#18 Harding falls to #5 Ouachita Baptist in season opener

#18 Harding falls to #5 Ouachita Baptist in season opener
(Source: KAIT)

Press Release from Harding University Athletics

Ouachita Baptist freshman Gabe Goodman kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining to lift the fifth-ranked Tigers over the 18th-ranked Harding Bisons Thursday in Great American Conference action at Cliff Harris Stadium.

Harding took the lead 14-13 with 4:20 left in the game on a 4-yard Tristan Tucker TD run. Tucker had the big play on the drive, a 45-yard run around the right side. He scored two plays later.

Ouachita took over with 4:07 left and took advantage of two Harding penalties that kept the game-winning drive alive. The first was a roughing the passer penalty that tacked on 15 yards to a 25-yard pass completion to Tucker Swoboda that took the Tigers to the Harding 30. Later in the drive, Ouachita had a 4th-and-15 but a pass interference penalty gave the Tigers another first down. Three rushing plays later, Goodman kicked the game-winning field goal.

Harding had one last possession with just over a minute left, but Ouachita's third interception of the game ended the Bisons's comeback hopes.

Harding led 7-6 at halftime.

Ouachita Baptist went 3-and-out on its first possession, and after a 47-yard punt, Harding went 1-and-out. The Bisons eschewed their traditional rush to the fullback on their first play, and quarterback Preston Paden hit senior wide receiver Bobby Green over the middle. Green caught the pass in stride and outraced the Ouachita defense for an 85-yard TD. It tied the fourth-longest pass in program history and was the longest since an 89-yard pass from Chaz Rogers to Tyler O'Quin against Northeastern State in 2011.

Harding's defense stiffened twice in the Ouachita redzone to force field goals of 22 and 25 yards from Goodman to account for all scoring in the first half.

Ouachita took a 13-7 lead with 4:49 left in the third quarter on a Brockton Brown TD run.

Harding opens its home schedule next Saturday at First Security Stadium when it hosts Arkansas-Monticello at 6 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KAIT. All rights reserved.