Last Saturday, Arkansas Tech University was tasked with defending the No. 1 rushing quarterback in NCAA Division II.
This Saturday, it’s the No. 3 rushing quarterback in the country.
Gage Porter and the Southern Nazarene University Crimson Storm (1-3) will travel to Russellville to face the Wonder Boys (1-3) for a 2 p.m. Great American Conference contest at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“Gage is like a fullback playing quarterback,” said Kyle Shipp, ATU head football coach. “He’s about 5-10, 220 pounds…a thick-legged kid who runs really hard and runs their offense really well. The whole (SNU) offense goes through him.”
Porter is averaging 123.5 rushing yards per game, just a few paces per contest behind the national leader among quarterbacks: Demilon Brown of the University of Arkansas-Monticello (136.5 rushing yards per game). Brown rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Boll Weevils to a 35-14 win over Arkansas Tech last Saturday.
“(Brown) took advantage of different things,” said Shipp. “We missed some tackles and we missed some fits, and he’s one of those kids who will make you pay.”
The other key factor in the outcome at UAM was the fact that five Arkansas Tech passes were intercepted by the Weevils.
“I don’t think you’re ever going to turn it over five times in a game and have a great chance to win,” said Shipp. “We hurt ourselves over and over and over. We have to figure out how to fix that and bounce back from that this week.”
Southern Nazarene ranks last in the GAC in total defense (511.8 yards allowed per game).
“We just have to do our job…all 11 guys doing their job every play, taking the 3-to-4 yard gains and just living with it,” said Shipp. “This week is about integrity. Who are you when nobody is watching? Who are you when things are hard? What are your core values that you fall back on when life gets hard? The record is not what we want it to be, but this is the greatest time in these young men’s lives. The woe is me attitude…can’t have it. We have to figure out a way to pick ourselves up, get out of this little ditch we’re in and get moving in the right direction.”
Live coverage of the ATU-SNU game on KCJC 102.3 FM, the KCJC Radio app and www.arkansastechsports.com will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Talk to you on the radio.
Tech Tidbits is a column written by Sam Strasner, ATU director of university relations and radio play-by-play voice for ATU football and basketball.