The tenth ranked University of North Alabama football team will be looking to rebound this Saturday against Ouachita Baptist after suffering a 5-0 loss at home last Thursday against Valdosta State. The loss ended UNA streaks of having scored in 107 consecutive games and having scored in 76 consecutive home games. The loss also dropped the Lions from third to tenth in the latest NCAA Division II poll. But with four games left on the regular season slate, and with UNA in a four-way tie for the Gulf South Conference lead with just one conference loss, the Lions know their dreams of a GSC title and NCAA playoff berth are still within reach.
The Lions (6-1) will be facing a 4-2 Ouachita Baptist team that is coming off a win over Arkansas Tech last Saturday, and is also playing at home for the first time since Sept. 25. While the game is OBU's Homecoming for 2010, the game will be a real Homecoming for the Tigers as they have played two road games and then had an open date since a Sept. 25 win over Harding at home.
UNA has faced Ouachita Baptist the least of any of the GSC's Arkansas members. The two schools have met just six times, with UNA holding a 4-2 advantage. The last meeting between the two was in 2007. UNA is 2-1 against the Tigers in Arkadelphia and won on its last trip here, 47-10 in 2006.
North Alabama has a current 27-game winning streak against schools from the state of Arkansas. The Lions last loss to an Arkansas school was to Central Arkansas back in the 2005 regular season - 29-26 in two overtimes on Sept. 29, 2005. During UNA's 26-game winning streak over Arkansas schools, the Lions have outscored them 1,100 to 384 for an average score of 41-15.
UNA's defense has done its part this season and leads Division II, alowing just 5.86 points per game. UNA is the only Division II school giving up less than 10 points per game this season. Only one team has rushed for 100 yards against UNA this season and no team has gained 300 yards of total offense against the Lions this season. The Lions have only allowed four touchdowns (2 rushing and 2 passing) and four field goals in seven games. UNA is even more stingy in the second half, having given up just nine points and no touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters combined all season. UNA has outscored its opponents 85-9 in the second half this season.
As the Lions look to get their 2010 season back on track, they can look to the history of the program for inspiration. UNA's last previous shutout at home was also against Valdosta State, 21-0 in 1997. The Lions rebounded from that loss by defeating Division I Louisiana-Lafayette on the road the following week 48-42 in four overtimes. UNA went on to win its last six regular-season games that season and made the playoffs.
Kickoff for Saturday's game in Arkadelphia, Ark., is set for 1 p.m. at A.U. WIlliams Field.