This game will be decided by the defense. Not a shut down defense, but an opportunistic one that gets the most stops and/or turnovers.
The ACU defense seems to be getting worse as the season progresses and there are a couple of possible reasons:
First - They are wearing down. Look at the first 6 weeks, and then the past 4 weeks.
- Scoring from 16.3 to 40.8 (from 3rd to 7th in LSC)
- Run D from 144 to 156 (from 10th to 8th)
- Pass D from 162 to 373 (from 2nd to 11th)
- Total D from 306 to 530 (from 4th to 8th)
The same thing happened last year.
- Scoring from 9.8 to 36.8 (from 1st to 6th in LSC)
- Run D from 111 to 154 (from 3rd to 7th)
- Pass D from 129 to 277 (from 1st to 8th)
- Total D from 240 to 431 (from 1st to 7th)
Second, they are playing better offenses. Either way, it does not bode well for the ACU defense.
The Midwestern State defense leads the LSC in yards allowed and scoring. Some cracks appeared in the WTAM and Tarleton games, but they have held up much better than the Wildcats. Then again, the ACU offense is likely to be the best they have faced all season. The Mustangs need to control the ACU rushing game. The Wildcats have been held to under 100 yds rushing 3 times this year - losses to ACU and WT, and the blowout win over NSU where Scott played sparingly.
Midwestern currently holds a 3 game winning streak over ACU, winning by an average score of 37-26. They've been able to run the ball very well (269 yds per game) and pass well enough (168 yds per game). With the way the Wildcat defense has played lately, those numbers should be eclipsed, possibly by a wide margin. ACU, meanwhile has struggled running the ball (58 yds per game) and has had to rely almost totally on the passing game (308 yds per game).
Prediction: Midwestern State has yet to defeat a team with a winning record, falling short against the only two they faced. Abilene Christian bounced back from a tough loss to WT to outlast Tarleton in an offensive explosion. As good as their offense has been, there defense has been almost as bad recently. I think that will catch up with them this week and Midwestern State wins 42-35.