RUSSELLVILLE, — The Arkansas Tech football team had the breakthrough the game that they had been so close to having on Saturday evening as they completely dominated Northwestern Oklahoma on both sides of the ball en route to a 44-21 win over NWOSU in front of a Family Day crowd out at Simmons Bank Field at Thone Stadium.
In the victory, the Wonder Boys racked up 532 yards of total offense using a balanced and efficient attack that saw Tech have 297 yards passing and 235 yards on the ground. The passing yards and rushing yards were both season-highs for the Tech offense as was the total offensive output.
At the helm of the offensive explosion was quarterback Taye Gatewood. The senior signal-caller was nearly perfect in the game as he completed 19-of-20 passes for 254 yards. Four of his completions found the endzone as he had passing TDs to Cooper Smith, Adam Cousins, Joyrion Chase and Caleb Tanis.
The four touchdown passes are a career high for Gatewood. His previous high was three against East Central last season. All four of his TD passes on Saturday against NWOSU were at least 20 yards. The longest was a 61-yard catch and run by Caleb Tanis late in the second quarter.
After the TD to Tanis, the Wonder Boys got the ball back with 49 seconds left for one final drive before the end of the half. Tech would move the ball with relative ease down to the NWOSU 17-yardline before attempting a 34-yard field goal by Austin Hosier as the clock expired on the half; giving the Wonder Boys a 30-7 lead heading into the locker room.
Tech would receive the ball first in the second half after winning the toss and electing to defer to the second half.
That initial drive of the third quarter was a lesson in dominance as the Wonder Boys ate up 7:13 of the game clock on 13 plays. The final play of that drive was an eight-yard rushing score by Jordan Edington.
The final score for the Wonder Boys came in the fourth quarter when Tanis hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game, this one from the right arm of backup quarterback Stran Smith. Tanis' second TD was his fourth of the season and made the score 44-14 in favor of Tech.
NWOSU would score late in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 44-21.
The Wonder Boys will now look to keep the momentum going next Saturday as they hit the road for Weatherford, Oklahoma to take on Southwestern Oklahoma. The game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.