Savage Storm fans are in for quite a treat of football schedule trickery for Homecoming this Saturday.
Southeastern will face one of the top 25 football teams in the nation for the second straight week when Ouachita Baptist (3-0) visits Paul Laird Field for a 2 p.m. Saturday kickoff.
The OBU Tigers jumped up one notch to No. 12 in the official NCAA Division II poll released Monday. They defeated Great American Conference rival Arkansas Tech 31-24 last week in their closest game of the season.
Meanwhile, Henderson State (located across the street from OBU in Arkadelphia, Ark.) jumped seven spots in the poll after last week’s 56-20 win over Southeastern. The Savage Storm outgunned the Reddies in yardage, but the win propelled HSU from 24 to 17 on the list.
“Last week we made some critical mistakes on our kicking game,” said SE football Coach Ray Richards. “When you’re playing a good football team, you can’t make mistakes like that.”
Ouachita’s struggles last week against Arkansas Tech should give the Storm more wiggle room.
“They didn’t play as well as they would have liked to,” said Richards. “They turned the ball over a bunch. And I think we match up well against them. But we’ve got a lot of guys out right now, especially on defense, and that’s one of our biggest obstacles.”
Much like HSU, Ouachita has some offensive weapons which are easy to spot but (so far this season) have proven hard to defend. “They run the ball more than they throw it, but the yards are about the same,” Richards said.
“This is a great challenge. This is a big game for us, a big conference game playing last year’s conference champion,” he said. “It’s the kind of game that, if you win, it catapults your whole team.”
Every week is make-or-break in football, but the Savage Storm truly find themselves at a fork in the road with three games down and seven to go. HSU (2-0 in GAC) will be at Southwestern (1-1) and Harding (1-0) hosts East Central (1-1), giving Southeastern a clear path to leapfrog two Oklahoma GAC rivals with a Saturday win.