The East Central University football team will take its 2-0 record on the road this weekend for the annual Tiger Battle with Ouachita Baptist. Game time is set for 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20 at the newly remodeled Cliff Harris Stadium.
The Broadcast: ECU's radio home for Tiger football is Ada's KXFC, 105.5, FM 'The X-Factor'. Mike Manos returns to broadcast the games for his 18th consecutive season. Manos has worked 180 Tiger games since taking over the play-by-play duties in 1997.
The Coverage: Fans who can't be at the game can find links to live stats, live video and the KXFC radio broadcast on ECUTigers.com. Go to the football schedule page. You can also download the KXFC radio app for your smartphone by searching '105.5 the X Factor.'
Coaches Show: Every Monday night fans are encouraged to come to the University Center on ECU's campus for the weekly Coaches Show on 105.5 the X-Factor. Each week coaches from all 13 sports will be on hand to talk about the latest news from their teams. Fans will be able to tweet in questions to @ECUTigersCoach or email them to email@example.com.
Koi Ishto Stadium: At the 2014 ECU Tiger Kickoff Dinner and Auction, ECU President John Hargrave announced that the stadium at Norris Field would be renamed Koi Ishto Stadium in honor of the relationship between ECU and the Chickasaw Nation. Koi Ishto means big cat in the Chickasaw language. A formal dedication will be held, Saturday, Nov. 15 on Chickasaw Appreciation Day when the Tigers battle with Southeastern Oklahoma State.
Scouting Ouachita Baptist: The other Tigers from the Great American Conference are 1-0 overall and in league play after opening the season last weekend with a 28-7 win over Southern Nazarene at home. With the low scoring game, the teams were held to a low number of offensive yards at 230 for OBU and 146 for SNU. Ouachita Baptist could have had a larger cushion on the scoreboard if they had converted more of their chances in the red zone, as they went 2-of-4.
Steven Kehner was the leading rusher for OBU, with 106 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Kiehl Frazier took over the quarterback role for the 2014 season and went 19-of-30, with one interception in his first game. He threw for 209 yards and two TDs. Jalen Jones was his favorite receiver, with 12 catches, 119 yards and one TD. Mike Williamson led the defense with eight total tackles (6-2) and 2.5 tackles for loss (three yards).
Against the Tigers: In 2013, ECU dropped a tight game to OBU at Norris Field, 17-24. The teams traded points throughout the game, with the difference being a third-quarter TD by Ouachita Baptist. Penalties were a big factor in the game, as ECU was penalized 13 times for 124 yards, while OBU picked up just three penalties for 29 yards.
Spencer Bond has a strong day on the ground and in the air, with a rushing and passing TD to his credit. He rushed for 81 yards and threw for 273. Micheal Allen is the top wide receiver to return to this season's team from the game, with 51 yards and one touchdown.
Jameel Whitney and Daniel Holland paced the defense for ECU. Whitney recorded 6.5 total tackles (4-5), while Holland added 5.5 total tackles (4-3), one sack for three yards and two TFL for seven yards.
Steven Kehner is one of the key returners for OBU, recording 12 rushes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Drew White added nine catches for 120 yards and a TD. Devin Price and Dion Young each garnered four total tackles (2-4) for OBU.
The Series: Saturday's meeting will be the 18th in the all-time series, with just six previous meetings happening in Arkadelphia. OBU holds a 5-12 edge in the overall series and a 1-5 mark when playing on their home turf. ECU fell 18-31 in the last meeting at Cliff Harris Stadium in 2011, with the last ECU win on the road coming Oct. 2, 1993 (27-17).
Bond Gaining Recognition: After a standout performance against Southern Arkansas, junior Spencer Bond was named the GAC Offensive Player of the Week for Sept. 15 and The Oklahoman State College Football Player of the Week.
Bond accounted for all six of the Tigers' touchdowns as he helped rally ECU back from a 0-20 deficit to defeat Southern Arkansas. The Madill, Okla., native threw for 339 yards with two scores and rushed for 134 yards and four touchdowns, including an 80-yard score. The 134 rush yards represented the fifth-highest total for a GAC quarterback. He placed two punts inside the 20-yard line.
Last Chance Catch: Senior Chance Carey was the defensive star for the Tigers in the 47-40 win over SAU. The McAlester, Okla., native tallied a career-high 8.5 (5-7) total tackles and two interceptions. Both of his interceptions came in the second half, including the snag with 20 seconds remaining to secure the win for ECU.
Starting out Strong: The Tigers 2-0 start is the best opening record to start a season since 1984 (2-0). ECU has gone 2-0 to start a year eight times, 3-0 nine times and 4-0 three times. The last time the Tigers went 3-0 to start the year was 1963 and the last time they went 4-0 was 1983.
Earning Attention: For the first time since 2004 ,the Tigers have earned a vote in the AFCA Division II Coaches Top-25 Poll. ECU earned one vote in the poll for Week 2. ECU is one of four teams from the GAC in the poll in some fashion, with Henderson State being ranked No. 7, Harding ranked No. 20 and Ouachita Baptist also receiving votes (2).
Holland GAC Defender of the Week: Senior Daniel Holland came out of the gates ready to battle in his final season in an orange and black uniform and has claimed Great American Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.
In the opening game of the season against Arkansas-Monticello, Holland helped the Tigers (1-0) earn a 38-34 come-from-behind victory. The Miami, Fla., native tallied four (3-2) total tackles, a quarterback hurry, forced one fumble and added 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks for 23 yards. His TFL, sacks and sack yardage were all career highs and helped the defense hold UAM to just 22 yards rushing for the game. The low yardage has ranked ECU No. 4 in the nation for rushing defense after the opening weekend of NCAA DII action. Holland is also ranked No. 6 in the nation in TFL (3.5) and No. 4 in Sacks (3.0)
All-American Play: In the final minute of the game at Arkansas-Monticello, senior Qumain Black came up with an All-American play to secure the Tigers' 38-34 win. Black reached up for a pass at the same time as Boll Weevil Ivory Washington in the end zone, with Black coming away with the ball for the touchback.
Go JoJo Go: Senior JoJo Snell came out of the gates running, recording a career-high 157 rushing yards and 224 all-purpose yards against UAM. It was the first time Snell tallied over 200 yards in a game. The Moss Point, Miss., native also garnered two touchdowns.
Standing Tall at the Line: The defensive line stood strong for the Tigers in the opening game of the season, allowing just 22 yards on the rush. The low yardage currently ranks ECU No. 27 in the nation in rush defense.
GAC Predictions: After finishing tied for sixth in the 2013 GAC standings, ECU has been picked to finish fourth in the 2014 GAC Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Tigers, who finished 5-5 overall and in the conference a year ago, claimed 63 points in the poll. 2013 top finisher, Henderson State was named as the preseason favorite with 100 points and 10 first-place votes. Harding earned the other first-place vote and a total of 89 points. Ouachita Baptist was third with 84 points and Southern Arkansas was fifth, just three points behind ECU with 60 points.
Southwestern Oklahoma finished sixth (54 points), Arkansas Tech seventh (44 points), Southeastern Oklahoma eighth (41 points), Arkansas-Monticello ninth (37 points), Northwestern Oklahoma 10th (22 points) and Southern Nazarene 11th (11 points).
Preseason Attention: Several members of the Tigers roster have been gaining attention during the preseason from different organizations. Senior Qumain Black was a USA College Football Preseason All-America First Team Defense selection as well as a NewsOK.com Preseason All-Star selection.
Senior JuJu Turituri also claimed USA College Football Preseason honors as a second team defensive pick and a NewsOK.com selection.
Junior Travis Hening (offense) and senior Kellan Taeatafa-De La Rosa (defense) were named to the USA College Football All-America Third Teams. Hening was also selected to the NewsOK.com team, with junior Spencer Bond on offense.
From the Playing Field to Coaching: The majority of the ECU coaching staff consists of familiar names for Tiger football fans. Eight of the current coaches were members of the ECU football program as collegiate athletes. Rashad Jackson, Chad Roark, Austin Crisler, Fred Gaines, Dustin Lasell, Tyler McGrew, George Robbins and Reuben Tiller have all worn an orange and black uniform before moving to a leadership role.
Up Next: The Tigers will return home for a battle with No. 7 Henderson State at Norris Field. The game is set for Saturday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. ECU will honor the 1984 team at half time of the game, who went 10-2 for the season, played in the school's first playoff game and started a four-year run of Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Championships. The game is also the annual Pink Out game, with fans encouraged to wear pink and help the ECU Zeta's efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer.