ARKADELPHIA – The 11th-ranked Ouachita Baptist University football team travels for the first time of the 2021 season this weekend to face off against Southern Nazarene.
Kickoff is 1 p.m. this Saturday, September 11 at the SNU Football Stadium in Bethany, Oklahoma. The game can be heard on the Ouachita Radio Network. SNU will provide live video coverage and live stats. All coverage links can be found at OBUtigers.com/coverage.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON STORM
Southern Nazarene opened the season on September 2 on the road with a 30-23 loss to Arkansas-Monticello. SNU was down 30-7 at halftime, but stormed back to shut out the Weevils in the second half, while adding eight points in each of the third and fourth quarters, respectively. SNU was one of the few GAC schools to play exhibition games this past spring after missing the fall season. The Crimson Storm lost all four of those spring games to UT-Permian Basin (33-14), East Central (35-28), Missouri Southern (21-20), and Central Oklahoma (30-26). During the 2019 season, SNU posted a 2-9 record to finish in 11th place in the GAC. The Storm is under the leadership of a new head coach in Dustin Hada in his first season. However, Hada is no stranger to the GAC, having served as an assistant coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southwestern Oklahoma State as a part of his 20-year coaching career.
HISTORY VS. SNU
This is the eighth all-time meeting between Ouachita and SNU in football. The Tigers are undefeated against the Crimson Storm at 7-0. Bethany, Oklahoma has proven to be a tough win for the Tigers recently. In the past four matchups, Ouachita has outscored SNU 82-14 at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia, but only 48-27 in games played at the SNU Football Stadium.
2013: Ouachita 49, @ SNU 24
2014: @Ouachita 28, SNU 7
2015: Ouachita 58, @ SNU 7
2016: @ Ouachita 41, SNU 14
2017: Ouachita 21, @ SNU 14
2018: @ Ouachita 41, SNU 0
2019: Ouachita 27, @ SNU 13
OUACHITA WINS THE BATTLE OF THE BAPTISTS
Ouachita opened the 2021 season at home on September 2 with a 38-31 win over Oklahoma Baptist. The Tigers set the pace with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Xaylon Falls on the game’s first play. OKB used a 16-point second quarter to make it a one-point game at halftime, 17-16 in favor of the Tigers. The Bison took their first lead of the game on the opening drive of the second half on a field goal, and held a 23-17 for all but the last 33 seconds of the third quarter when Ouachita’s Kendal Givens rushed into the endzone to give the Tigers a 24-23 lead. The Bison answered on the first drive of the fourth quarter to regain the lead, but the Tigers closed out the game with rushing touchdowns from TJ Cole and Givens for the final seven-point margin. The only interception of the game came with the Bison driving with under a minute remaining. Ouachita’s Andrew Hayes stepped in front OKB quarterback Preston Haire’s pass to seal the victory with 39 seconds on the clock.
FALLS NAMED SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ouachita freshman Xaylon Falls started the 2021 season with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the first play of the season-opening win over Oklahoma Baptist. It was the longest kickoff return for the Tigers since Ke’Vontae Pope’s 97-yard touchdown against East Central in 2017, also on the first play of the season-opener. Falls, a native of Camden, later had a 37-yard kickoff return in the win over OKB. He was named the Great American Conference’s first special teams player of the week for the 2021 season.
TIGERS RANKED NO. 11
Following the season-opening win over Oklahoma Baptist, Ouachita is now ranked No. 11 in both of the NCAA Division II national polls. The Tigers moved up two spots in this week’s D2Football.com Top 25 and remained at No. 11 in this week’s American Football Coaches Association Top 25. Also ranked this week from the GAC is Harding at No. 12 (D2) and No. 17 (AFCA). Henderson State is receiving votes in the AFCA poll.
Following a one-year break due to the pandemic, Ouachita returned to gridiron last on September 2 with a 38-31 win over Oklahoma Baptist, and in doing so, extended a pair of winning streaks. The Tigers have now won 28 consecutive conference games dating back to 2017. With the win over ther other OBU, the Tigers have also now won 13 consecutive season openers.
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