Henderson State will travel for the third straight year to Searcy as the Reddies face Harding on Saturday at First Security Stadium with kickoff slated for 2 p.m.
It will be Henderson’s toughest challenge of the season thus far, as the Bisons have the top rushing offense in the nation, averaging 403.3 yards per game. It will also be Homecoming for Harding with the Bisons having a 35-16-1 record in homecoming contests.
Henderson State is coming off a 45-14 win over Arkansas Tech at the Boomtown Classic in El Dorado.
Henderson’s explosive offense averages a GAC best 596.6 yards and 56.6 points per game. Kevin Rodgers, a two-time National Player of the Week selection, averages 392.0 yards passing per game and has tossed 23 touchdowns.
Last year against the Bisons, Rodgers completed 30-of-44 passes
for 466 yards and five touchdowns. Rodgers has a record of 21-2 as Henderson’s starting quarterback.
Darius Davis is second in the GAC in receiving, averaging 113.7 yards per game. The junior from Frisco, Texas, caught three passes for 56 yards and had touchdown receptions of 26 and 18 yards last year. Robert Jordan, Henderson’s all-time leader in receiving yards, has compiled 634 yards on 43 receptions and six scores this year. Last year Jordan had two catches for 45 yards against Harding. Dustin Holland is averaging 65.1 yards receiving per game. Against the Bisons in 2013, Holland totaled 164 yards on 10 receptions.
The Reddies lead the GAC in total defense allowing 292.7 yards per contest.
Keaton Stigger leads the GAC with 74 stops including 8.5 for lost yardage. Stigger also leads the GAC in rushing touchdowns with 10 scores.
Harding is coming off a last minute 36-33 win last week at Ouachita Baptist.
The Bisons rank fifth nationally in scoring averaging 47.0 points per game. Harding has scored 63 or more points in each of its three home games and has won five straight home games dating back to last year’s 38-10 setback to Henderson State.
The Bisons rank second in the GAC in total offense averaging 532 yards per game. Harding has one of the most dynamic running backs in the league in Romo Westbrook. The junior from Marion, Ark. averages 101.3 yards per game and has scored seven touchdowns. In last year’s game against the Reddies, Westbrook had five carries for 45 yards. Westbrook is just one of many talented runners for the Bisons. D’Nico Jackson-Best averages 41.2 yards per game and has scored three touchdowns, while Ahmad Scott averages 39.2 yards.
Keenan Kellett has been the Bison starting quarterback the last four games. Kellett has completed 12-of-30 passes for 347 yards with two touchdowns. Kellett is also a threat to run the ball having averaged 32 yards per game and has scored six times.
Donatella Luckett is Harding’s top receiver having eight catches for 279 yards this year. Luckett caught a game-winning 74-yard touchdown last week against OBU.
Harding’s defense allows just 345 yards and 20.8 points per game. The Bison defense have limited their opponents to just 99.3 yards rushing per game.
Linebacker Daylan Skidmore leads the team in tackles with 48, while linebacker Jordan Cantrell has compiled 31 tackles including 3.5 sacks. Free safety Philip Mion will also be a player to watch. Mion had two interceptions, both in the red zone, last week against Ouachita Baptist and was named GAC Defensive Player of the Week. Mion has 27 tackles this season.
Harding is coached by Ronnie Huckaba who is in his seventh season at the helm in Searcy posting a 35-32 record.
Harding and Henderson State meet for the 49th time in a series which dates back to 1926.
The Reddies lead the series 30-17-1 including having won three straight against the Bisons. Henderson has a 9-13-1 record in games played in Searcy. Harding has won six of the last eight meetings against the Reddies in games played at First Security Stadium.
This year will mark the fourth time that Henderson has been Harding’s homecoming opponent with all three of the previous meetings coming in the last 10 years. Henderson is 0-3 as Harding’s homecoming opponent.