Ouachita Wins Ravine, No. 1 Seed in NCAA Division II Football Playoffs


Harding Bisons Join OBU in NCAA Division II Football Playoffs As 2 Seed

For the second time in three seasons, the Great American Conference placed two teams into the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs as regular-season champion Ouachita Baptist earned the top seed in Super Region #3 and Harding garnered the sixth slot.

The Tigers, 10-0, earned a first-round bye and will await the winner of the Minnesota-Duluth and Northwest Missouri State contest. The Tigers will host their first-ever NCAA playoff game, a second-round game, on Saturday, November 29 at Cliff Harris Stadium.

OBU becomes the first GAC program to earn the top seed in a football region. In 2012, Henderson State received the No. 2 seed. The Tigers join Virginia State as the only two programs to make their playoff debut in 2014.

Harding, in the postseason for third straight year and in the Division II playoffs for the second time in program history, will square off against Pittsburg State, on the road, at noon on Saturday. The Bisons will enter carrying a nine-game road win streak while the Gorillas will play in their first playoff game since winning the 2011 national championship.

Super Region #3 features three undefeated teams – OBU, No. 2 seed Minnesota State-Mankato and Minnesota Duluth and has only three losses among the six participants. The other three super regions boast a total of three undefeated teams and have a combined 23 losses among the 18 selected teams.

And the Tigers, the news was even sweeter after winning one of the oldest rivalries in football – The Battle of the Ravine.

Trailing 17-7 at the end of the first quarter, the Ouachita Tigers (10-0, 10-0) outscored the Henderson State Reddies (9-2, 8-2) 34-3 to finish the season undefeated and claim the GAC title outright with a 41-20 victory.

Senior Steven Kehner rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns, setting the GAC single-season record with 16 this season. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier went 12-22-0 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 27 yards and scored from one yard out to put the game away for Ouachita.

The Tigers intercepted All-American Reddie quarterback Kevin Rogers twice in the second half, one by safety Zack Mitchell and the other by defensive end Kyle Lamothe. The Tiger’s defensive line got to Rogers three times, with two of those sack coming in the second half.

Ouachita held the Reddies to 362 yards of total offense, 148.5 yards below their season average of 510.5. Henderson State managed only 49 rushing yards in the game, nearly 100 yards below their season average.

Henderson scored on their second drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead. Ryan McDonald carried it in from two yards out early in the first quarter. Ouachita responded on the ensuing drive, scoring on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Frazier to Jalen Jones.

Kevin Rogers found JaVante Mack on a 16-yard route to put the Reddies up 14-7 with 4:19 left in the opening quarter. The Tigers fumbled on the next possession, giving HSU the ball on the Ouachita 14 yard line. The Tigers held Henderson to a field goal and Ouachita trailed 17-7 at the end of the first quarter.

With 9:34 left in the second quarter, Steven Kehner punched it in for Ouachita from three yards out, capping off a six play, 54-yard drive. After forcing a Reddie punt, Steven Kehner took the ball on a first and 10 from the HSU 45 yard line and ran untouched into the end zone to give the Tigers a 21-17 lead.

With the Tigers driving, HSU forced another Ouachita fumble, recovering it on their own 44 yard line. Rogers completed five straight passes, getting the Reddies into field goal position. Henderson State closed within one on a 47-yard field goal, trailing 21-20 at the half.

Henderson was stalled on their opening drive in the second half. The Tigers defense stopped them on a fourth and one conversion attempt. Henderson State forced a Ouachita three-and-out, but were again denied a chance to retake the lead after missing a 27-yard field goal attempt.

Kiehl Frazier led the Tigers on a 14 play, 80-yard drive culminating on a third and goal touchdown reception by Drew White from the 12 yard line. It was Frazier’s second touchdown pass of the game.

On the first play of the next Reddie drive, senior safety Zack Mitchell made an acrobatic interception off Rogers to give the Tigers the ball back on the HSU 41. The quarter ended with the Tigers leading 28-20.

After driving down to the HSU one yard line, Frazier rolled off his center on the keeper and put the Tigers up 34-20. The Tigers missed the PAT. Henderson was forced to punt, but that turned disastrous after a high snap gave Ouachita the ball on the Reddie 10 yard line.

Steven Kehner scored his third rushing touchdown of the day on a one-yard run, giving him 16 on the year and breaking the GAC single-season record of 15 set last season by Keaton Stigger of HSU.

With the Tigers leading 41-20, the defense held strong, getting another turnover via the interception by Kyle Lamothe and forcing the Reddies to punt on their last possession.

With the win, Ouachita claims the GAC title outright and finishes the regular season at 10-0 for the first time in program history.

Full bracket is below.

NCAA Division II Football Playoffs Bracket


Tags: , , , , ,