2) beat Oklahoma Baptist (2-1).

Arkansas Tech Coach Raymond Monica was pleased with the victory, but what he really wanted to know afterward was how many penalties the Wonder Boys committed. Fourteen penalties for 119 yards in last week's 38-31 overtime loss to Henderson State was a sore point.

"We wanted to have a sense of urgency," Monica said, "but we wanted to be more disciplined."

When told the Wonder Boys committed 6 penalties for 51 yards, along with the defense creating 4 turnovers -- 3 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery -- Monica said he felt better.

"When you win a football game, it's always a lot easier to correct mistakes," Monica said.

Arkansas Tech built a 24-0 halftime and held a 31-0 advantage before the Bison scored their only touchdown with 2:23 to play in the game. Arkansas Tech outgained Oklahoma Baptist 423-334.

Burcham (11-of-22 passing, 145 yards, 2 TDs; 12-99 rushing, 1 TD) did most of his damage in the first half, throwing for 68 yards on Arkansas Tech's first scoring drive. That drive ended with Burcham's 18-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Smith to put the Wonder Boys up 7-0 with 9:15 to play in the first quarter.

Jesus Zizumbo's 31-yard field goal made it 10-0 Tech with 3:30 to go in the first quarter, capping a ground-pounding 11-play, 64-yard drive.

Tech got the ball back at Oklahoma Baptist's 21 after a fumble recovery, setting up a two-play, 21-yard drive, capped by Burcham's 21-yard run to make it 17-0.

Tech built its lead to 24-0 by halftime after Tanner Gaines' 4-yard run capped a 9-play, 67-yard drive.

Williams' first interception stopped an Oklahoma Baptist drive at the Arkansas Tech 7 in the second quarter, and his second interception early in the second half gave the Wonder Boys the ball at the Bison 4.

Burcham led Arkansas Tech with 99 yards rushing, but he had plenty of support from senior Bryan Allen (15-96 rushing).


Senior quarterback Barrett Renner passed for 362 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 237 yards and 2 touchdowns going to Karonce Higgins, and Southern Arkansas outscored Southwestern Oklahoma 29-0 over the final 25 minutes to beat the Bulldogs in Weatherford, Okla.

Southwestern Oklahoma St. (1-2) led 12-7 with 9:24 to go in the third quarter when SAU's Siranthony Perkins was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

SAU (3-0) dominated from that point, scoring on Keiandre Purifoy's 2-yard touchdown run with 3:22 to go in the third quarter to retake the lead at 13-12.

Renner then threw three touchdowns passes -- 39 yards to Dalton Wright (11 seconds to go in the third quarter); 29 yards to Higgins (8:02 to play); and 18 yards to Desmond Jones (2:57).

Higgins, a senior from Searcy, finished with 13 receptions for 213 yards to go with his 2 touchdowns.


Redshirt freshman quarterback Brayden Brazeal rushed for 136 yards and passed for 108 as the Ouachita Baptist Tigers rallied from deficits in the first and third quarters to beat the Southeastern Oklahoma St. Savage Storm in Durant, Okla.

Brazeal's 18-yard touchdown gave OBU (3-0) a 14-7 lead with 5:47 to play in the first half, but three field goals by Southeastern Oklahoma's Joel Carlos, the last coming from 33 yards, put the Storm up 16-14 with 46 seconds to play in the third quarter.

Ouachita Baptist outgained the Savage Storm 253-162 in the second half, and it rushed for 270 yards for the game.

Brazeal and Shun'cee Thomas combined for 250 of those yards. Brockton Brown rushed for 11 yards, but scored on runs of 3 yards and 1 yard, the second touchdown giving the Tigers a 28-16 lead with 4:39 to play in the game.

Cole Antley's 37-yard field goal with 3:12 to play provided the Tigers with their final score.


Former Arkansas Razorbacks running back Juan Day (North Little Rock) rushed for a 2-yard touchdown with 3:49 to play, but Arkansas-Monticello quarterback Cole Sears' two-point conversion pass attempt to DeAndre Washington fell incomplete, and East Central (1-2) held on for its first victory.

UAM (1-2), which trailed 20-0 with 8:05 to play in the first half, came back to take the lead 21-20 after a 13-yard touchdown pass from Sears to Washington with 2:52 to play in the third quarter.

East Central regained the lead a few minutes later when Jamil Young returned a Sears' interception 30 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Tigers led 26-21 with 12:05 to play.

Bobby Schmidt's 36-yard field goal put the Tigers up 29-21 with 7:39 to play.

Sears completed 18 of 35 passes for 343 yards and 2 touchdowns, both going to Washington (5-142 receiving). Sears also scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.

Day, seeing his first significant playing time, rushed for 87 yards.



Northwestern Oklahoma State scored two touchdowns in the final 8:33 at Rangers Field, rallying from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit to hand the Henderson State Reddies their first loss at an Oklahoma site since beginning play in the Great American Conference in 2011.

Isaiah Weed threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Myles Mitchusso to tie the game at 24-24 with 8:33 to play, and Jalen Williams scored on a 1-yard run with 2:25 to play to give Northwestern Oklahoma State (1-2) all the points it needed.

Weed's pass to Mitchusso capped a six-play, 98-yard drive after the Rangers held the Reddies (1-2) to a field goal to stay within seven points.

Northwestern Oklahoma State led 14-0 in the first quarter and 17-14 at halftime before the Reddies took the lead for the first time -- 21-17 -- on a 2-yard run by Logan Moragne with 7:13 to play in the third quarter.

Temo Martinez's 34-yard field goal put the Reddies up 24-17 late in the third quarter.

Sports on 09/16/2018


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