The University of Arkansas at Monticello football team is back at Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium this Saturday, October 11 for Homecoming to take on 14th-ranked Harding. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Homecoming ceremonies begin at 2:30 p.m.
The game marks the 50th meeting between UAM and Harding on the football gridiron in a series that dates back to 1960. The Bisons have won the last three meetings, including a 63-30 win over the Boll Weevils last year in Searcy. That Harding win last year broke a tie in the all-time series record, which now sits in the Bisons’ favor 25-24. UAM has an all-time record of 5-3 when playing Harding for homecoming, the last time a 44-17 UAM win in 2009.
The Weevils suffered its fourth loss of the season last Saturday at Arkansas Tech by a final score of 18-13.
In each of the four losses, the game was decided by fewer than seven points. UAM recorded its first win of the season two weeks ago in a 33-14 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State at home.
The Weevils enter Saturday’s game with an overall record of 1-4 with the same mark in GAC games. After averaging nearly 295 passing yards per game throughout the first four games of the 2014 season, Arkansas Tech limited UAM to just 142 yards through the air last week. The Weevils were limited to just 169 yards of total offense to drop their average to 355.7 yards per game, ranking seventh in the Great American Conference.
Individually, junior quarterback Hunter Leppert is nearing the 1,000 yards mark in passing coming into Saturday’s game against Harding. The Minden, Louisiana native has thrown for 981 yards so far throughout just three games with six touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Senior Rod Smith is the only running back in the GAC with over 100 carries at this point of the season. The Dumas native has 102 carries for 359 yards and seven touchdowns.
Junior Cody Bordelon missed last week with a thumb injury, but still leads the Weevils with 23 receptions for 250 yards.
Senior Ivory Washington has 22 catches for 226 yards and senior Deadrien Terry has 20 catches for 286 yards.
Defensively, the Weevils rank seventh in the league in total defense and fifth in points allowed.
Senior Anthony Hughes leads the team with a total of 33 tackles so far, while senior end Louis Curry leads the team with a total of nine tackles for losses, 4.5 coming by way of quarterback sack.
UAM has five players on defensive with more than 20 tackles. UAM is tied with Henderson State for the GAC lead in fewest turnovers this season. The Weevils have only committed four turnovers through the first five games. UAM ranks fourth in the GAC and is tied for 20th nationally in turnover margin at +7 overall and an average of +1.40 per game.
The undefeated and nationally 14th-ranked Harding Bisons are coming off a 56-13 win over Southern Arkansas University. It was Harding’s fourth consecutive lop-sided victory of the season. Throughout four games this season, the Bisons have outscored their opponents 201-26.
Harding ranks second in the league in scoring and first in scoring defense, giving up just 6.5 points per game. The Bisons also lead the league in total defense, rushing offense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency, third down percentage and fewest penalties. Of the Bisons’ average of 71 plays per game this season, the team has averaged just over 60 rushing attempts per game. Harding leads all of NCAA Division II with an average of 399.2 rushing yards per game, and has a total of six players with over 100 yards on the ground. Harding has only attempted 36 passes so far this year.
Quarterback Keenan Kellett has completed 19 passes for an average of 22 yards per pass. Romo Westbrook leads the rushing attack with 53 carries for 348 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per touch. The Bisons have intercepted 10 passes so far, with Aric Stock leading the way with three of those, ranking 16th in the nation. Romas Roberson has forced three fumbles for Harding, ranking second in the nation and first in the GAC.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
– UAM & Harding are two of 101 teams in D2 to have not allowed a blocked punt this year.
– UAM ranks 14th nationally and leads the GAC with seven fumbles recovered this year.
– UAM ranks 15th nationally and 2nd in the GAC with only two INT thrown this year.
– UAM’s Mike Early is one of only two players in D2 with two kickoff returns for TDs.
– UAM’s Mike Early ranks 5th nationally with an average of 33.9 yards per KO return.
– UAM’s Rod Smith ranks 22nd nationally with seven rushing touchdowns.
– UAM’s Jalen Garmon is one of five players in the GAC with two fumbles recovered.
– Harding is one of 39 teams in D2 to have not allowed a blocked FG this year.
– Harding ranks 6th in the nation in time of possession (34:43 per game).
– Harding ranks 2nd in the nation having only given up 45 first downs so far.
– Harding ranks 22nd nationally and leads the GAC in sacks at three per game.
– Harding has scored 28 touchdowns this season and only one field goal.
– Harding has six players that have at least 15 rushing attempts this season.
JACK AND JUDY LASSITER DAY
Saturday, October 11 has been designated “Judy and Jack Lassiter Day” in honor of UAM’s chancellor and his wife. Lassiter will retire on January 5. The UAM Marching Band will perform a special tribute to the Lassiters during halftime of Saturday’s game.
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH DECALS
In addition to the Jack and Judy Lassiter decal on the back of UAM’s helmets, the Weevils are also sporting a pink ribbon decal during the month of October to promote breast cancer awareness. This is the fourth consecutive season the Weevils have participated in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.