UAM Boll Weevils (0-0) at ECU Tigers (0-0)
Saturday, Norris Field, Ada, Okla., 6 p.m.
The UAM Boll Weevils team kicks off their 101st season of football this Saturday, September 7 on the road against the East Central University Tigers. Throughout the first 100 seasons in program history, UAM has racked up 43-55-4 record in season openers, including last year’s 78-0 win over College of Faith inside Cotton Boll Stadium.
10 Conference Games
The third season of football in the Great American Conference brings a new challenge for the nine charter members and two provisional squads. For the first time in UAM football history, the Boll Weevils will play 10 games that count in the conference standings. The previous record was nine conference games. The Boll Weevils played eight conference games last year and six conference games in 2011. The lone non-conference game for UAM this year is a matchup with Lindenwood-Belleville at home on October 19. LU-B out of Illinois, is beginning its second year of football, and is a member of the NAIA.
Third Straight Trip to Ada
This Saturday’s game marks the third straight season for UAM to visit Ada, Okla. to take on East Central at Norris Field. With new teams being added to the GAC, conference scheduling has changed each year. Next year will be ECU’s first trip to Monticello since the forming of the GAC. ECU was victorious in the first two meetings against the Weevils, taking a 34-9 decision in 2011 and a 31-17 decision in the 2012 season.
The Boll Weevils
The Boll Weevils enter the 2013 season with 38 lettermen and 15 starters returning from last year’s 1-10 squad. Among the top returners is senior receiver Jamal Nixon, who was UAM’s lone all-conference performer last season. Nixon had a team-high 59 receptions for 771 yards and five touchdowns last year. Ivory Washington will make the switch from receiver to the starting running back this season. Washington was fifth on the team last season with 393 all-purpose yards. UAM signed four quarterbacks during the offseason to replace the injury-plagued position from a season ago. Sophomore transfer Colton Morrison has earned the starting spot out of preseason camp… On the defensive side of the ball, UAM returns its top six players in terms of tackles, led by junior strong safety Anthony Hughes with a total of 60 tackles during the 2012 season. Also returning is junior nose guard Jalen Garmon, who totaled seven tackles for a loss and led the team with 4.5 sacks last year… Among the top newcomers this year is freshman kicker Jamie McGee, who was an all-state performer at Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La. a season ago. McGee holds 14 of Barbe’s 15 kicking records.
Scouting the Tigers
East Central loses 10 award winners from its 6-5 2012 team, and returns a total of 12 starters, including senior defensive back Fred Gaines, who was a Daktronics Super Region No. 3 Second Team Selection as well as an All-GAC first teamer following the 2012 season. Gaines totaled seven interceptions last year. Quarterback Spencer Bond returns for the Tigers. Bond threw for 1,141 yardswith eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. ECU was picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches poll.
The Boll Weevils are led by third-year head coach Hud Jackson, who has compiled a 6-16 record throughout his first two seasons in Monticello. Jackson led the 2011 Weevils to a 5-6 finish and a fourth place finish in the GAC. Jackson followed with a 1-10 finish in the 2012 season. Prior to UAM, Jackson spent six years as assistant head coach at Central Arkansas following a 13-year high-school coaching career in his home state of Louisiana, most recently the head football coach and athletic director at Central Catholic High School in Morgan City… ECU is led by Tim McCarty, who is in his fifth season of his second stint as head coach of the Tigers. McCarty sports a 48-54 overall record in 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach. He has a 28-36 record as head coach of ECU. McCarty began his coaching career at Tabor College in Kansas in 2000 and was hired at ECU for the first time before the 2003 season. McCarty left ECU prior to the 2005 season to become the assistant head coach at Kansas State, where he served for three seasons, before returning to Ada. McCarty led the Tigers to the 2010 Lone Star Conference-North Division championship in 2010 and helped the Tigers record its most successful season since 1993 with an 8-3 record in the 2011 season.
Last year, ECU took a 31-17 victory over UAM in Ada, Okla. at Norris Field in the fourth week of the season. UAM pulled to within three points at 20-17 with 2:06 remaining on a 2-yard touchdown passfrom Damon Wicker to Skyler Scott. UAM had a chance to take its first lead after forcing ECU to punt on the next possession, but an interception on the first play of the drive allowed the Tigers to take over at the UAM 20-yard line. ECU rattled off 11 unanswered points throughout the rest of the game to seal its third straight win over UAM.
GAC Preseason Poll
The Boll Weevils were picked to finish ninth of 11 teams in the 2013 Great American Conference preseason coaches poll. Henderson State was picked as the league’s favorite after an undefeated 2012 regular season. The Reddies received 10 of the 11 first-place votes for first place in the preseason poll. Southern Arkansas earned the other first place vote and received 85 poll points for a second place prediction. 2012 playoffs qualifier Harding followed in third at 83 points, Ouachita Baptist was picked fourth at 73 points, East Central was picked fifth at 65 points, Southeastern Oklahoma State was picked sixth at 49 points, Southwestern Oklahoma State was picked seventh at 47 points and Arkansas Tech was picked eighth at 37 points. The Weevils received 31 poll points for a ninth place prediction, followed by Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene at the bottom of the poll with 18 and 17 points, respectively.