MONTICELLO — The Arkansas-Monticello vs. Southern Arkansas rivalry has been going strong since 1913. After 87 meetings between the two schools, including a streak of 55 consecutive years, the rivalry will take on a new name starting this year.
When the two teams meet on Sept. 29 in Monticello, the game will be called the Battle of the Timberlands and the winner will take home a newly-created traveling trophy.
“In all sports, UAM versus SAU is the oldest and fiercest rivalry on our entire schedule,” UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter said. “We decided that we needed to continue some type of classic rivalry involving our football teams. Thus the Battle of the Timberlands was created and a custom trophy was designed and built. We look forward to housing this new trophy in Monticello.”
The rivalry heated up in the days of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference, transitioned into the NCAA Division II with the Gulf South Conference, and now continues with the Great American Conference.
SAU holds the all-time series advantage at 51-35-1, including last year’s 53-28 win in Magnolia and a 26-0 victory in the first-ever meeting.
“The games between UAM and SAU in all sports are always exciting,” UAM athletic director Chris Ratcliff said. “Even if the result has no bearing on the conference standings or postseason positioning, there is always that sense of pride of beating your rival. Giving this game a name and creating a traveling trophy will only make it more meaningful and really enhance the student-athlete experience.”
This year’s game features two squads that each posted three Great American Conference wins last season. UAM and SAU, along with Southeastern Oklahoma State and Southwestern Oklahoma State, have been predicted to finish in a four-way tie for sixth place this year.