ARKADELPHIA — No. 20 Henderson State looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season on Saturday when it travels to Russellville, Arkansas to take on Arkansas Tech at 2 p.m.
TOP STORYLINES: SETTING THE SCENE
– After starting 6-0 for the first time since 2014, the Reddies took their first loss of the season last weekend at home against No. 20 Harding. Despite the loss, HSU remains in a tie for first place in the GAC standings with just four regular season games remaining and controls its own destiny in the search for a share of the conference title.
– Saturday is the 93rd meeting all-time between the two schools and Tech leads the series 45-43-4. The Reddies have dominated the old AIC rivalry since Scott Maxfield‘s arrival in 2005 and are 9-2 in the last 11 matchups with ATU. The Wonder Boys have not beaten Henderson in Russellville since 2006 when they claimed a 7-6 victory.
REDDIES REPORT: OFFENSE
– Henderson is on top of the Great American Conference, and ranks fifth nationally, in scoring offense with an average of 43.9 points per game. The Reddies have scored 55 or more points four times this season and have racked up a league-leading 41 touchdowns in seven games.
– The Reddies have been incredibly balanced on offense and rank Top-3 in the conference in both passing and rushing offense. HSU is No. 2 in the GAC in passing yards per game (282.4) and third in the league in rushing yards per game (201). Henderson has recorded 21 scores through the air and 19 on the ground this fall.
– Adam Morse has been steady under center for the Reddies this year and is the most efficient passer in the GAC (168.8). Morse is second in the GAC in passing yards (1977) and touchdowns (21), but leads all conference quarterbacks in completion percentage (67.7%).
– L’liott Curry has continued to be a force for HSU at receiver and is second in all of NCAA DII in receiving yards this fall (834). Curry is on top of the league in yards and touchdowns (10), and is second in receptions (57). He has four 100-plus yard receiving games this season and has scored 24 touchdowns in 19 games at Henderson.
– The backfield has been a running back by committee approach for the Reddies through seven games. HSU has no one with over 400 yards rushing for the year, but boasts five players with over 150 yards on the ground and three with over 200 yards. Duce Sproles and Kris Morris have combined for 670 yards and seven touchdowns, while true freshman Fredrick O’Donald has emerged with 214 yards on just 32 carries (6.7 yards per attempt).
– Henderson has the top red zone offense in the GAC and one of the best red zone offenses in the country. HSU is 37-for-39 (94.9%) in red zone scoring opportunities, which ranks No. 7 nationally. The Reddies’ 37 red zone scores is No. 1 in all of NCAA DII.
– The HSU offensive line has been a key to the success on the offensive side of the ball. The Reddies have allowed just seven sacks on 220 pass attempts, which is the fewest in the conference behind the rushing offenses of Harding and Ouachita Baptist. Henderson is also third in the league in yards per rush (5.0).
– The Reddie offense has been able to possess the ball well and ranks third in the league in time of possession and average time of possession (31:34).
REDDIES REPORT: DEFENSE
– Henderson enters Saturday’s contest fourth in the conference in scoring defense (25.9 points per game) and seventh in total defense (383.7 yards per game). HSU is sixth in rush defense (181.7 yards per game) and eighth in pass defense (202 yards per game).
– The Reddies lead NCAA DII in interceptions (14) despite not recording one for the first time all season in the loss to Harding. The next-closest GAC team has eight this year. Dedric O’Bryant leads the league with four interceptions, which is as many or more than three teams in the conference, including Arkansas Tech (3).
– As a team, HSU has 30 tackles for loss this fall, which includes 15 sacks. Edge rusher Jayden Ford leads Henderson with eight tackles for loss, five sacks and four quarterback hurries. Nose guard Peyton Usher-Pearson has 4.5 tackles for loss and two hurries.
– Linebacker Jacob Greenfield is the Reddies’ top tackler in 2021 with 45 total and 26 solo stops. Greenfield has recorded six or more tackles in five of Henderson’s seven games and had a season-high eight against Harding.
– Safety Patrick Jones had 12 tackles on Saturday against the Bisons, which was a season-high for any Reddie defender. Jones also forced a fumble and now has 35 tackles.
– HSU had surrendered just seven rushing touchdowns in six games prior to facing Harding, but allowed five to the Bisons last weekend. HU and its triple option attack ran for more yards (438) than Henderson’s previous three opponents had combined (421).
– In seven contests this season, the Reddies have held their opponent to 24 points or fewer five times. In its previous three road games, HSU is allowing just 18.3 points per game.
SCOUTING ARKANSAS TECH
– Arkansas Tech enters its Homecoming contest on Saturday with a 2-5 record this season. The Wonder Boys started 0-4 but have rebounded to win two of their last three contests, including a signature 35-31 victory over Oklahoma Baptist two weeks ago.
– The Wonder Boys are seventh in the GAC in scoring offense (25.7 points per game) and ninth in the conference in scoring defense (32.3 points per game allowed). ATU is 11th in total offense (341 yards per game) and ninth in total defense (397.7 yards per game allowed).
– Running back Caleb Batie has been a work horse for the Tech offense and leads the Wonder Boys with 467 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Batie is one of just five players in the GAC that has carried the ball 130 or more times (134). He rushed 31 times for 98 yards against Southern Arkansas last week.
– Tech’s starting quarterback is Arkansas transfer Jack Lindsey, who has thrown for 1234 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games. Lindsey is completing just under 59% of his passes and has also rushed for 272 yards and two scores.
– Joyrion Chase has been Arkansas Tech’s top target at receiver and has pulled in 28 passes for 350 yards and two scores. Chase had a season-best 101 receiving yards in the win over Oklahoma Baptist.
– Defensive back Tyrus Fort is the Wonder Boys’ leading tackler this season with 42 tackles and two for loss. Linebacker Gio Williams has a team-high 4.5 tackles for loss and defensive back Trayvon Jones has eight pass breakups this year.
– Arkansas Tech had three-straight winning seasons from 2015-17, but is just 8-21 overall since 2018. Tech has not beaten a GAC opponent from the state of Arkansas since Sept. 9, 2017 when they defeated Henderson State 26-3 in Arkadelphia.
THE COACHING MATCHUP
– Henderson State is led by head coach Scott Maxfield, who is 114-58 in his 17 years and 16 seasons at the school. Maxfield is five wins away from tying HSU legend Sporty Carpenter for the most wins in program history (119). In his career with the Reddies, Maxfield is 9-5 against Arkansas Tech and 7-1 since the inception of the GAC in 2011.
– Arkansas Tech’s head coach is Kyle Shipp, who is in his third year and season season in Russellville. Shipp is 5-13 with the Wonder Boys and finished 3-8 back in 2019. Shipp played wide receiver at ATU from 2003-05 and was a part of Tech’s 2004 NCAA DII Playoff team. Prior to becoming the head coach in Russellville, Shipp was a graduate assistant under Hugh Freeze at Arkansas State and was the offensive coordinator at UAM from 2014-18.
THE LAST MEETING
– Henderson State used a balanced night on offense and a terrific second half by its defense to outlast Arkansas Tech 27-21 at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field.
– HSU held Tech to 260 yards of total offense, including just 95 yards in the second half and -2 yards in the fourth quarter. The Reddies ran for 205 yards, passed for 247 and out-gained Arkansas Tech 452-260. Thanks to long, sustained drives and the dominant defense, Henderson’s offense held the ball for over 12 minutes of the fourth quarter in the win.
– Richard Stammetti finished 24-of-39 for 247 yards and one touchdown, while Logan Moragne made the most of his 11 carries and went for 118 yards and a score. Querale Hall also turned in an impressive effort with 74 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown. Chase Lodree led HSU with seven receptions for 84 yards.
ARKANSAS TECH ONLINE TICKETING
– For fans planning to attend Saturday’s Henderson State football game in Russellville against Arkansas Tech, be advised that Arkansas Tech has gone completely digital for ticketing and tickets for the 2 p.m. contest can ONLY be purchased online or via the Hometown Fan mobile app.
– Arkansas Tech will no longer be accepting on-site cash or credit card payments for any ticketed athletic events.
– Tickets are $10 general admission for adults and $5 for students and seniors 60 years of age and older with valid ID. Tickets can be purchased online HERE. Once a ticket has been purchased, fans will have the ability to either print their purchased tickets or scan their electronic ticket from their phone upon arrival at the gate.
– Fans are encouraged to download the HomeTown Fan app on their smartphone or tablet which provides another easy access point to purchase electronic tickets. Simply search “Arkansas Tech University” to find a list of ticketed athletic events and select Saturday’s football game to begin buying tickets from the app.
– For more information on purchasing tickets for Saturday’s game or the online ticketing process at Arkansas Tech, CLICK HERE.
WHERE TO LISTEN
– The game will be broadcast and available by the Henderson State Sports Network on KDEL 100.9 FM and KVRC 1240 AM in Arkadelphia, KWPS 99.7 FM in Hot Springs, KYXK 106.7 FM in Gurdon, and KZYP 104.1 FM/1310 AM in Malvern. Coverage begins one hour prior to kickoff. The radio broadcast can also be heard on the web by going to the audio link for the game at hsusports.com.