By Brian Ramsey
OBU Sports Information
ARKADELPHIA – Ouachita Baptist University running back TJ Cole broke the Great American Conference single-season rushing record on Saturday in a 35-21 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State at home.
Cole finished the game with 20 carried for 128 yards. All he needed was 56 yards to break the previous record held by Harding’s Cole Chancey with 1,375 yards in 2019. TJ Cole now has 1,448 rushing yards this season, which keeps him third on Ouachita’s single-season charts with at least one game remaining this season.
As for Saturday’s game, fifth-ranked Ouachita (8-2) committed four turnovers that proved costly in the team’s second loss of the season. The loss hurts Ouachita’s chances of winning another GAC championship and making the NCAA playoffs. The Tigers will most likely fall out of the top seven in the region. To have a chance at a share of the conference title, the Tigers must beat Henderson State next Saturday, and Harding needs to lose to Arkansas Tech.
In Saturday’s loss to Southeastern (8-2), the Savage Storm jumped out to a 21-0 lead with touchdowns midway through the first quarter, early in the second quarter, and midway through the second quarter, all the while holding Ouachita to just 36 yards in its first four offensive drives.
The Tigers finally crossed over into Southeastern territory late in the second quarter, and cashed in on the opportunity with their first touchdown, a 33-yard run by TJ Cole, who had to break three tackles to reach the end zone.
Southeastern scored with 26 seconds remaining before halftime, and then scored on the first drive of the third quarter to go up 35-7.
Ouachita rallied in the fourth quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns from Kendel Givens, his nation-leading 21st and 22nd touchdowns this season.
Down two touchdowns with 3:40 remaining, the Tigers attempted to make it a one-possession game, but a Savage Storm interception with 2:16 remaining sealed Ouachita’s fate.
The Savage Storm outgained Ouachita 510-325, and did so by keeping the Tiger offense off the field. Southeastern won the time of possession battle 38:22 to 21:38. Ouachita struggled on third downs, converting on just six of 13 chances. The season-high four turnovers were also key in the low point total for the Tigers. Ouachita only had five turnovers total this season coming into Saturday’s game.
The 94th edition of the Battle of the Ravine is coming up next Saturday, November 13 at Cliff Harris Stadium. The Tigers hold the all-time series advantage by one win, 44-43-6. Next Saturday’s kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Henderson State comes into the game with a 9-1 record after beating Oklahoma Baptist 36-34 on Saturday with a last-second field goal.
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