Sam Koch

 

The University of Arkansas at Monticello football team welcomes Southern Nazarene University to Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium on October 10 for Homecoming. Homecoming festivities begin today with a pep rally Thursday afternoon and the UAM Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet Thursday night. Kickoff for Saturday’s game against SNU is set for 3 p.m.

UAM and Southern Nazarene both enter Saturday’s game with a 0-5 records, with the loser of the game to be the only remaining team in the GAC without a victory this season. The Weevils have won five of their last seven Homecoming games, but have lost two of their last three, including last year’s 55-15 loss to then-ranked No. 14 Harding in Monticello. In UAM football history, the Weevils have a 41-40-1 all-time record in Homecoming contests.

UAM is coming off a 56-28 loss to Oklahoma Baptist last Saturday on the road in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The Weevils took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, but the Bison went on to score five touchdowns before UAM scored again. There were 981 combined yards of offense in last Saturday’s game. OKBU posted 503 yards, 410 coming on the ground, while UAM had 481 total yards, 443 coming through the air.

UAM senior linebacker Ofisa Kose has recorded career highs in tackles in three consecutive games, most recently topping his personal best with 15 stops in last Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma Baptist. He is currently averaging 11.8 tackles per game, which is tops in the Great American Conference and 17th at the NCAA Division II level.

UAM senior quarterback Hunter Leppert moved into fifth place all-time at UAM in passing yards in last Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma Baptist. The Minden, Louisiana native had his first career 400-yard passing performance in that game, completing 25 passes for 412 yards with two touchdowns. He surpassed Joe Don Samples (1982-85, 4963 yards) and now has 5,031 career passing yards. Next on the list is Jay Austin (1993-96) with 6,178 yards. Leppert also improved his position on UAM’s all-time passing touchdowns and total offense charts. He now stands in sixth place with 39 career passing touchdowns and fifth all-time in total offense at 5,228 yards.

The Weevils have posted at least 250 passing yards in each of the first five games of the season, including two games above 300 yards and one game above 400. Last week against Oklahoma Baptist, UAM recorded 443 yards through the air on 27 completions. UAM ranks 12th at the NCAA Division II level with an average of 321 passing yards game, and sixth in the nation in yards per completion with an average of 16.55 yards per catch. Senior quarterback Hunter Leppert ranks 14th in the nation in passing yards (1,527), 16th in passing yards per game (305.4 ) and third in yards per completion (16.97). Sophomore receiver Jalen Tolliver currently leads the GAC and ranks 18th in the nation with 478 receiving yards. He ranks 23rd in yards per game (95.6) and second in yards per reception (26.56).

Southern Nazarene enters Saturday’s game with an 0-5 record this season and most recently lost to Southern Arkansas 55-20 last Saturday at home in Bethany, Oklahoma. Dating back to the final week of the 2012 season, SNU is currently on a 27-game losing streak. SNU started the season with a 62-14 loss to Arkansas Tech at home, followed that with a pair of road losses to Harding (42-0) and East Central (69-0), and lost 41-7 to Southeastern Oklahoma State at home two weeks ago before losing the SAU last week at home.

The winningest signal-caller in UAM football history will have his number retired during halftime of Saturday’s game. Dr. Sean Rochelle, who wore the number 14 during his playing career at UAM in the late 1980s, has had a distinguished career as a coach, athletic administrator, and as executive director of the Razorback Foundation. But Rochelle is remembered by UAM fans as the quarterback of the most successful team in school history. In 1988, he led the Weevils to a 10-2 record, the only 10-win season in school history, and was named the AIC offensive player of the year as well as an Academic All-America honoree. Rochelle accounted for 4,615 total yards during his career, including 1,674 yards rushing, making him the most prolific running quarterback in school history at that time. He is currently seventh all-time at UAM in total offense, and owns the program’s single-season record for scoring with 98 points in 1988. His 16 touchdown passes that season are tied with three others for the most in a season at UAM. Rochelle becomes the fifth Boll Weevil football player to have his number retired, joining Kevin McCarn (5), David “Cedro” Anderson (11), Joe Don Samples (12), and Bill McGowan (27).