After losing its past eight games and no road wins in Hud Jackson’s two-year tenure at Arkansas-Monticello, the Boll Weevils could potentially have a win in their sights today when they travel to Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Last year, UAM (1-8, 0-7 Great American Conference) beat the Bulldogs 35-21 at home and Southwestern Oklahoma State (2-6, 1-5) has had almost as rough of a year as the Weevils.
“The thing we have to realize is we got the win last year, but we are in the same boat now,” Jackson said. “We are thinking we can get the win and have to have that mindset.”
The Weevils may have lost 41-35 to Southeastern Oklahoma State last week, but there was something new in UAM’s loss. The Weevils posted a season-high 273 rushing yards and it was the first time UAM had more than 250 yards rushing since last season’s game against the Savage Storm.
The outburst was a much-needed boost to the running game. After last week’s game, the Weevils are now averaging 129.8 yards per game on the ground.
“It felt really, really good and obviously when you can do that, it’s a huge plus,” Jackson said. “That’s what we wanted to do, establish the run game. You have to have balance, and if you can establish the run, it makes everything easier.”
Quarterback Damon Wicker led the Weevils with 139 yards on 20 carries and freshman Nick Williams ran for 94 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
Williams has been used in the last couple of games, but last week’s game should garner Williams some extra carries.
“Nick is the future guy and he will do a lot of great things for us,” Jackson said.
Southwestern Oklahoma State is giving up 141.5 rushing yards per game.
In last week’s game, UAM had to battle from behind early after the Savage Storm jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 6:31 left in the first quarter. Jackson said UAM has to avoid the early hole in order to have a chance at a win.
“Just have to have success early to get some confidence,” he said. “That’s all that has to be done sometimes. Being behind 14 points doesn’t cut it.”
Quarterback Dustin Stenta leads the Bulldogs’ offense and he has passed for 224.9 yards per game, but his efficiency is just 97.7 because he has thrown 14 interceptions to just eight touchdowns.
However, Jackson said the stats do not tell the whole picture for Stenta.
“He is a guy that isn’t fancy, but makes good decisions,” he said. “He sees things different and he doesn’t make crazy mistakes.”
The Bulldogs have 23 turnovers on the year.
Fordyce native Michael Hemphill will miss the game and will have an MRI on his back. Hemphill is a defensive end who has been playing special teams for the Weevils.