ADA, Okla. - A late fourth quarter rally attempt fell just short for the Arkansas Tech football team on Saturday night in Ada, Okla. as the Wonder Boys fell to East Central by a score of 13-10.
In the game, the Wonder Boys (0-2. 0-2 GAC) struggled to get their offense on track throughout the early goings, but were kept within striking distance by a strong defensive effort that forced four turnovers with three coming on downs.
The last of those fourth-down stops by the Wonder Boys' defense came late in the third quarter and with the Tigers (1-1. 1-1 GAC) having scored a drive prior to go up 13-3. On that defensive stand, ECU gained possession inside Tech territory following a turnover and worked their way down to the Tech 8-yardline for a 3rd-and-2 attempt. That play lost a yard as Caron Holloway and Gio Williams wrapped up two-time first team All-GAC tailback Ontario Douglas back at the Tech 9-yardline.
Going for it on fourth down, ECU's quarterback Kenny Krncir scrambled for two yards, but fell a yard shy on a tackle by De'Veyon Smith.
The Wonder Boys would be unable to do anything with the ensuing possession and punted after a three-and-out, giving the Tigers the ball back with plus field position and 1:54 left in the third.
Keeping the ball on the ground, the Tigers were able to push the ball inside the 10-yardline and had 1st-and-Goal from the Tech 9-yardline as the game advanced to the fourth quarter.
The first play of the final period was another rush for lost yardage as Derek Albers and George Brooks cleaned up the TFL, pushing ECU back to the Tech 11-yardline. ECU got back near the goalline and to the Tech 6-yardline following a short pass completion to set up a 3rd-and-Goal from the 6-yardline. On the third-down play, Devin Burns netted a solo TFL and dropped ECU's Hrncir for a loss of two back to the Tech 8-yardline.
Despite the loss, ECU was still in chip-shot territory and set up to attempt a 25-yard field goal.
On the field goal try, Tech's Trayon Jones blocked the kick to deny points for the Tigers. That block was an exclamation point on an all-around great individual performance by Jones as he registered six tackles and three pass breakups.
The momentum from that block transferred over to the Wonder Boys offense as they put in their best drive of the game. Gaining possession at the ECU 6-yardline, Tech proceeded to go on a 16-play, 94-drive that chewed up 7:29 of game time. The final play of that methodical drive came with 5:23 left in the fourth quarter and was a three-yard toss play to Brandon Hunter.
The Wonder Boys elected to go for a normal kickoff in hopes of another defensive stand and getting the ball back on final time. The Tigers, however, were able to keep the ball on the ground and secured enough first downs to run the remainder of the clock out and hold on to the three-point victory.
The Wonder Boys will now prepare for a second-straight road game as they will travel to Arkadelphia to take on nationally-ranked Ouachita. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 18 at Cliff Harris Stadium.