GAC title chase heats up Saturday

  • Arkansas River Valley
  • 03/11/2017
GAC title chase heats up Saturday
The next twists and turns in the most unpredictable title chase in the seven-year history of Great American Conference football will play out in Russellville, El Dorado and Searcy on Saturday.

Arkansas Tech University (7-2 overall, 7-2 GAC) will host Southeastern Oklahoma State University (6-3, 6-3) for a 2 p.m. contest at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville.

Game tickets ($10 adults/$5 students and senior citizens) will be available at the stadium ticket office during the Party at the Plaza tailgating event, which will begin at noon.

The Wonder Boys enter the weekend tied with Ouachita Baptist University (7-2, 7-2) for first place in the GAC standings with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

OBU will face Southern Arkansas University (6-3, 6-3) for a neutral-site contest at Memorial Stadium in El Dorado at 2 p.m. Saturday, while defending GAC champion Harding University (6-3, 6-3) will try to keep its hopes for a second consecutive title alive when it hosts East Central University (2-7, 2-7) for a 2 p.m. game at First Security Stadium in Searcy.

"We've got some guys who are mature and understand what we have at stake here," said Raymond Monica, ATU head coach. "I've asked the guys to remember what we have in front of us these next two weeks, but the only thing that really matters is how we do today. How much better are we going to get today than we were yesterday?"

Arkansas Tech defeated East Central University 38-10 last Saturday to extend its winning streak to three games. ATU senior quarterback Ty Reasnor passed for a season-high 288 yards in the victory. He threw three touchdown passes and had one touchdown run.

"Ty is throwing the ball extremely well right now, as well as running the football," said Monica. "He is playing at a very high level."

Southeastern Oklahoma State lost its third consecutive game last Saturday with a 42-3 home setback against Harding.

This week's match-up in Russellville features the top two teams in the GAC in turnover margin. The Wonder Boys are plus-15 in that category (22 turnovers forced, seven turnovers committed), while the Savage Storm is plus-14 (22 turnovers forced, eight turnovers committed).

Both teams rank among the top five in NCAA Division II in turnover margin this season.

"The first thing I see is that (Southeastern Oklahoma State) beat two teams that we lost to," said Monica. "So, they get a lot of respect from me right off the bat. I see a very disciplined football team. They don't turn the football over much, and they get turnovers. Anytime you can do that you always have a chance. You look at this gamethey've got a lot to play for, and obviously so do we."

Live coverage of the ATU-SOSU game will be available on radio station KCJC 102.3 FM,www.arkansastechsports.com and ESPN3.
  
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