ARKADELPHIA, Ark. - The Harding defense forced six turnovers, including five interceptions, and defeated 20th-ranked Ouachita Baptist 21-7 on Homecoming at A.U. Williams Field. It was the Bisons' second win against a nationally-ranked team on the road since joining the NCAA in 1997.
The victory moved Harding to 4-3 on the season and 2-2 in Gulf South Conference play. Ouachita Baptist fell to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Harding took a 7-0 lead at the 6:11 mark of the second quarter. Bison senior Daniel Phipps blocked an OBU punt that was recovered at the Tiger 24 yard line. Two plays later, Harding redshirt freshman quarterback Chaz Rogers hit sophomore Kale Gelles on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Ouachita Baptist answered on its next drive as Jeremy Young caught a 44-yard scoring pass from Eli Cranor to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:31 left in the half.
Following the touchdown, Young picked up a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that put the kickoff at the 15-yard line. Harding's Kyle Young caught the ensuing kickoff at the Harding 44 and returned it 55 yards, all the way to the OBU 1. One play later, Dominic Blood scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the year to put Harding ahead 14-7 with 5:14 left in the half.
Late in the third quarter, Harding moved senior Zac Ross to quarterback. He led the Bisons on a 9-play, 73-yard drive that continued into the fourth quarter and ended with Ross scoring on a 16-yard run with 14:24 left to play.
Ouachita Baptist entered the game with a +8 turnover margin on the season and had only committed two turnovers. Senior Josh Jones, who entered the game as the GSC's leader with six interceptions, added to more to his season haul, and the Bisons also got picks from Jason Thomasson, Kennard Henderson and Eddie Russ, Jr.
Harding last had five interceptions in a game against Southern Arkansas in 2006.
Ross led Harding in rushing with 63 yards on eight carries and completed 8-of-11 passes for 59 yards. Ouachita Baptist's Eli Cranor completed 22-of-40 for 194 yards and a touchdown but threw five interceptions after throwing only one in the first five games.
With Harding's victory at Southern Arkansas last week, the Bisons won consecutive road games for the first time since 2002.
Harding returns to First Security Stadium next week to take on Valdosta State. Kickoff at First Security Stadium is at 6 p.m.