By Brian Ramsey
OBU Sports Information
ARKADELPHIA — The 12th-ranked Ouachita Baptist University football team is back in action this Saturday on the road against Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Weatherford, Oklahoma. There will be live radio coverage through the Ouachita Football Network, as well as live video and live statistics provided by SWOSU. All links can be found at OBUtigers.com/coverage.
#12/12 OUACHITA TIGERS
Record: 4-1 (1-1 GAC)
National Rank: 19/17 (AFCA/D2FB)
Head Coach: Todd Knight
Knight Career: 155-129-2 (28th season)
Knight at OBU: 127-97 (22nd season)
Picked No. 1 in preseason GAC poll
Record: 0-5 (0-5 GAC)
National Rank: Not ranked
Head Coach: Chet Pobolish
Pobolish Career: 6-21 (3rd season)
Pobolish at SWOSU: Same
Picked No. 10 in preseason GAC poll
8TH ANNUAL PAUL SHARP CUP
Ouachita plays the second of three trophy games of the 2021 regular season this Saturday on the road against Southwestern Oklahoma State. The Ouachita-SWOSU game was dubbed the Paul Sharp Cup in 2013, honoring the late coach who led the Bulldogs to the NAIA national championship in 1996. Sharp, brother of current Ouachita Athletic Director David Sharp, played football and graduated from Ouachita, and was as an assistant coach for the Tigers from 1974-78. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Central Arkansas and Lamar, and served the bulk of his coaching career as the head coach at SWOSU from 1986-2004. He passed away in 2012. Since the inception of the trophy game, the Tigers are 6-1 against the Bulldogs with the only loss coming in Weatherford in 2015 by a final score of 58-38.
SWOSU enters Saturday’s game with an 0-5 record, but that number could easily be 3-2 with a point differential of 15 combined points in the past three contests. The Bulldogs are coming off an 18-16 loss on the road to Arkansas-Monticello this past Saturday. SWOSU had four of its 16 points via a pair of safeties with wet and sloppy field conditions in Monticello. Prior to the loss to UAM, SWOSU lost at home to Oklahoma Baptist (31-27) and on the road to Southeastern Oklahoma State (37-28). SWOSU’s first two losses were decisive victories for Henderson State (31-13) and Southern Arkansas (42-27). SWOSU quarterback Tanner Griffin leads the GAC and ranks 15th in the nation in passing yards at 295 yards per game. Defensively, Orlando Brown is the top Bulldog tackler with 8.4 per game, ranking third in the GAC.
THE LAST TIME VS. SWOSU
September 28, 2019 // Ouachita 26, @ SWOSU 21 // The then-ranked No. 6 Tigers needed a fourth-quarter comeback to stay unbeaten and move to 4-0 on the season. Ouachita trailed 21-20 with 11:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. Brayden Brazeal led the Tigers on a 10-play, 71-yard drive, capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass to Justin Dean for the go-ahead and final score of the game.
17th MEETING WITH THE BULLDOGS
Ouachita leads the all-time series against SWOSU 12-4. The Tigers have won four in a row, and are 8-1 against SWOSU since the formation of the Great American Conference. Ouachita and SWOSU’s meetings in 1997-99 were as members of the Lone Star Conference together from 1997-99.
1988: Ouachita 17, SWOSU 6
1989: Ouachita 13, SWOSU 0
1990: SWOSU 25, Ouachita 21
1991: Ouachita 21, SWOSU 10
1997: @SWOSU 12, Ouachita 6
1998: @Ouachita 34, SWOSU 17
1999: @SWOSU 14, Ouachita 3
2011: Ouachita 48, @SWOSU 38
2012: @Ouachita 33, SWOSU 12
2013: Ouachita 31, @SWOSU 14
2014: @Ouachita 54, SWOSU 21
2015: @SWOSU 58, Ouachita 38
2016: @Ouachita 48, SWOSU 28
2017: Ouachita 38, @SWOSU 10
2018: @Ouachita 41, SWOSU 8
2019: Ouachita 26, @SWOSU 21
TIGERS DOMINANT IN HOMECOMING VICTORY
Ouachita responded from its loss to Harding with a dominating victory last Saturday in a 64-17 win over Southern Nazarene in front of alumni and friends for Homecoming. Ouachita averaged nearly 10 yards per offensive play with 53 plays for 516 yards, 442 of those coming on the ground. It was the second-highest rushing total in a game for the Tigers in the past 10 years, and possibly longer. Ouachita had 454 rushing yards against Oklahoma Baptist in 2018. Leading the way for the Tigers in the win over NWOSU were backup running backs. Freshman Xaylon Falls had seven total touches in the game, three of which resulting in touchdowns – a 93-yard kickoff return for a score, and two rushing touchdowns, including one for 71 yards. Fourth string running back Isaac Edwards had 21 carries for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and for those numbers, was named the GAC Offensive Player of the Week.
TIGERS BACK IN THE TOP 15
With a dominating performance on Homecoming, the Tigers jumped up several spots into the top 15 in both of the major NCAA Division II national rankings. The Tigers moved up spots to No. 12 in this week’s American Football Coaches Association Top 25 Poll, and moving up five spots also to No. 12 in the D2Football.com Top 25. Recently, Ouachita has been ranked as high as No. 4 in one of the national polls. That ranking came at the end of an undefeated regular season in 2019.
OUACHITA KEY TEAM STAT RANKINGS
- 2nd in NCAA, 2nd in GAC in rushing offense (286.6 yards per game)
- 3rd in NCAA, 1st in GAC in net punting (41.67 yard average)
- 6th in NCAA, 1st in GAC in punt returns (20 yard average)
- 7th in NCAA, 1st in GAC in sacks allowed (0.6 per game)
- 8th in NCAA, 1st in GAC in kickoff returns (29.5 yard average)
- 9th in NCAA, 1st in GAC in turnovers lost (3 total)
- 13th in NCAA, 2nd in GAC in scoring (40.4 points per game)
OUACHITA KEY INDIVIDUAL STAT RANKINGS
- Xaylon Falls – one of two players in NCAA D2 with 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns
- Xaylon Falls – 3rd in NCAA, 1st in GAC in kickoff returns (38.6 yard average)
- Connor Flannigan – 4th in NCAA, 1st in GAC in punt returns (20 yard average)
- Kendel Givens – 1st in NCAA in rushing TDs (12), total TDs (12), & points scored (72)
- TJ Cole – 19th in NCAA, 1st in GAC in rush yards per carry (6.44)
- TJ Cole – 7th in NCAA in total rushing yards (586), 11th in rush yards per game (117.2)
- Joe Couch – Doesn’t meet NCAA minimums in punts per game to be ranked. If he did, Couch would be ranked 1st in NCAA in yards per punt (47.53)