Boll Weevils face nation’s best offense

Arkansas-Monticello has already faced two of the top offenses in the Great American Conference with less than favorable results.

Last week, UAM (1-4, 0-3 GAC) gave up 587 yards of total offense to Southern Arkansas in a 30-14 loss. The Muleriders have the third best offense in the GAC.

In the third week of the season, Harding put up 51 points in a victory over the Boll Weevils and the Bisons have scored 39 points per game — second-best in the league.

This week, UAM travels to Arkadelphia for a 3 p.m. kickoff to face Henderson State, which has the top offense in the GAC. The Reddies average 57.8 points a game, which is also tops in NCAA Division II.

Henderson State (5-0, 3-0) also averages 492.8 yards per game, which is seventh-best in D-II.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” UAM coach Hud Jackson said. “Watching a ton of film on them, they are a very good football team. They are not only the top on the conference, but also one of the top teams in the nation.”

With their offense clicking on all cylinders, the Reddies have moved up to No. 14 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division II coaches’ poll.

“They are playing with a lot of confidence right now and they have pretty much destroyed anyone they have played,” Jackson said. “They have a lot of good things happening.”

The Reddies’ offense is led by quarterback Kevin Rodgers, who has passed for D-II leading 23 touchdowns and 1,693 yards. He has a 202 passer efficiency rating, which leads D-II.

“He is the real deal,” Jackson said. “He is very efficient and producing unbelievable numbers. He is one of the best in the nation.”

It is not just Henderson State’s offense, either. The Reddies have only allowed 121 points this season and 49 have been scored in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.

The Reddies have also scored on three punt returns and average 21.3 yards per return, and have one kick return for a touchdown.

“When you watch the team, the scoreboard flashes all of the time,” Jackson said. “Their defense is causing a lot of turnovers and their special teams are backing team up to go a long way and causing more room for error. They are clicking in every aspect right now.”

Henderson State is a tough team for anyone in Division II right now and maybe even some FCS opponents, let alone a UAM team on a four-game losing streak and has not won a road game in Jackson’s two-year tenure with the school.

The Weevils are not going to just roll over, though.

“It’s a matter of competing and we are not going to back down from a challenge,” Jackson said. “They are a good football team, but anyone, if you play consistent, you have a chance to beat.”

Jackson added that the team knows what they are going up again.

“It’s a mindset and we just have to practice hard,” he said. “It’s a huge challenge and we will play hard and compete every down and whatever happens, happens.”