SHAWNEE, Okla. — The 19th-ranked Ouachita Baptist University football team opened the 2022 season on Thursday night in the rain with a 42-32 win on the road over Oklahoma Baptist.
It was the 15th consecutive win for the Tigers in season openers and the eighth consecutive win over Oklahoma Baptist, keeping Ouachita undefeated against the Bison in the Great American Conference era.
The Tigers were limited offensively in the first half to just two scores, but a stingy defense left Ouachita with a 14-12 lead at the break. Of Oklahoma Baptist’s eight offensive possessions in the first half, Ouachita’s defense camp up with one interception, one fourth down stop, one drive with only a field goal allowed, and four drives forcing a Bison punt.
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, the Tigers offense found a rhythm to score two touchdowns in each quarter throughout the rest of the game.
Ouachita picked up right where it left off last year, dominating the running game with a final total of 406 rushing yards, led by a pair of 100-yard rushers. Senior TJ Cole had 20 carries for 176 yards. Sophomore Kendel Givens added 142 yards on 13 carries. Both had two rushing touchdowns. Givens added a receiving touchdown to his totals, a 42-yard score to put the Tigers up 14-12 late in the second quarter.
TJ Cole scored Ouachita’s first touchdown of the season early in the second quarter with a 16-yard score to cap a 10-play, 63-yard drive.
He also had a 33-yard score early in the third quarter to give Ouachita a 21-12 lead.
The third quarter ended with a lightning delay that paused the game for 30 minutes, but the storm did not slow down the Tiger offense. Givens busted loose down the sideline for a 47-yard score on the first play following the delay, which was also the first play of the fourth quarter.
Backup quarterback Eli Livingston also found success on the ground, finding room down the middle of the field on a third-and-long for a 39-yard rushing score to put the Tigers up 42-12.
The Bison did not relent down 30, scoring 20 unanswered points to finish out the fourth quarter, but Ouachita’s cushion proved to be enough to hold off the late rally.
Trey Proctor was responsible for Ouachita’s forced turnover, coming up with an interception in the second quarter and returning it 17 yards. Terrell Gibson was the Tigers’ leading tackler with 10 total stops, including two tackles for loss. Andrew Hayes had a productive night at cornerback, registering six tackles and breaking up three Bison passes. Josiah Johnson came up with two big sacks in the game, setting the Bison back a combined 15 yards.
The Tigers will play Southern Nazarene next Saturday, September 10 for the first of five homes games this season at Cliff Harris Stadium. Next Saturday’s kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
From Ouachita Baptist Tigers Athletics Communications