Harding rolls to 5th straight win as they beat Oklahoma Baptist 50-33

Harding rolls to 5th straight win as they beat Oklahoma Baptist 50-33
(Source: Harding Sports)

Press Release from Harding University Athletics

SHAWNEE, Okla. – Harding rushed for 492 yards and seven TD and weathered an impressive Oklahoma Baptist passing attack in a 50-33 Great American Conference victory Saturday at Crain Family Stadium.

Harding never punted and scored touchdowns on seven of nine possessions.Junior fullback Cole Chancey rushed 19 times for a career-high 233 yards and two TD, including a 75-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter.

Junior quarterback Preston Paden carried 14 times for a career-high 119 yards and two TD. He had a 57-yard TD run with 7:26 left in the game, Harding’s seventh rushing TD of the game. Chancey’s 233 yards ranked fourth in a Harding single game.

Oklahoma Baptist quarterback Preston Haire completed 23-of-33 passes for 282 yards and four TD. Joshua Cornell caught eight passes for 150 yards and two TD.

The win was Harding’s fifth straight and pushed the team to 5-1 on the season. Harding improved to 5-0 all-time against Oklahoma Baptist, who had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 3-3.

Oklahoma Baptist led briefly early in the second half. After a failed on-side kick, Oklahoma Baptist took over at the Harding 44. Haire threw the third of his four TD passes to Eli Paul to give his team a 21-20 advantage with 11:14 left in the third quarter.

Harding answered immediately with a six-play, 65-yard drive. Paden scored on a 4-yard run, Harding led 27-21 and never trailed again.

The Harding defense forced a turnover on downs on Oklahoma Baptist’s next possession and took over at their own 25. Harding drove 75 yards on 11 plays and led 34-21 with 13:17 left in the game after Tristan Tucker scored on an 8-yard run.

Haire scored on an 8-yard run to Oklahoma Baptist’s next drive, but Harding’s V’Onte Williams blocked the extra point and Cory Batie ran it back more than 80 yards for a two-point defensive conversion. It gave Harding a 36-27 lead with 10:04 left.Harding scored on three of its first four possessions in the first half and led 20-14 at halftime.

Junior slot back Taylor Bissell scored Harding’s first two TD. His 10-yard run concluded a 12-play, 71-yard drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock.

Harding led 14-0 with 12:51 left in half after Bissell punched it in from 5 yards out. It ended a 14-play drive that last eight and a half minutes.

Oklahoma Baptist scored the first passing TD of the season against Harding with an 11-yard scoring play from Haire to Eli Paul with 9:16 left in the second quarter.

Harding answered with a 38-yard TD run from Cole Chancey. Grant Ennis’s extra point hit the upright, and Harding led 20-7.

Oklahoma Baptist closed the scoring in the first half with a 79-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard TD pass from Haire to Joshua Cornell with 41 seconds remaining.

Facts and Figures

  • Harding had 548 total yards, its highest total of the season and most since 597 at East Central last season.
  • Harding's 492 rushing yards were the most this season and the most since 564 at East Central last season.
  • Harding went 11-of-13 on third down, the most third down conversions this season and the most since converting 12 of 20 third downs in a 28-24 victory over Henderson State in 2014.
  • Harding had seven rushing TD, the most this season. The Bisons had seven rushing TD twice last season, vs. Oklahoma Baptist and at East Central.
  • Harding averaged 8.6 yards per play, the most since averaging 10.9 per play in a 62-20 victory over East Central in 2015.
  • Harding did not punt for the first time this season and for the first time since the East Central game last season.
  • Preston Paden went 2-for-2 passing for 56 yards, the most passing yards by Harding in any of the five games against Oklahoma Baptist.
  • Cole Chancey's 233 rushing yards ranked fourth in an HU single game and were the most since Cale Gelles rushed for 257 against Arkansas Tech in 2010.
  • Chancey now has 2,983 career rushing yards to move past Jim Howard (1964-67) for third all-time at Harding. He needs 172 yards to pass Romo Westbrook for second.
  • Cory Batie's two-point defensive conversion was only the second in program history and the first since Darious Lane returned one against Ouachita Baptist in 2013.
  • The last opponent to pass for four TD against Harding was Cole Sears of Arkansas-Monticello in 2017.
  • Oklahoma Baptist had 357 total yards, snapping a streak of 16 straight games for Harding holding its opponent below 300 total yards.
  • Oklahoma Baptist’s Joshua Cornell (150 yards) is the first opponent with 150 receiving yards or more since Jalen Tolliver of Ark.-Monticello had 245 yards in 2017.

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