The East Central University football team will head to Searcy, Arkansas, to face its second ranked opponent of the 2019 season, battling Harding at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Tiger Quick Hits
• Saturday will mark the fourth straight game against a team that is ranked or receiving votes.
• Tailback Ontario Douglas became the 15th player to join ECU’s 2,000 Yard Rushers List. He has 2,074 career rushing yards and sits in the No. 14 spot. He’s the first to join the list since King Bennett (2,031) after his 2004-05 career.
• The Tigers dropped a 49-7 decision to No. 23 Harding last year. Senior Dilland Gardner had one reception for 16 yards and scored the Tigers’ lone TD. Tyson Jones contributed 9 rushes for 39 yards, and RJ Williams had six total tackles.
• East Central went 6-5 in three of its first four seasons in the GAC but is 7-34 over the last four seasons.
• The Tigers are the only GAC team to block three punts this season.
About the Bisons
• The Bisons are seeking their eighth straight win. (It would be Harding’s fifth winning streak of eight games or longer). The game features the top two rushers in the Great American Conference. HU’s Cole Chancey leads the GAC with 981 rushing yards, and ECU’s Ontario Douglas is second with 977 rushing yards.
• Harding is part of a three-way tie for second place in the GAC, one game back of leader Ouachita Baptist. East Central (1-7) has lost five straight overall and four straight on the road.
• Harding and East Central are meeting for the 18th time, with the Bisons leading the series 14-3. Harding has won the last seven overall and all nine meetings in Searcy.
• Paul Simmons is in his third season as head coach at Harding. He has a 27-8 overall record and led Harding to the NCAA II Playoffs both seasons, including a spot in the national semifinals in 2017. He is in his 14th season at Harding and had been Harding’s defensive coordinator for the previous seven seasons. Simmons was a three-time All-American defensive end and linebacker at Harding from 1992-94.
• Harding rushed for 564 yards, the second most in program history, during last year’s win over the Tigers.
• Senior Jacory Nichols enters the game as the GAC’s leader in combined kick return yardage with 474 yards. He has 258 yards on kickoffs and 216 on punts. Nichols ranks second in the GAC and sixth in D2 with 15.4 yards per punt return.
• Harding has scored 45 or more points in its last three games.
Ada News Sports Editor Jeff Cali and Harding sports information director Scott Goode contributed to this report.