The Bison kicked off their first season against NCAA Division II competition this fall, returning an experienced team from their 8-3 season in 2014. OBU joined the Great American Conference while entering year two of NCAA Division II candidacy.
A senior cast includes 16 players who were part of the original leadership class that enrolled at OBU a year before the team’s first season. That leadership and maturity will be key in the transition.
“I’m asked often if this is good timing for OBU, and I think it is,” said OBU Head Coach Chris Jensen. “I think we have players on campus that are used to the transition of starting the program and now we go through another process of transitioning to another level of play.”
Last year, the Bison featured a high-octane offense that averaged 479 yards per game. The team is deep at quarterback, with Blake Woodard returning and coming off an All-Conference season, Northeastern Oklahoma transfer Dez Stegall and returning player Cooper Koons.
The backfield looks to be a strong point with All-Conference tandem Jordan Barnes and Dawson Myers joined by Jaelen Barlow. Barnes became OBU’s first 1,000-yard rusher last season, finishing the season with 1,087, while Myers added 830. A great deal of those big rushing numbers can be credited to an offensive line that returns six players with starting experience.
Defensively, the Bison return a great deal of talent, led by 2013 All-American defensive end Kimes Gilbert. Gilbert is joined on the defensive line by returning starters Ed Morgan Jr. and Gage Wimer. Returning linebackers Zack Bishop and Brynden Pitzer spearhead the linebacker group. Pitzer led the Bison with 59 tackles last season.