GAME NOTES: Tough test for No. 5 Tigers Saturday at home

Brian Ramsey
OBU Sports Information

ARKADELPHIA — The fifth-ranked Ouachita Baptist University football team hosts Southeastern Oklahoma State University this Saturday, November 6 with conference and playoff implications on the line.

Saturday’s game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Cliff Harris Stadium. The Ouachita Football Radio Network will take the air at noon for the pregame show. The Ouachita Sports Digital Network will broadcast the game live. Live statistics will also be available. Links can be found at

Even though next week’s Battle of the Ravine is Ouachita’s final home game of the regular season, the Tigers will be observing Senior Day this Saturday prior to the game against the Savage Storm. The recognition will be held on the field prior to the game. The players to be honored include Jack Burnham, Josh Burnham, Cole Edrington, Ethan Gasaway, Rico Gonzalez, Austin Guymon, Gregory Junior, Hayden Lassiter, Hunter McCord, Dameyun McDonald, Ryan Perdue, Jack Pillow, Hayden Waller, and Ja’Merrick Waller. The student coach to be honored is Caleb Woodfield. The senior manager is Johnathon Callum. The senior trainer is Madison Montgomery.

Record: 8-1 (8-1 GAC)
National Rank: 5/6 (AFCA/D2FB)
Head Coach: Todd Knight
Knight Career: 159-129-2 (28th season)
Knight at OBU: 131-97 (22nd season)
Picked No. 1 in preseason GAC poll

Record: 7-2 (7-2 GAC)
National Rank: Not ranked
Head Coach: Tyler Fenwick
Fenwick Career: 45-41 (8th season)
Fenwick at SE: 8-12 (3rd season)
Picked No. 11 in preseason GAC poll

Ouachita is in the midst of its 13th consecutive winning season, a streak that began in the 2008 season. The Tigers have recorded five Great American Conference championships during the streak, and have qualified for the NCAA playoffs in four of those seasons. This past Saturday’s win over East Central gave the Tigers their 14th season with at least eight wins. A win over Southeastern would give Ouachita its seventh season of at least nine wins.

The final two weeks of the 2021 season are crucial for Ouachita’s chances of winning its fourth consecutive GAC championship and qualifying for the playoffs. Ouachita’s opponents in the final two weeks are a combined 15-3 this season, the toughest schedule remaining in our region. Ouachita has the No. 7 spot in this week’s regional rankings, which would be good enough to make the seven-team field. The No. 1 seed gets a first-round bye. Ouachita has been the No. 1 seed (2018 and 2014), the No. 2 seed (2019) and the No. 5 seed (2017).

The second round of NCAA Division II regional rankings were published this past Monday. Ouachita moved up one spot to No. 7 this week. D2 football is comprised of four super regions. The top seven from each region make up the playoff bracket. Ouachita is represented in Super Region Three, which consists of teams from the GAC, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, and the Mid-America Athletic Association. SR3’s rankings this week are:

1. Ferris State
2. Harding
3. Grand Valley State
4. Northwest Missouri State
5. Lindenwood
6. Henderson State
7. Ouachita
8. Nebraska-Kearney
9. Southeastern Oklahoma State
10. Washburn

The complete rankings can be found at


  • 1st in D2, 1st in GAC in turnovers lost (5 total)
  • 2nd in D2, 1st in GAC in sacks allowed (0.44 per game)
  • 3rd in D2, 2nd in GAC in rushing offense (299.7 yards per game)
  • 8th in D2, 1st in GAC in net punting (37.82 yard per punt)
  • 9th in D2, 1st in GAC in punt returns (17.2 yards per return)
  • 10th in D2, 1st in GAC in fourth down defense (74 percent stop rate)
  • 11th in D2, 1st in GAC in pass defense (142.7 yards allowed per game)
  • 13th in D2, 3rd in GAC in scoring offense (39 points per game)
  • 14th in D2, 1st in GAC in kickoff returns (25.21 yards per return)


  • TJ Cole – 11th in D2, 1st in GAC in all-purpose yards (157 yards per game)
  • TJ Cole – 10th in D2, 1st in GAC in rush yards per carry (6.84)
  • TJ Cole – 7th in D2, 3rd in GAC in rushing touchdowns (14)
  • TJ Cole – 5th in D2, 1st in GAC in rushing yards (146.7 yards per game)
  • Kendel Givens – 1st in D2, 1st in GAC in rushing & total touchdowns (20)
  • Kendel Givens – 1st in D2, 1st in GAC in scoring (14 points per game, 120 total)
  • Xaylon Falls – One of four players in D2 with two kickoff returns for touchdowns
  • Connor Flannigan – 3rd in D2, 1st in GAC in punt returns (17.2 yards per return)
  • Anthony Freeman – 1st in GAC in sacks (0.72 per game)
  • Kenta Jones – 2nd in GAC in passes defended (1.1 per game)
  • Hayden Lassiter – 3rd in GAC in interceptions (0.3 per game, 3 total)


  • TJ Cole – needs 56 yards to break the GAC single-season rushing record of 1,375 by Cole Chancey of Harding in 2019.
  • TJ Cole – Currently 3rd for Ouachita single-season rushing total (1,320 yards)
  • Kendel Givens – Currently tied for 2nd for Ouachita single-season rushing touchdowns with 20. The record is 25 by Brockton Brown in 2019.

October 5, 2019 // Ouachita 27, SE 14 // Cliff Harris Stadium // Durant, Okla.
Southeastern outgained Ouachita 454-360, but the Tigers took advantage of two Savage Storm turnovers, including an interception late in the third quarter to please the Homecoming crowd at Cliff Harris Stadium with a victory. Allie Freeman had 11 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard touchdown pass from Brayden Brazeal on the first play following that third quarter interception.

Southeastern is the only team to have bested the Harding Bisons this year. The Savage Storm beat Harding 32-31 in Week Two, winning the game on a successful two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown with under a minute remaining. Overall this year, Southeastern is 7-2 with wins over Arkansas Tech (38-20), Southwestern Okla. (37-28), Southern Nazarene (31-10), Southern Arkansas (38-24), Northwestern Okla. (43-10), and Arkansas-Monticello (34-14). The losses have come against Henderson State (27-24) at home and Oklahoma Baptist (43-37) in overtime on the road. Tyler Fenwick is in his second season as Southeastern’s head coach after building a winning program at Missouri S&T in six seasons.

Ouachita holds the all-time series advantage 32-20-4. The series began in 1913 with a 0-0 tie, and the Ouachita rattled off eight wins in a row over the next 40 years. The Tigers have won eight of the last 10, including a three-overtime win (30-27) in 2003. The last wins for Southeastern came in 2016 and 2017.