Southeastern football welcomes the Harding Bison to Paul Laird Field on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Savage Storm enter the game with a 2-6 record after last week’s 25-21 loss to Northwestern. Harding is 5-2 but also lost last week 45-30 against undefeated Henderson State.
Both teams will be looking to start new late-season win streaks. SE has home field advantage, but the Bison can score (three 60-plus point games thisn season) and the Storm are missing some key members of an already depleted defense.
SE Coach Ray Richards said the rushing game of Harding - one of the best in the country - is different but can be contained if his defensive players adjust in time.
“Their offense is entirely different than anything we’ve seen,” Richards said. “But I feel like we have a good plan, defensively. Hopefully our defenders will be in position and they’ve got to make the plays.”
The defense will be missing injured back-up DE Trent Hannah, as well as starters Logan Russell and Russell Hurst. The latter two are out due to suspensions for “actions inconsistent with Athletic department policy,” according to a school statement. They began serving their suspensions last week.
However, Derek Ogg returns to the line up and Greg Jackson is questionable.
“We’re banged up and beat up in a lot of areas but I think we’ll be okay,” Richards said. “I feel like we’re going to play well on Saturday.”
But the Bison defense has also had its share of troubles lately. They are giving up 36 points per game in their last three games. The Savage Storm can capitalize on this.
Keelen Green could return to action at receiver, giving QB Nick Sioson more options for his passing game. Devlon Wortham leads a talented group of rushers for the Savage Storm, following his 186 ground yards last week in Alva.
Durant’s own Cordell Zalenski will return to his hometown as a member of the Harding Bisons. Zalenski has played in all seven games for Harding as a back-up defensive lineman, with five tackles to his credit.