The Harding Bisons will try to improve to 2-0 when they meet 1-0 Southeastern Oklahoma at Paul Laird Field in Durant, Oklahoma, today. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
Harding beat East Central 28-0 in Week 1 while Southeastern beat Arkansas Tech 38-20 in Russellville.
Harding running back Cole Chancey rushed for 102 yards against East Central and surpassed Ouachita Baptist’s Kris Oliver as the GAC’s career rushing leader. Chancey has 3,775 career rushing yards.
Chancey scored three rushing TD vs. East Central to run his career total to 45, tying Park Parish (2012-15) for Harding’s career lead.
Chancey is the NCAA Division II active leader in rushing yards (3,775) and rushing TD (45).
Harding’s defense recorded its seventh all-time shutout in a season opener with the 28-0 victory over East Central. It was the first since a 20-0 win over Southern Arkansas in 2010. Harding’s defense had four interceptions, four sacks and one fumble recovery. Harding and Delta State were the only D2 teams with four interceptions in their opening game.
Harding leads the series with Southeastern Oklahoma 24-7 and has won the last nine, including the last five in Durant.
Harding is ranked No. 17 in the AFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Bisons moved up five spots from No. 22 in the preseason poll. Harding is No. 12 in the D2Football.com poll. Southeastern Oklahoma is not ranked.
Harding enters on a 11-game GAC winning streak, dating to a 16-14 loss to Ouachita Baptist on Sept. 5, 2019.
Harding will play its second of six road games, traveling to Magnolia to take on Southern Arkansas. The Bisons have won eight of the last nine meetings between the teams in Magnolia.
Paul Simmons begins his fourth season as head coach at Harding. He has a 31-9 overall record and led Harding to the NCAA II Playoffs in each of his first three seasons, including a spot in the national semifinals in 2017. He is in his 15th season at Harding and had been Harding’s defensive coordinator for the previous seven seasons. Simmons was a three-time All-American defensive end and linebacker at Harding from 1992-94.
Tyler Fenwick (New Mexico ‘99) has a 39-39 (.500) career record in nine seasons as a collegiate coach and a 2-10 record in two seasons at Southeastern Oklahoma. He coached at Missouri S&T from 2013-2018 and went 37-29 (.561).
Harding and Southeastern Oklahoma are meeting for the 32nd time with the Bisons leading the series 24-7. Harding has won the last nine and 11 of the last 12. Southeastern’s last win was 41-27 in Durant in 1999. Paul Simmons led teams are 3-0 vs. Southeastern Oklahoma.
Harding was 5-2 (5-1 GAC) on the road in 2019, 18-5 on the road under Simmons,
Harding was 5-0 at home in 2019, 12-4 at home under Simmons and 41-12 on the road since 2012. Southeastern Oklahoma was 0-6 at home in 2019 and looking to snap a seven-game home losing streak.
College football’s top rushing team was on display on Nov. 9, 2019, as the 16th-ranked Harding Bisons rushed for 462 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over Southeastern Oklahoma at Paul Laird Field.
The victory was the ninth straight for Harding, who improved to 9-1 overall and in the GAC. It was also Harding’s ninth straight win over Southeastern Oklahoma, who lost its eighth straight and fell to 1-9.
With the game tied 14-14 at halftime, Harding took the lead for good with an eight-play, 71-yard drive to open the second half that ended with a 1-yard TD run from Cole Chancey.
Slot back Taylor Bissell scored Harding’s last TD midway through the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run. Bissell rushed for a career-high 162 yards on seven carries with two TD. It was his first career 100-yard rushing game. Chancey also eclipsed the 100-yard barrier, rushing for 120 yards on 25 carries.
Streaks, Trends and Records
In 2019, Harding led NCAA Division II in rushing offense (373.6), team passing efficiency (224.68), scoring defense (12.3), 4th down conversion pct. (75%), 4th down conversion pct. defense (0 percent) and net punting (41.92) and was second in time of possession (34:45).
Harding had four interceptions and four sacks against East Central in the opener. The last time Harding had at least four of each in a game was in 2018, when Harding had four interceptions and five sacks against Southeastern Oklahoma.
Senior fullback Cole Chancey has 3,775 career rushing yards, good for second at HU. He needs 440 yards to pass Alan Dixon (4,214, 1970-73) for the Harding record. Chancey has 45 career rushing TD and needs one more to pass Park Parish (45, 2012-16) for the Harding record.
Over the last seven-plus seasons, Harding has 368 rushing TD and allowed only 68. During that time, Harding has rushed for 30,865 yards and allowed only 7,402.
Harding has outscored its opponents 368-99 in the first quarter of games over the last three-plus seasons.
A Quick Look at Southeastern Oklahoma
In Southeastern Oklahoma’s 38-20 win over Arkansas Tech, the Savage Storm compiled 531 total yards, the most by a GAC team in the opening week of the season.
Junior Connor Swope ranks third among active D2 players with 10.35 tackles per game. He has 207 career tackles, good for 27th among active D2 players.