The Oklahoma Baptist University Bison football team returned home this past Saturday to face Harding University at Crain Family Stadium. Both teams entered the contest winless on the season, OBU having lost the previous three weeks to East Central University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and Arkansas Tech University. OBU’s main struggle has been their ability to score in the red zone on offense, earning touchdowns on only fifty percent of their trips to the red zone. Harding entered the game losing three close games to Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, and Southern Nazarene University.
OBU looked strong in the first half of the game, finishing the second quarter tied with Harding 14-14. Junior standout Isaiah Mallory, who entered the game leading the Great American Conference (GAC) in rushing yards, scored the first points for OBU on the day, tying the score at 7-7 on a 13-yard reception from redshirt freshman Preston Haire. OBU’s attack faltered and the defense was unable to stop Harding’s triple option offense as Harding outscored OBU 31-0 in the final two quarters of play. OBU’s second half of play can be summarized by their three turnovers, two fumbles and an interception.
In the end, Harding’s rushing attack was too much for OBU to handle churning out 309 yards on the ground, while accumulating 38 minutes of possession. OBU’s offense was only able to muster 226 total yards on offense, 76 on the ground and 150 through the air. The quarterback battle continued for OBU, once again both Dez Stegall and Preston Haire saw considerable playing time. Neither was able to provide OBU’s offense with the fuel it required, as both quarterbacks had mediocre outings. Star running back Isaiah Mallory had only 36 yards before injured late in the third quarter. Mallory suffered an apparent head/neck injury and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance. His condition has not been released. However, teammates on the sideline said that before being taken off, he was able to move his outer extremities. Mallory’s absence will be a huge blow to the OBU offense as redshirt freshman Darrien Moss will most likely be called on to fill the gap left by the team’s leading rusher.
OBU will travel next week to face Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas. The Muleriders will enter the game on September 30th undefeated. The Bison will look to rebound for the first time this season, but they will have their work cut out for them. Led by quarterback Barrett Renner the Southern Arkansas passing attack will give the OBU defense an opposite from this past weekend. In order for OBU to be successful against the Muleriders they will have to step up not only in the red zone on offense but also lock down the Southern Arkansas passing attack. The game will start at 6:00 p.m. in Magnolia, Arkansas.