LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Concluding the non-conference portion of the 2017 football season, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, for a 2 p.m. matchup on Oct. 14 with the Arkansas Baptist College Buffaloes at Little Rock’s Verizon Wireless Field at historic Central High School's Quigley Cox Stadium.
Since the creation of the Arkansas Baptist program in 2006, the Golden Norsemen have won nine of the 12 games played in the series with coach Richard Wilson’s Buffaloes.
Last season the independent Buffaloes finished 3-7 on the season. Traveling to Red Robertson Field, Arkansas Baptist suffered a 74-6 beatdown at the hands of the Golden Norsemen.
NEO shattered seven offensive school records against the Buffaloes while placekicker Dalton Witherspoon became the leading kicker with a 59-yard field goal.
During the first two quarters the Norsemen constructed a 40-0 lead. Arkansas Baptist broke the shutout with a touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Three NEO quarterbacks completed 41 of 56 passes for 466 yards as the Golden Norsemen averaged 8.2 yards each play.
Tailback Darwin Thompson rushed for 101 yards on only six carries and scored two rushing touchdowns as the Norsemen amassed a record 690 total offensive yards.
Arkansas Baptist managed only 110 yards on 34 carries on the ground and 199 yards via the pass.
During the first two quarters the Buffaloes’ ground game was limited to minus-22 yards on 17 carries.
Dominic Williams rushed for 146 yards on 14 carries and one TD to lead ABC’s ground game while quarterback Stedman Lanigan completed 13 of 36 passes for 199 yards and two interceptions.
During last spring and the July workout sessions, the Buffaloes returned a nucleus of 31 sophomores among 123 prospects.
ABC hopes to get more production from an offense that averaged a mere 166.6 yards per game. The Buffaloes were limited to 8.1 yards per carry on the ground.
Lanigan (6-0, 210 from Duncanville, Texas) returns to the controls of the Arkansas Baptist offense. As a freshman, Lanigan completed 24 of 58 passes for 468 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions.
Redshirt freshman Kylan Whiting (6-1, 185 from West Memphis, Arkansas) is challenging Lanigan after sitting out last year with a sprained ankle.
Bolstering the Arkansas Baptist ground game is the return of Dominic Williams (5-8, 185 from Crossett, Arkansas). Williams led the Buffs with 681 yards on 94 carries and six TDs. He also caught eight passes for 114 yards and two TDs.
Another returnee in the Buffs backfield is Trey Burks (5-11, 235 from Stamps, Arkansas). Predominately a blocker in the backfield, Burks gained 69 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown.
Returning at a wide out position for the Buffaloes is sophomore Brushawn Hunter (5-8, 175 from Bryant, Arkansas). Last season Hunter caught 11 passes for 110 yards and three TDs.
Veteran Keyshawn Johnson (6-2, 180 from Houston, Texas) made 10 receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Redshirt freshman Kenyatti Marricks (5-8, 175 from Miami, Florida) returned as a wide receiver in the spring after missing last year with an injury.
Graduation decimated the Buffaloes defensive front with the loss of four starters along with three in the secondary.
Returning at ends with limited experience are Martez Modica (6-2, 255 from El Dorado, Arkansas) and Trenelius Craddock (6-2, 245 from Atlanta, Georgia).
Modica recorded 21 unassisted tackles and 36 assists as a part-time starter in nine games. He also made four quarterback sacks for minus-13 yards.
Craddock appeared in seven games and posted 14 solo tackles and 26 assists with two quarterback sacks for minus-28 yards.
Turq Seahorn returns at nose tackle for Arkansas Baptist after recording 17 unassisted tackles and 22 assists.
Veterans Cedarrius Blackmon, Cortez Tipton and Ronald Martin comprise the Buffaloes linebacking corps.
Blackmon (5-11, 215 from Canton, Mississippi) led the ABC defense with 56 solo tackles and 31 assists.
Tipton (6-3, 200 from Detroit, Michigan) recorded 46 unassisted tackles and 28 assists with five quarterback sacks for minus-39 yards.
Martin (6-0, 200 from New Orleans, Louisiana) made 19 solo tackles and 14 assists in six games.
The lone returnee at the back end of the Arkansas Baptist secondary is Joshua Manning (5-11, 185 from Rocky Mountain, North Carolina). As a freshman, Manning recorded 11 deflected passes, three pass interceptions, 17 unassisted tackles and 11 assists.