MONTICELLO — Leading up to last week’s win over Southeastern Oklahoma State, Arkansas-Monticello head coach Hud Jackson told back-up quarterback Brett Courville that they would try to get a couple of packages in for him for the game against Southeastern.
Following a touchdown by SE Oklahoma State that gave them a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter, Courville’s number was called and he went in for his college debut.
“I was a little nervous,” Courville said after Saturday’s 42-34 win. “But the zone read, I’ve been reading it all throughout high school.”
Courville, a freshman from Greenwell Springs, La., led UAM on a 10-play drive capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Skylar Scott. The extra point missed but UAM had trimmed the lead to 14-13.
“Coach was yelling from the side line, signaling for the go and I knew exactly who I was throwing it to,” Courville said. “Because we had been throwing him go balls all night.
“You can tell we like throwing it to him on those go routes.”
Courville finished the game 2-for-2 with 27 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 21 yards on four carries.
Jackson said Courville is an option he could consider each week.
“It is a pretty good change up,” Jackson said. “I think it is something we have to look at and bring along that young man until he understands the offense a little better.
“It gives us another avenue to look at.”
UAM (1-1, 1-1 Great American Conference) snapped an 11-game losing streak by defeating Southeastern and the Weevils are hoping to ride that momentum into today as they host Northwestern Oklahoma State at Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium beginning at 6 p.m.
“I think the biggest thing we are concerned about this week is having a let down after an emotional win,” Jackson said. “(Northwestern) is ready to get in the win column and they are a big physical football team.
“We have to maintain our preparation and continue to get ourselves ready.”
Jackson said the atmosphere has definitely been “a little bit more upbeat” since the win over Southeastern but the focus on Northwestern should not be forgotten.
“I told our guys on Sunday night that I’m glad they got to enjoy the win, but now we need to focus on (tonight),” Jackson said.
In the win, UAM starting quarterback Colton Morrison was 25-of-36 for 345 yards with four touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different receivers including Scott who finished with eight catches for 165 yards with three touchdowns. Scott was named the GAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.
“Having two good receivers is big,” Jackson said. “That way coverages can’t start focusing on one guy.
“Moving the ball around keeps everything balanced. If we keep moving the ball around, I think we will be OK.”
Jamal Nixon had seven catches for 151 yards with two touchdowns.
“That win was huge,” Courville said. “After going 1-11 last year, that win is huge.
“Coming out in the second week of the season against a pretty good conference team and picking up a victory, it was a huge win.”
Northwestern (0-2) is coming off its worst loss in 60 years — a 69-0 setback at Harding.
“Defensively, they are really athletic, particularly at the front,” Jackson said. “They got guys that can bat balls.”
The Rangers (1-5 on the road in 2012) captured last year’s season finale at UAM but have lost 12 of their last 14 away games, dating back to the end of the 2011 season. NWOSU defeated UAM 38-35 after outscoring the Weevils 24-14 in the second half.
Running back Javari Liggins rushed for 221 yards on 28 carries in last season’s win.
“They had a tailback last year that came in and rushed for over 200 yards so we have to stop the run,” Jackson said.
Early injuries to starting quarterback Reid Miller and back-up Jake Streck sent NWOSU spiraling in the loss to Harding. Third-string quarterback L.T. Pfaff finished 6-of-12 for 83 yards.
Defensively, UAM is led by junior cornerback Mike Early who picked off two passes in last week’s win over Southeastern. Early also added a total of eight tackles, seven of which were unassisted.
Junior linebacker Keith Reynolds leads the GAC with 19 total tackles, including 10 tackles last week at Monticello.
UAM gave up just 162 yards rushing and held Southeastern’s Devlon Wortham, who had 220 yards the week before, to just 96 yards on 16 carries.
Offensively, Jackson said the team has put some focus back on the running game after just rushing for 129 yards last week.
“Our running backs got to do a better job of hitting their landmarks and do the stuff that we’ve worked on since fall camp,” Jackson said. “They need to understand where we run the football.”
Joevall Hoseay led the Weevils with 75 yards on three carries. Nick Williams, who led UAM on the ground last season, had just three carries for eight yards.