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Game Box: No. 8 Reddies at Rangers

No. 8 Henderson State Reddies at Northwestern Oklahoma Rangers

Ranger Field, Alva, Okla., Saturday, 1 p.m.

Media: hsusports.com

LONGEST ROAD TRIP OF THE YEAR: Henderson State will make its longest road trip of the year as the 8th-ranked Reddies travel nearly 500 miles to Alva, Okla., to face Northwestern Oklahoma. It will mark the second time the teams have met with Northwestern winning 56-7 in 2002. It will be Henderson’s first-ever trip to Alva.

REDDIE REPORT: Henderson State will attempt to run its streak to 19 straight regular-season wins against Division II institutions. The last D2 regular-season loss was a 34-31 loss to top-ranked Delta State on Sept. 24, 2011.

Henderson’s explosive offense averages 697.3 yards and 66 points per game. Kevin Rodgers, a two-time National Player of the Week selection, averages 456.8 yards passing per game and has tossed 16 touchdowns. Last week against East Central, Rodgers threw for a HSU and GAC record 595 yards, completed 42-of-50 passes and had four touchdowns. Rodgers has a record of 18-2 as Henderson’s starting quarterback.

Darius Davis continues to lead the GAC in receiving averaging 130.0 yards per game. The junior from Frisco, Texas caught four passes for 100 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns last week against ECU. Dustin Holland follows with 382 yards on 23 receptions for an average of 16.6 yards per catch. Holland led HSU last week with 10 catches for 126 yards. Robert Jordan has compiled 377 yards on 24 receptions and three scores. The native of Miami, Fla. needs 110 receiving yards to become HSU’s all-time leading receiver.

Ryan McDonald continues to lead the GAC in rushing averaging 108.8 yards per game. McDonald totaled 101 yards last week against ECU. The Reddies are second in the GAC in total defense allowing 321.5 yards per contest. Keaton Stigger leads the GAC with 39 stops including 6.5 for lost yardage. Ricardo Mendez follows Stigger with 29 tackles and has 5.5 tackles for lost yardage to his credit.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern Oklahoma is coming off a 47-14 loss to the hands of Southern Arkansas last week. The Rangers are in their first full season as members of the Great American Conference.

Offensively, the Rangers are last in the GAC in total offense averaging just 252.5 yards per game. Northwestern averages 11.0 points per contest.

Northwestern has used two quarterbacks this season. L.T. Pfaff has completed 30-of-53 passes for 441 yards with two touchdowns this season.

Reid Miller has completed 18-of-49 attempts for 155 yards. Javari Liggins leads the team in rushing, averaging 52.8 yards per game. Jarion Tudman follows, rushing for 31.0 yards per contest. Only two receivers for the Rangers have over 100 yards this season.

Montrell Logan is the top receiver having eight catches for 131 yards, while Cameron Allen has caught six passes for 105 yards.

The Ranger defense ranks ninth in total defense in the GAC allowing 490.2 yards per game. Northwestern is giving up 44.0 points per game. The team has recorded only five quarterback sacks this season and is allowing 268.5 yards passing per game.

The unit is led by LaRon Mitchell who has 27 tackles this season to go along with a pair of tackles for lost yardage. Kollin Retter is another player to watch having 22 stops including three for losses.

Northwestern Oklahoma is coached by Alan Hall who is in his second season at the helm. Hall has a 4-11 record at NWOSU.

THE SERIES VS. NORTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA: Northwestern Oklahoma and Henderson State meet for just the second time. The first meeting came on August 31, 2002 when the Rangers beat the Reddies 56-7. In that game, NWOSU totaled 562 yards of offense. Kelcey Williams rushed for 97 yards and 3 scores, while HSU was led by Blake Christenson with 64 yards and a touchdown.

LAST TIME OUT: Kevin Rodgers set a Henderson State record throwing for 595 yards as the 8th-ranked Reddies beat East Central Oklahoma 63-31.

Rodgers completed 42-of-50 passes and had touchdown strikes of 28, 32, 41, and 28 yards. His final scoring toss gave him the Reddie record which also was a Great American Conference record surpassing Tyler Sykora’s mark of 520 set Oct. 22, 2011 against Ouachita Baptist.

The Rockwall, Texas product eclipsed HSU’s Chris Reil who threw for 579 yards against Arkansas Tech in 2000.

East Central, at one time, led 17-14 scoring 10 points off of Reddie turnovers in the first quarter. Henderson State, however, scored 28 second quarter points while the defense shutout the Tigers to build a 42-17 halftime lead.

Keaton Stigger opened the second half with touchdown runs of 3 and 1 yard to put Henderson State up 56-17 before East Central added a pair touchdowns benefitting on another Reddie turnover.

Rodgers’ last pass of the game was a 28-yard scoring strike to Justin Bradford.

Ryan McDonald, the GAC’s top rusher, carried the ball 12 times and totaled 101 yards while scoring on touchdown runs of 32 and 29 yards.

Darius Davis had four catches for 100 yards and touchdown receptions of 28 and 41 yards. Davis set the HSU career record for touchdown receptions surpassing Garett Manning’s record of 16 scores set from 2005 to 2008. Davis now has 18 career touchdown receptions.

Dustin Holland led the Reddie receivers with 126 yards on 10 receptions, while Israel Valentin had 5 catches for 97 yards.

Stigger also had a big game defensively totaling 14 tackles including 1.5 tackles for lost yardage. Tim Llewellyn and Ricardo Mendez both had 8 tackles with Mendez having 3.5 tackles for lost yardage.

The Reddies compiled 746 yards of total offense, averaging 9.1 yards per play, while East Central collected 418 yards.

THE NATIONAL POLLS: Henderson State remained at No. 8 in the latest American Football Coaches

Association Poll following its 63-31 win over East Central Oklahoma.

Henderson State, 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Great American Conference are ranked No. 8 in the Beyond College Sports Network poll.

D2Football.com released its poll on Tuesday and the Reddies moved up one spot to No. 9. Henderson’s highest-ever ranking at the NCAA level was No.6 at the end of the 2012 regular-season.

STILL THE MOST EXCITING 2 MINUTES IN SPORTS: Despite averaging 1:58 per scoring drive last week against East Central Oklahoma, Henderson State’s average scoring drive this season is 1:51.

Of Henderson’s 38 scoring drives this season, 24 have taken less than 2 minutes. Eight drives have been less than a minute with the shortest being 10 seconds. Henderson’s longest drive (time of possession) was 4:41 last week against East Central. The drive consisted of 12 and covered 65 yards.

THE REDDIE TRAIN, ROLLING ON: Henderson State has one of the most prolific offenses in college football. The Reddies are averaging 697.3 yards per game with the next closest in Division II being Pittsburg State at 605.0 yards per game. Baylor (FBS) is the only team that averages more offense than the Reddies at 751.3 yards per game. Eastern Illinois leads the FCS division, averaging 598.0 yards of offense, while East Texas Baptist leads Division III averaging 595.3 yards.

EVERY TRAIN NEEDS A LOCOMOTOR: He has been a force on defense the last three years, but Keaton Stigger can also play offense. The two-time first team All-GAC linebacker has been called on to carry the ball in short yardage situations. In just two weeks, the Collierville, Tenn. product has carried the ball seven times for 18 yards. Of the seven rushing attempts, Stigger has scored six touchdowns. Stigger leads the GAC in rushing touchdowns as well as tackles.

NEXT: Southwestern Oklahoma at Henderson State, Carpenter-Haygood Stadium, 3 p.m. (Homecoming)

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