This is the last chance for the Arkansas-Monticello football team to get a win over a Division II opponent this season.
UAM’s (1-9, 0-8 Great American Conference) only win of the year came in the season-opener to College of Faith, a school that is not affiliated with the NAIA or the NCAA.
This week, UAM faces Northwestern Oklahoma State (2-7), a school that is a provisional member in GAC that is on a two-game winning streak.
Even though Northwestern Oklahoma State is 2-7 and has allowed at least 28 points in every game this season, UAM coach Hud Jackson knows a home win is not even close to a certainty on Senior Day for the Boll Weevils.
“The deal with us is we aren’t going to come and out and say we can do that on anyone at 1-9,” he said.
The Rangers may have given up a lot of points this season, but Jackson is still concerned about the defense they play.
“They blitz a lot and anytime you play a team that does a lot of blitzing, it’s a big concern,” he said. “It forces you into bad situations and that’s what scares me about them.”
Most of the damage against the Rangers comes on the ground. They have given up an average of 232 rushing yards per game.
Two weeks ago, UAM rushed for a season-high 273 yards in a loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State, but followed that up with 119 rushing yards last week against Southwestern Oklahoma State. Two weeks ago, running back Nick Williams gained 94 yards on 19 carries and score three touchdowns, but managed just 25 yards on 10 carries last week.
Jackson knows his team has to establish the ground game this week in order to have a chance to break a nine-game losing streak.
“Can’t say we are going to get something established, but we would like to and if we put together a good run game, it gets the rest going,” he said. “We are struggling in a lot of different ways and have had chemistry issues up-front and we got exposed last week.”
Quarterback Kyle Jech leads the Rangers’ offense and has thrown for 2,472 yards and 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
“(Jech) is just as good as any we have faced this year and he is a big guy and very athletic,” Jackson said. “We’ve been able to watch him throughout the season and if you give him time, he will make the right decisions.”
Time has been a commodity Jech has not had a lot of this season, though. The Rangers have given up 32 sacks this year.
The Weevils hope to keep the pressure on Jech this week, but they only have 14 sacks on the year and are led by Jalen Garmon’s 3.5 sacks.
“We haven’t gotten to the quarterback and that’s something if you give even the most average quarterback some time, he’s going to be successful,” Jackson said. “Our defensive line has to get to him. I don’t see anyway around it, we have to put pressure on him.”
NW OKLAHOMA STATE RANGERS (2-7) AT UAM BOLL WEEVILS (1-9)
3 p.m. today • Convoy Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium, Monticello • Radio: KHBM-FM 93.7