MONTICELLO — The University of Arkansas at Monticello football team secured its first shutout victory over a conference opponent for the first time since 1995 in defeating Arkansas Tech 34-0 on Saturday in a weather-delayed game.
The last shutout for the Weevils over a conference opponent was a 17-0 win over Mississippi College at home in UAM’s first season as a member of the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference.
Saturday’s game was delayed due to a thunderstorm for just under two hours midway through the third quarter with UAM leading 17-0.
The Weevils (3-2, 3-2 Great American Conference) held the ball for just over 12 minutes of the first period and led 7-0 with a four-yard touchdown run fromjunior Rod Smith at the 10:21 mark of the opening quarter to cap a 14-play,75-yard drive that used 4:39.
Tech (2-3, 2-2 GAC) appeared to have tied the game with 5:36 remaining in the second quarter when Ketrich Harmon broke free for a 43-yard run up the middle, but UAM senior safety Deshaun Thomas caught up to Harmon at the UAM five-yard line and forced a fumble to negate the score. Sophomore Demarcus Robinson was there to recover the loose ball.
Neither team reached the scoreboard until UAM strung together 10 quick points in the final minute of the first half. A career high-tying 43-yard field goal from freshman Jamie McGee with 58 seconds remaining put UAM up 10-0. On ATU’s ensuing possession, Demarcus Robinson tallied his third interception of theseason and returned the ball 19 yards to the ATU nine-yard line. Two plays later, UAM took a 17-0 lead on a four-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Cody Trimble to junior Austin Morgan with 16 seconds remaining until halftime.
UAM forced ATU’s third turnover of the game in the third quarter, stripping the ball away from Tech’s Deandre Bonner on a punt return to set up the Weevils at the ATU 20-yard line.
Weather became a factor at that point, as the game was delayed due to lightning in the area with UAM sitting on a fourth-and-goal situation at the one-yardline. The one-hour, fifty-five minute delay left the field at Cotton Boll Stadium drenched from a thunderstorm that passed through Monticello.
When play resumed, UAM took a 24-0 lead on the first play on a one-yard touchdown run from sophomore Nick Williams.
After forcing a three-and-out on Tech’s next possession, UAM marched 58-yards on eight plays and took a 27-0 lead on a 30-yard field goal from McGee from the hold of junior Ian Levine.
UAM capitalized on another ATU turnover in the fourth quarter to score the final touchdown. A botched ATU snap was recovered by UAM junior defensive lineman Jalen Garmon at the ATU 38-yard line.
Five plays later, UAM took its final 34-0 lead on a two-yard touchdown run from Nick Williams with 10:43 remaining in regulation.
UAM’s defense kept the shutout intact by holding the Wonder Boys on afourth-and-four situation inside the UAM 10-yard line with just over three minutes remaining and forcing a four-and-out on ATU’s final possession with just under one minute left on the clock.
The Weevils outgained ATU 392-178 and ran nearly twice as many plays at 95-53. UAM racked up a season-high 236 rushing yards on 66 attempts and added another 156 yards through the air. Tech was limited to 155 rushing yards and just 23 yards through the air.
UAM limited ATU to just one third down conversion on 12 attempts. The Weevils were 9-for-20 in the category and a perfect 5-for-5 inside the red zone.
Junior Rod Smith became the first UAM rusher to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a game this season and the first since 2008 to have at least 30 carries in a game with 32 carries for 106 yards in the win over ATU. Freshman quarterback Brett Courville added 82 yards on just 10 carries in his relief role in the second half.
Sophomore Colton Morrison led UAM’s passing attack, going 13-for-20 through the air for 118 yards. Junior Skyler Scott was the favorite target with five receptions for 57 yards. Senior Jamal Nixon and Rod Smith each added four receptions. Nixon had 42 yards and Smith had 19.
Defensively, UAM’s numbers were spread out throughout the team with sophomore George Alvarez leading the way with seven total tackles, including one tackle for a loss. Senior Calvin Ursin added six tackles in the win.
Arkansas Tech’s Logan Genz broke a Great American Conference record with 24 total tackles in his team’s loss.
The Weevils are back on the road next Saturday, October 12, to face off against the Harding University Bisons. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at First Security Stadium in Searcy.