The Arkansas Tech football team is looking to shake off the result of their most-recent game as they lost on the road at Southern Arkansas, 49-3. The defeat was uncharacteristic of a team this year that had been in each of the previous three games all the way down to the final play.
Waiting for them in the hopeful bounce back game is Northwestern Oklahoma as they make the trek from Alva, Oklahoma to Russellville for Saturday night's game.
In recent history, the Wonder Boys have had a good deal of success against the Rangers with an overall series record of 15-4. Since the two became conference opponents in 2012, the Wonder Boys have dominated the series and are 9-1 against the Rangers in that span and have an average scoring output of 39.4 points per game.
Currently, the Wonder Boys are on a three-game winning streak against NWOSU, all under head coach Kyle Shipp. In fact, the Wonder Boys' 21-14 triumph in 2019 was the first win as a college head coach for Shipp. In the subsequent two meetings since, the Wonder Boys have scored just over 100 points including a 56-point effort the last time the two played in Russellville.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE
Offensively after four games, the Wonder Boys are averaging 19.8 points per game and 280.3 yards of total offense. Their ppg average ranks ninth in the GAC, while their total offense ranks 10th.
Taye Gatewood has assumed the starting quarterback role for the Wonders Boys with starts in each of the last three games. Thus far, he has thrown for 812 yards on 68-of-109 passing with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
On the ground, the Wonder Boys have had 11 different ball carriers through four games. Deuce Wise has had the most carries by a running back with 38 and the most yards with 136. From the QB position, Gatewood leads the team in rushing touchdowns with two. Jordan Edinton and Corbin Humphrey account for the other two rushing scores.
In terms of receiving, Tech has had pass completions to 13 different targets. Matthew Rivera and Caleb Tanis are tied for the team-lead in receptions with 17. Rivera has a slim lead in yards receiving with 228 with Tanis right behind at 224. Both Rivera and Tanis are tied for the team-lead in receiving touchdowns with two each.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE
Defensively through four games, the Wonder Boys are allowing an average of 468.5 yards of total offense per game by their opponents and 34.3 points per game. The total defense ranks 11th in the GAC, while their scoring defense is ninth.
Individually, Tech has four players that have registered 20 or more tackles. The leading tackler thus far is Jyrin Steward and his 32 stops. Vershaud Richardson lead the team in tackles for loss with 7.0 and sacks with 5.0. Richardson also leads the team in forced fumbles with two.
The new-look kicking game for the Wonder Boys has Austin Hosier handling the placekicking duties. He is 10-of-10 in extra point attempts and 3-of-3 in field goal attempts.
In the punting game, Tech has used a pair of punters but are expected to rely on veteran returner Aaron Winn when healthy. He is currently averaging 46.8 yards per punt and has a long of 63 yards.
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA
The Northwestern Oklahoma Rangers enter the game against Tech having lost their first four games of the season by an average of 38.8 points per game. Dating back to last season, NWOSU has lost nine-straight games. Their most-recent game saw the Rangers score just two points as they lost on the road at Southeastern Oklahoma, 41-2.
The Rangers are coached by Ronnie Jones, who is in his first year as the head coach at his alma mater, Northwestern Oklahoma. A long-time coach, Jones had four prior seasons of head coaching experience prior to coming back to NWOSU and was 11-31 in that time.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE
Offensively, the Rangers feature a multiple spread offensive attack. Through four games this year, NWOSU has the 12th-ranked scoring offense in the GAC at 13.8 ppg and the 12th-ranked total offense with an average of 244.0 ypg. Through the air, the Rangers are averaging 149.8 ypg to rank 10th in the GAC. On the ground, NWOSU is averaging 94.3 ypg to rank 10th in the GAC.
The leading rusher thus far has been Darian Gill with 246 yards gained. He has one of the team's three rushing TDs.
In the passing game, the Rangers have used two different quarterbacks with Ethan Everson and Caleb Deal sharing duties. Both have attempted over 40 passes. Everson has the most attempts with 61. He also has the most passing yards with 415 on 34 completions. Everson has two of the team's three passing touchdowns and has no interceptions.
The leading receiver for NWOSU is Travis Romar with 245 yards on 17 receptions. Romar has one of the team's three receiving touchdowns.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE
Defensively, the Rangers base out of the 4-3 scheme and currently rank 12th in scoring defense, allowing 49.5 ppg. Their total defense ranks 12th in the GAC allowing 510.0 ypg of total offense by their opponents. Through the air, NWOSU ranks 12th in the GAC with 246.5 average ypg allowed. On the ground, the Rangers allow an average of 263.5 ypg and rank 11th in the GAC.
Individually, Northwestern Oklahoma has three players with 25 or more and are led in stops by Carvelle Jamison with 31. Chima Ozz leads the team in tackles for loss with 3.0. The Rangers defense has forced six turnovers with one INT and five fumble recoveries.
This will be the 20th meeting all-time between Arkansas Tech and Northwestern Oklahoma in a series that dates back to 1956. After that initial meeting in Russellville, the two NAIA schools didn't play until 1987, and then played eight-straight years until Tech moved to the NCAA. In 2012, NWOSU joined Tech in the GAC and became conference opponents. In that time span, Tech leads the series 9-1 Overall, Tech leads the series 15-4.