With two games remaining in the 2013 season, the University of Arkansas at Monticello football team needs to win at least one of those games to secure the program’s first winning season since the 2008 team posted a 7-4 record.
UAM enters Saturday’s road game against Ouachita Baptist with a 5-4 overall record and a 4-4 mark in Great American Conference games following a 37-21 loss to No. 4 Henderson State last Saturday at home.
UAM ranks sixth in the GAC in scoring at 27.9 points per game, eighth in total offense at 348 yards per game and sixth in total defense at 395.2 yards allowed per game.
Sophomore Cody Trimble has assumed the starting quarterback spot over the past two games and now leads the team in passing yards after completing 108 of 172 passes for 1,059 yards.
The UAM rushing attack is led by junior Rod Smith and sophomore Nick Williams. Smith leads the team overall this season with 140 carries for 452 yards, but Williams has come on strong as of late with 75 and 87 rushing yards in the last two games, respectively.
Junior Skyler Scott and senior Jamal Nixon are UAM’s leading receivers. Scott leads the team with 49 receptions for 638 yards and four touchdowns, while Nixon has added 41 receptions for 492 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, UAM is led by rover Keith Reynolds with a total of 71 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for losses and one sack. Shittu Salami leads the team with five sacks, while Demarcus Robinson and Mike Early lead the team with four interceptions each.
Despite throwing five interceptions in last Saturday’s loss to Henderson State, the Boll Weevils still lead the GAC and rank 18th in the nation with a total of 24 turnovers gained throughout nine games of the 2013 season.
UAM also leads the league and ranks 11th in the nation in fumbles lost at only four to this point. UAM has lost its top spot in the league in turnover margin, but still ranks second with an average of 0.7 turnovers gained per game and a plus-6 margin overall this season.
Freshman kicker Jamie McGee has posted All-America type numbers in his first collegiate season, ranking second in the nation in field goals per game with an average of 1.8 per contest.
McGee broke UAM’s single-season record for field goals made two weeks ago and is looking to pad that record in the remaining two games of the 2013 campaign. He leads UAM in scoring with 16-of-18 made field goals and 25-of-27 made extra point attempts.
The “tackling machine” title has come back to junior rover Keith Reynolds, who has been at or near the top of the box score in tackles in each of the past three games for UAM. Reynolds ranks fifth in the conference with an average of 7.9 tackles per game and has totaled 71 tackles this season, 41 of which have been unassisted. Reynolds led the GAC in tackles for the first three weeks of the season.
Opposing quarterbacks will probably be making sure they know where sophomore cornerback Demarcus Robinson is for the remainder of the 2013 season. Robinson has jumped into the top 20 in the nation in passes defended with an average of 1.6 per game.
Last week against HSU, Robinson recorded a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown, UAM’s first pick six of the season. Robinson and UAM’s other cornerback Mike Early each have four interceptions this season, which ties for 33rd in the country.
Despite throwing five interceptions in the first half of last Saturday’s loss to Henderson State, UAM’s quarterbacks have been efficient passers this season. Current starter Cody Trimble has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes,ranking fourth in the conference with backup Colton Morrison right behind in fifth at 60.4 percent.
Ouachita Baptist enters Saturday’s game with a 6-2 overall record and the same mark in Great American Conference games following a 31-23 loss to Southern Arkansas last Saturday in Magnolia. OBU’s only other loss was a 36-33 setback to Harding at home three weeks ago.
The Tigers rank fourth in the league in scoring with an average of 35.5 points per game, fifth in total offense at 425.9 yards per game and third in total defense at 340.3 yards allowed per game.
OBU’s rushing offense ranks second in the league at 180.2 yards per game, led by a pair of 400-plus yard rushers.
Chris Rycraw missed last week, but is set to return with his team-leading average of 94.6 rushing yards per game. He has a total of 127 carries for 662 yards with 11 touchdows. He ranks 17th in the nation in scoring at 10.3 points per game.
Steven Kehner has 488 total rushing yards and an average of 61 yards per game. Benson Jordan leads the OBU passing game with 161 completions for 1,928 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His favorite target it Ke’Vontae Pope, who has caught 39 passes for 399 yards.
Defensively, OBU is led by Augustine Ume-Ezeoke with 54 tackles and Antwion Patterson with 52 tackles. Patterson ranks 15th in the country with an average of 1.8 tackles for a loss per game.
OBU ranks fifth in the nation in time of possession and fifth in third down conversion percentage at nearly 50 percent.