Story and photo courtesy of Harding Athletics
SEARCY, Ark. – Now all that is left is to wait for Sunday's announcement.
Harding rushed for 358 yards and held Southwestern Oklahoma to only one touchdown in a 38-7 victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday at First Security Stadium. The victory gave the 14th-ranked Bisons a 9-1 regular season mark and a 7-1 record in the Great American Conference.
Harding will find out Sunday at 4 p.m., what its playoff fate is. All indications are that the Bisons will be making their first postseason appearance since the first round of the 1992 NAIA playoffs. Harding will host an NCAA Announcement Watch Party at the Hammond Student Center on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.
Harding has not won nine regular season game or seven playoff games since 2002.
Sophomore wide receiver Donatella Luckett had two touchdowns for the Bison. He scored on a 46-yard reverse on Harding's first drive and on a 31-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Keenan Kellett on the Bisons' first drive in the second half.
Luckett's first touchdown came after senior Ty Powell blocked a field goal attempt, and Caleb Farrel returned it 41 yards to the SWOSU 49. Two plays later, Luckett scored.
Harding led 14-0 after the first quarter. The Bisons' second touchdown came on a 4-yard run by D'Nico Jackson-Best that culminated a 13-play, 74-yard drive. Harding had a 4th-and-11 on the drive, but faked the punt and defensive end B.J. Jones raced 19 yards for the first down.
Southwestern Oklahoma had its only scoring drive of the game midway through the second quarter. The Bulldogs drove 85 yards on 11 plays and scored on a 17-yard pass from Dustin Stenta to Teverick Boyd to make it 14-7.
Harding slammed the door after that.
Martin rushed for a 23-yard touchdown with 1:40 left in the first half. It was his 19th career rushing touchdown, moving him into second place on Harding's career list.
Luckett's touchdown reception, his seventh of the season, was the only score of the third quarter.
The Bisons tacked on a 32-yard field goal by sophomore John Gay and a 19-yard touchdown run by reserve slot back Christian Pletta in the fourth quarter.
Harding's rushing total marked the sixth time this season the Bisons eclipsed 300 rushing yards. Martin led Harding with 66 rushing yards on nine carries. Sophomore Jason Oller rushed six times for 40 yards.
Southwestern Oklahoma rushed for only 76 yards, 35 of them coming on a late run by Aaron Wilson. He finished with 62 yards on 19 carries. Stenta completed 11-of-25 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury.
Harding's defense recorded eight tackles for loss, including three sacks. Powell had 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery and the blocked field goal. Safety Philip Mion led the Bisons with 10 tackles, and linebacker Erik Ragsdale had eight. Josh Aldridge had seven tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a pass breakup.