Gridiron Weevils Set For Season Finale

Courtesy of
UAM Sports Information

MONTICELLO – The University of Arkansas-Monticello’s football team is set to wrap up the 2014 season this Saturday, Nov. 15 at home in the Battle of the Timberlands against Great American Conference rival Southern Arkansas.

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium. The game can be heard on the UAM Sports Network KHBM-FM 93.7 in Monticello and online at uamsports.com. Live streaming video and live statistics of the game will also be available. All links to live coverage can be found at http://www.uamsports.com/coverage.aspx.

tv Sports reflection 10dbSENIOR DAY
Saturday’s game marks the final collegiate contest for 19 Weevil seniors. The 2014 senior class features 10 student-athletes that have spent their entire collegiate career at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The 2014 seniors are, in numerical order, Mike Early*, Anthony Hughes*, Deadrien Terry, Ivory Washington, Rod Smith, Louis Curry, Chris Roberts*, Austin Morgan, Ian Levine, Devonte Bess*, Steven Richmond, Keith Reynolds, Alex Black*, Reagan Wise*, Jeremiah Bradley*, Christian Dragna*, Chris Gladney*, Matt Pearce and Jalen Garmon*. Those marked with an asterisk are the four-year letterwinners on the team. There will be a special Senior Day Ceremony 30 minutes prior to kickoff of Saturday’s game.

BATTLE OF THE TIMBERLANDS
Saturday’s game marks the third annual Battle of the Timberlands, a name given to UAM’s long-time rivalry with Southern Arkansas prior to the 2012 season. SAU has won the first two installments of the newly named rivalry, including last year’s 44-20 final score in Magnolia to keep control of the traveling trophy, also created prior to the 2012 season. Though the name for the rivalry is new, the series between UAM and SAU in football dates back to the 1913 season and has been played 89 times prior to this Saturday’s contest. UAM and SAU have always been conference opponents, starting with competition in the old Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference, transitioning into the NCAA Division II with the Gulf South Conference and now competing as charter members of the Great American Conference. SAU won the initial Battle of the Timberlands 30-14 in the fourth week of the 2012 season. The last UAM win in the series came in the 2010 season, a 28-23 win over the Muleriders in the Boomtown Classic played in El Dorado.

SETTING THE SCENE
The Weevils enter Saturday’s game with a 2-7 overall record with the same mark in Great American Conference games following a 47-10 loss to No. 9 Ouachita Baptist at home last weekend. The Weevils have wins over Southwestern Oklahoma State at home (33-14) and Southern Nazarene on the road (44-37). Much like UAM, SAU has multiple close losses to their credit this season. Of UAM’s first four losses, the point difference was a combined 18 points. SAU has losses of seven points, three points and 10 points this year, including two weeks ago, a 38-28 loss to Ouachita Baptist on the road, a game where the Muleriders led going into the fourth quarter.

SCOUTING THE WEEVILS
UAM enters Saturday’s game ranked seventh in the league in scoring and total offense, while ranking ninth in points allowed and total defense. The Weevils have had the most success this year in the passing game, ranking fourth in the league in pass offense and first in the league in pass defense. Offensively, UAM is led by junior quarterback Hunter Leppert, who is having a comeback player of the year caliber season, nearing 2,000 passing yards coming into Saturday’s game. Leppert suffered season-ending knee injuries in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, then missed all of last year in rehab. So far this year, Leppert has completed 164 passes for 1,829 yards with 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He has also racked up 164 rushing yards, and ranks fourth in the Great American Conference in total offense at nearly 250 yards per game. Leppert has four targets to choose from this year that have at least 20 receptions. Senior Ivory Washington leads the squad in receptions with 34 for 359 yards, but senior Deadrien Terry leads the team in yardage with 33 catches for 452 yards. Junior Cody Bordelon has 32 catches for 428 yards and leads the team with four touchdown receptions. Senior Ian Levine has added 25 catches for 240 yards. Defensively, UAM has been led by a trio of seniors. Anthony Hughes leads the team in total tackles with 57, Keith Reynolds follows with 50, including 4.5 tackles for loss. Louis Curry has a total of 49 tackles, including nine for loss and 4.5 sacks. Senior Mike Early has also filled up the stat sheet this year with 32 tackles, four interceptions for 111 yards, seven pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble to go along with a total of four touchdowns.

SCOUTING THE MULERIDERS
Southern Arkansas brings one of the most explosive offenses in the Great American Conference, and is one of only two teams in the league to average more than 500 yards per game. The Muleriders rank second in the league in total offense with an average of 508.0 yards per game, trailing only Henderson State at 510.5. SAU’s multi-dimensional offense is led by dual-threat quarterback Si Blackshire, who is tops in the GAC in total offense per game, averaging 331.7 yards per contest. Blackshire has totaled 2,682 passing yards and 303 rushing yards throughout nine games this year. He ranks second in the league in passing at 298.0 yards per game with a total of 26 passing touchdowns. The SAU quarterbacks have completed passes to 15 different receivers this year, led by Zikerious Ware with 44 receptions for 741 yards and seven touchdowns. SAU’s rushing attack is led by Deandre Jenkins and Deion Williams with 624 and 480 yards, respectively. Defensively, SAU is led by A.J. Steele, who has 84 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. Steele ranks sixth in the GAC in tackles with an average of 9.3 per contest.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
– UAM ranks 13th in nation with only five interceptions thrown this year.
– UAM ranks 18th in the nation in pass defense at 174.0 yards allowed per game.
– UAM leads the GAC in red zone offense, scoring 83.3 percent of time.
– UAM QB Hunter Leppert ranks 33rd nationally with 21 passes completed per game.
– UAM’s Mike Early is one of only 10 players in the nation with two KO returns for TDs.
– UAM’s Mike Early leads the GAC with an average of 25.7 yards per kickoff return.
– UAM’s Mike Early averages 1.2 passes defended per game, ranking third in the GAC.
– UAM’s Chris Roberts ranks sixth in the nation with three fumbles recovered this year.
– SAU ranks 11th in the nation in total offense at 508.0 yards per game.
– SAU ranks 19th in the nation in pass offense at 306.8 yards per game.
– SAU ranks 22nd in the nation in yards per completion at 14.53 per catch.
– SAU is one of 70 teams in the nation to not have allowed a blocked punt this year.
– SAU ranks 14th in the nation in time of possession, averaging just over 33 min. per game.
– SAU’s Si Blackshire ranks seventh in the nation in points responsible for (20.9 per game).
– SAU’s Si Blackshire ranks 10th in the nation in total offense (331.7 yards per game).

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