Story and photo courtesy of Harding Athletics
SEARCY, Ark. – The 19th-ranked Harding football squad employed a dominating rushing attack and forced six Arkansas Tech turnovers to defeat the Wonder Boys 76-23 on Homecoming Saturday at First Security Stadium.
Harding (7-1, 5-1 Great American Conference) rushed for 505 yards and a school-record nine touchdowns. The Bisons scored at least two touchdowns in each quarter, broke the school record for points in a game, and remained in the hunt for the GAC championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Arkansas Tech (5-4, 3-3) had its four-game winning streak snapped and was outgained 593-374. The Wonder Boys have lost all six times they have played the Bisons on Homecoming in Searcy.
Harding scored the first 34 points in the game, including a 72-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kelvin Martin to sophomore Jason Oller and a 90-yard touchdown run by sophomore fullback Romo Westbrook. It was tied for the longest running play in program history, matching a 90-yard run by Alan Dixon against Ouachita Baptist in 1971.
Arkansas Tech scored the next 16 points, but Harding closed the half with a 5-yard touchdown run by Martin to give the Bisons a 48-16 lead at halftime.
The onslaught continued to open the third quarter. Sophomore slot back Ahmad Scott scored on a 9-yard run with 8:34 left in the third quarter, and Westbrook got loose again for a 75-yard touchdown run at the 4:45 mark that made the score 55-16.
Westbrook carried six times for a career-high 181 yards and two touchdowns. Martin had two rushing scores as well, and seven different Bisons recorded rushing touchdowns.
Harding's 76 points topped the school record of 75 set last season against Shepherd Tech. The Bisons also scored 10 touchdowns in a game for only the fourth time.
Bison freshman Tre' Clark scored Harding's final touchdown on an 8-yard run with 8:28 left in the game. John Gay's school-record 10th extra point gave the Bisons their record point total.
Harding's defense sacked Arkansas Tech quarterback Tanner Marsh five times, intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles. The Bisons limited the Wonder Boys to only 93 rushing yards, marking the seventh straight game that Harding opponents have failed to reach 100 rushing yards.
Harding goes on the road next Saturday. The Bisons will be in Durant, Okla., to take on Southeastern Oklahoma State for a 2 p.m. kickoff. The Savage Storm defeated Arkansas-Monticello 41-35 on Saturday.