One of college football's most unusual rivalries takes place Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. Ouachita Baptist takes the long venture across the street to Henderson State for the 95th Battle of the Ravine.
The Tigers will make the trek by foot — across U.S. Highway 67 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas — from their campus to Carpenter-Haygood Stadium, home of the Reddies.
That's right: they walk. And it only takes about 5 minutes. Here's what you need to know about Saturday's rivalry.
1. The Battle of the Ravine is a clash of next-door neighbors
These two teams are as close as it gets. Henderson State's Carpenter-Haygood Stadium is a driver and 3-iron away from Ouachita Baptist's Cliff Harris Stadium. Per NCAA.com's Mike Lopresti, the golf coach has done it, playing shots from one end zone to the other.
If you walk from football field to football field, you won't even break a sweat. It's only 3,696 feet or just 0.7 miles depending on your preference of measurement. In fact, if the games are scheduled just right, both teams can probably scout each other without leaving the press box.
2. Henderson State at Ouachita Baptist is an old-school rivalry
These two certainly know each other very well. Saturday's meeting will be the 95th Battle of the Ravine. The first game was in 1895, but Henderson State was Arkansas Methodist College back then. The series began as HSU vs. OBU in 1907 and — despite a 12-year hiatus due to prank wars by the schools — the 95 meetings place ninth all-time when it comes to DII football's most-played rivalries.
DII HISTORY: More on the 11 most-played rivalries in DII football
After 94 meetings, Ouachita Baptist has the slightest advantage. Ouachita has won the last five meetings, including in 2017 when Ouachita snapped the Reddies' longest road winning streak in DII football history at 31 games at Cliff Harris Stadium.
DII FLASHBACK: Why no one wanted to play Henderson State on the road
One additional fun fact between the two. Ouachita Baptist won its 27th-conference game in a row in the 2019 Battle of the Ravine. That tied the record of 27 set by none other than Henderson State from 2011-2014.
3. This game has 2022 DII football championship tournament implications
We got a pair of AFCA top 25 teams going head-to-head in one of the best games of the season. Ouachita Baptist has been a top-10 team all season and currently holds the No. 4 spot in Super Region Three. That Super Region is arguably the tightest battle, and even though the Tigers are GAC champions, a loss to the Reddies could see them slip. That would mean potentially losing a home game.
UNDER-THE-RADAR RIVALRIES: 11 NCAA rivalries you may not know, but should
The Reddies are 8-2 and on the outside of the regional rankings looking in. While it is highly unlikely, because of the way matchups have fallen this final weekend of 2022, a Henderson State win (and several other losses) could at least propel them into the top 10 of Super Region Four.
Xavier Malone has been one of the best receivers in DII football for the Reddies. He has 1,244 yards and 13 touchdowns coming in. Opposite him, Harlon Hill candidate TJ Cole (1,526 yards, 23 touchdowns) and Kendel Givens (912 yards, 12 touchdowns) are arguably the best backfield in all DII.
A nationally ranked battle, superstar power, and a possible home game in the playoffs on the line? The 2014 game set the GAC record as 12,228 fans of the Ravine piled into Carpenter-Haygood Stadium. Let's see if this one breaks it.