Photo Courtesy: Harding Athletics (David Crouch)
SEARCY, Ark.(HARDING) -- Harding's offense had its most productive game in program history and its defense posted its first Great American Conference shutout with a 69-0 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma on a perfect Saturday night at First Security Stadium.
Harding (1-1, 1-1) scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions, punted once, and then scored touchdowns on each of its next three possessions. The Bisons rolled up 692 yards of total offense, breaking the previous record of 674 against Arkansas Tech in 2007. Harding had 10 touchdowns from eight different players and averaged a school-record 10.6 yards per play.
Northwestern Oklahoma (0-2, 0-2) lost two quarterbacks to injury early in the game and used redshirt freshman L.T. Pfaff at quarterback for the game's final three quarters. The Bisons limited the Rangers to 167 total yards and forced nine punts.
Harding led 21-0 after the first quarter as junior quarterback Jacob Moore scored two rushing touchdowns and completed a 66-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Alex Rachal.
The Bisons scored three more times in the second quarter. Senior Ty Finley scored on a 3-yard run and junior D'Nico Jackson-Best broke through the middle for a 20-yard touchdown. Harding closed the first half scoring with an 8-yard fade route for a touchdown from redshirt freshman Park Parish to Rachal for his second touchdown of the game. Harding led 41-0 at halftime.
Junior Romo Westbrook opened the second half for the Bisons with a 76-yard touchdown run. He finished with 109 rushing yards on eight carries. It was his second career 100-yard rushing game. Parish made it 55-0 with an 8-yard touchdown run with 2:42 left in the third. Fourth quarter touchdown runs by sophomore Russell Ward and redshirt freshman Matthew Tenison completed Harding's scoring.
Since moving to the flexbone offense in 2011, Harding's single-game passing high was 105 yards. That came last week at Southwestern Oklahoma. Moore completed 4-of-5 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Parish came on in the second half and completed 3-of-4 for 52 yards and a touchdown to give the Bisons 238 passing yards for the game. Rachal caught three of the passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Jarion Tudman led Northwestern Oklahoma with 52 rushing yards on 10 carries, and Pfaff completed 6-of-12 passes for 83 yards.
Senior Daniel Riley led the Harding defense with eight tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Harding is off next Saturday before hosting Southern Nazarene on Sept. 28.