Southeastern will host Harding University Saturday in the final home football game of the season.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Paul Laird Field when the Savage Storm take on the Bisons.
After opening the season with a 31-6 road win over Texas A&M University-Commerce, the Storm dropped four in a row with three games that could have gone either way.
SE fell by seven points to Southern Arkansas, by three to Ouachita Baptist and by seven to Arkansas Tech. The only blowout was a 56-20 loss to Henderson State.
Coach Ray Richards’ club then won three straight games, defeating Northwestern 31-6 at Alva, Southwestern 26-16 in Durant and the University of Arkansas-Monticello 41-35 in Monticello.
That levels the record at 4-4 with two games remaining.
THE LATEST GREAT American Conference standings show Henderson State alone at the top.
The Reddies are 9-0 overall and 7-0 in conference competition.
Harding is second at 7-1 and 5-1. Ouachita Baptist and Southern Arkansas are tied at 6-2 and 4-2.
Arkansas Tech is fifth at 5-4 and 3-3. Southeastern (4-4) and East Central (4-5) are tied at 2-4 in league play. Southwestern is 2-6 and 1-5 with Arkansas-Monticello last at 1-8 and 0-7.
Northwestern (1-7) and Southern Nazarene (1-8) are not eligible due to provisional status with the league.
THIS IS ONLY the second year for the GAC, but two of the nine eligible teams are listed in the Top 10 of the Super Region 3 rankings.
Henderson State is No. 1 on the Super Region 3 list with Minnesota State-Mankato second despite the same 9-0 record.
Harding has moved up to No. 3 in the poll.
Other rated teams are Northwest Missouri State (8-1, 8-1) at No. 4; Missouri Western State (8-1, 8-1) at No. 5; Emporia State, Kansas (8-1, 8-1) at No. 6; Minnesota Duluth (8-1, 8-1) at No. 7; Winona State, Minnesota (7-2, 7-2) at No. 8; Falls, South Dakota (8-1, 8-1) at No. 9 and Pittsburg State, Kansas (6-2, 6-2) at No. 10.
Henderson State is ranked 8th and Harding 16th in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll.
NICK SIOSON came up big for the Storm when the redshirt freshman quarterback got his first start in place of the injured Jercolby Bradley.
All Sioson (6-0, 210, Georgetown, Texas) did was hit 14 of 17 passes for 249 yards and touchdowns of 89 and 29 yards in leading Southeastern to 482 yards of total offense and a huge 41-35 victory at the home of the Boll Weevils.
That road victory sets up a tremendous opportunity for the Storm in Saturday’s final home game of the season against Harding University’s Bisons.
A victory gives the Storm a shot at a winning season with the finale a week down the road against East Central.
Winning will be much easier said than done against Harding. The Bisons are coming off a whopper 76-23 victory over Arkansas Tech.
Harding romped to 505 yards and a school-record nine touchdowns. Another school record was set with the 76 points that nipped the 75 scored last year against Shepherd Tech. Sophomore running back Romo Westbrook (5-9, 195, Marion, Arkansas) had six carries for a career-high 181 yards, including a 90-yard TD run that tied the longest running play in Harding history.
HARDING IS the second-leading scorer in the GAC at 37.4 points per game. Southeastern is sixth in scoring with 29.4 ppg. Harding allows only 17.4 points and SE gives up 27.8 ppg.
The Storm top the Bisons in total offense, 434.4 to 403 yards per game. Total defense favors HU, 278.2 to 341.9 ppg.
The Bisons average 315.8 yards on the ground and SE averages 245.1 ppg. Harding has the edge in rushing defense, 83.9 yards per game to 146.5 for the Storm.
Southeastern averages 189.2 yards per game passing and the Bisons manage just 87.2 ypg.
Pass defense is a draw with the Bisons allowing 194.4 and the Storm giving up 195.4 yards per game.
Individually, Southeastern’s Ladarius Abrams is averaging 76.8 yards per game and HU’s Westbrook averages 74.1 ypg. SE’s Bradley, status unknown due to injury, is averaging 86.7 ypg and Harding’s Kelvin Martin (6-1, 230, senior quarterback from Cherokee, Alabama, and Lambuth University), averages 62.2 ypg.
Bradley is throwing for 170.6 ypg and Harding has nobody in the top 10.
GAME TIME is 2 p.m. Saturday at Paul Laird Field for the Storm’s final home date of the season.
Come out early for the GAC’s best tailgating experience and help Southeastern pull off a major upset with a win over the Bisons.
STORM VOLLEYBALLERS have picked it up down the stretch with two wins in the last three matches.
Coach Jenn King’s young ladies edged East Central 3-2 in Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium on October 25 to keep the Tigers winless in Durant.
The Storm then traveled to Northwestern for another 3-2 victory before falling 3-0 at Cameron.
That makes it 4-24 overall and 3-9 in conference play.
Storm junior Taylor Benner was named the Great American Conference Defensive Player of the Week when she helped Southeastern to a pair of victories.
She became the first Southeastern winner of a weekly honor.
Benner totaled 57 digs and averaged 5.7 per set. Her play paced the Storm to a win over East Central that snapped a 14-game losing streak.
Combined with the win at Northwestern, the Storm are in position to qualify for next month’s GAC championship.
The latest GAC standings show Harding No. 1 at 23-6 overall and 12-0 in league play.
Arkansas Tech (23-8) and Southern Arkansas (19-9) are tied for second at 9-2.
Southwestern is in fourth place at 10-18 and 8-4 with East Central (10-19, 7-5) fifth and Ouachita Baptist (8-15, 5-7) sixth.
Arkansas-Monticello (10-21, 4-8) is seventh, Southeastern eighth and Henderson State (6-21, 1-10) ninth.
Southern Nazarene (11-18) and Northwestern (1-25) are ineligible due to provisional status.
Southeastern is on the road Friday at Ouachita Baptist and Saturday at Henderson State.
The Storm return home for the last two games of the regular season. Pittsburg (Kansas) State will be here for a 7 p.m. match on Monday, November 5 and Southwestern comes to Bloomer Sullivan Gym at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 8.