SHAWNEE, Oklahoma - Oklahoma Baptist’s first foray into the Great American Conference Saturday pits the Bison against the Bisons of Harding University.

The 11 a.m. Saturday kickoff provides a quick test for the NCAA newcomers from OBU as Harding enters ranked No. 21. The OBU squad enters as the No. 9 team in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

The Massey Ratings have OBU as a huge underdog, picking the Bisons, 49-17. Those rankings have OBU at No. 163 of 171 schools in NCAA Division II football. Massey ranks Harding at No. 31 in Division II.

Harding features a strong running game that reeled off 371 yards rushing per game last year. The Bisons will try to repeat that without its three top rushers from last season. Zach Shelley (5-7, 185, Sophomore) looks to take over the bulk of the rushing chores after a season of 410 yards on 42 attempts last season.

HU quarterback Park Parish was largely untested last season as a back-up, completing one pass in four attempts.

Linebacker Daylan Skidmore is back to lead the Bisons after leading Harding with 56 tackles last season. Defensive end Matt McKeown (6-3, 260) also returns after leading the squad with 5.5 sacks.

For the Bison, junior quarterback Blake Woodard (1,872 yards passing) and senior receiver Derek Serowski (431 yards, 8 TD receptions) bring a dangerous combo back to Hurt Field.

The Bison list Jacob Ellis as the starting running back for Saturday. Ellis had 132 yards on 30 totes last season.

Defensive end Kimes Gilbert and linebacker Brynden Pitzer spearhead the OBU defense after leading the way with 10.5 tackles for loss apiece last season.