Four takeaways helped pace the University of Arkansas at Monticello on the road Saturday, Oct. 6, winning at Arkansas Tech University, 34-16. The win halted a three-game skid for the Boll Weevils as they improved to 2-4 on the season, all in the Great American Conference.
On the fourth play of the game, Arkansas-Monticello forced its first of three turnovers as Deontae Haynes knocked the ball loose after a Terrez Hampton reception. Christian Jefferson scooped the ball and returned it to midfield to start UAM’s night on offense.
While the Weevils were forced three-and-out, Cole Sears nailed a 53-yad punt to the Tech 2-yard-line, further flipping the field for the next series. Arkansas Tech (2-4, 2-4 GAC) failed to gain and Jefferson stepped up again, this time with a 24-yard punt return to the ATU 22. The return helped set up a 34-yard field goal from Josh Marini to put the Weevils on the board, 3-0, with 9:50 to play in the opening quarter.
The Wonder Boys’ defense pinned UAM deep forcing a punt to midfield. However, ATU’s Carter Burcham was picked off at the Weevils’ 32 on the next play by Jimel London, who returned 68 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 UAM lead.
With 9:57 to play in the first half, Bryan Allen found a hole on a 41-yard touchdown run to pull the Wonder Boys within three, 10-7, but Cole Sears and the Weevils answered on the next drive. Sears capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Hampton to extend UAM’s lead to 17-7 at the half.
The third quarter was all Arkansas-Monticello, as Sears and Hampton each rushed for touchdowns, the later going for 34 yards and a 31-7 lead, set up by London’s second interception of the game. The Weevils’ final drive of the quarter took an extra 38 seconds, resulting in a 34-yard Marini field goal to open the fourth quarter, stretching UAM’s lead, 34-7.
Arkansas Tech answered the field goal with two long passes by Manny Harris to Hampton for 39 and 35 yards. Harris, who was 2-of-4 passing on the drive, capped the series with a 6-yard touchdown run. ATU added a safety on UAM’s next series, capping the scoring for the day, 34-16.
Jefferson, who had a fumble return, added an interception with 8:13 to play in the game. The Weevils ran out the clock, driving down to the Arkansas Tech 1-yard-line before taking a knee to end the game.
Sears led all players with 216 yards of total offense, including 220 yards on 20-of-33 passing. Caleb Canady completed his only pass for 33 yards.
The Weevils’ balanced its attack with Imani Riley collecting 42 yards rushing on 13 carries, Hampton added 31 yards on two touches, Alex Day had 30 yards on eight tries and Juan Day ran the ball four times for 21 yards. By air, 11 receivers combined for 21 catches and 253 yards with six players collecting 25-plus yards.
Deon Knox led the defense with six tackles, while Marcus Lemoine, Jefferson and Marshaud Melancon each had five stops.
KJ Reid swarmed to the ball for Arkansas Tech, collecting 16 tackles, including one sack. Chris Kale and Cua’ Rose followed with nine and eight tackles, respectively.
Harris finished the game with 88 yards on 4-of-10 passing after taking over for Carter Burcham, who competed 3-of-9 for 489 yards. Allen had a game-high 157 yards rushing on 22 attempts and Hampton caught five passes for 102 yards.
UAM will hit the road again Oct. 13, traveling to Bethany, Oklahoma to take on Southern Nazarene for a 1 p.m. kickoff.