TAMC over ECU 27-15 (31-21) - overcame penalties and lethargic start
UCO over SWO 23-16 (24-21) - Bronchos winning pretty and ugly
TSU over ENMU 42-21 (35-14) - Texans face big challenges these last three weeks
SOSU over ASU 35-0 (28-17 Rams) - Outcome surprising; Margin shocking
MSU over TAMK 38-16 (27-17 TAMK) - Mustangs shut down the Javelinas
ACU over WTAM 52-35 (35-31 WTAM) - Round One??? to the Wildcats; will there be a playoff rematch?
For the week 4-3, for the year 50-9
#13 Northeastern State (1-7) at #8 Southeastern Oklahoma (3-4)
The Riverhawks orchestrated three long TD drives in the first half, totalling 199 yards, and 3 short ones in the second half totalling 97 yards to soundly defeat Southwest Baptist. John Kelly rushed for 102 yds and 2 TDs and Prince McKinney added 94 yds. Kenny Davis and Kaelin Woods combined for 257 yds and 3 TDs passing. Jarrett Byers had 6 catches for 71 yds and 2 TDs, and Damien Henderson added 5 catches for 105 yds and the other TD reception. Jon Evans and Broderick Mondy each had 9 tackles and an INT to pace the defense.
Even more surprising was the dominating performance of the Savage Storm in defeating Angelo State 35-0. The Storm outgained the Rams 470-263 and converted two ASU first half turnovers into TDs. The defense collected 11 tackles for losses, including 4 sacks, and limited ASU to 2-13 on third downs. Brandon McCain led the offense with a 14-22 performance for 206 yds and 2 TDs. Danile Nichols had 4 catches for 153 yds and a TD, and Jay Rose caught 5 passes for 99 yds and 2 TDs. Baylen Laury picked up 78 yds rushing on just 11 carries, and scored a TD.
Northeastern State finally got the monkey off their back, winning their first game of the season. After losing their last three games by a total of 8 points, it had to be especially sweet. The Savage Storm continue their seesaw season with a very impressive win, but can they build off of it? Since they are at home we'll take SOSU 27-24.
#10 Southwestern Oklahoma (1-6) at #12 East Central (1-5)
The Bulldoges continued their recent trend of close games, falling to UCO 23-16. SWO lead at half 9-7 on three Chad McIntosh FGs, and tied the game at 16 with 7 minutes to play, but UCO scored on a 56 yd pass with 2:24 to go and the Bulldogs could get no closer than the Bronchos 21 yd line. Jason Burgess had 17 tackles, one for loss, and an INT to lead the defense. Ruzell McCoy chipped in with 11 tackles. Kyle Wimberly caught 8 passes for 130 yds and the lone SWO TD of the game. Steve Day threw for 239 yds with one TD and an INT to become the all-time SWO leader in passing yards. He has now thrown for 4,744 yards and still has a year of eligibility remaining.
Marcus Johnson also became his school's all-time leader in passing yards (4,688 and another season as well), but the Tigers fell to Texas A&M-Commerce 27-15. The Tigers tooka a 9-7 lead in the third quarter on Corey Dozier's 41 yd FG, but the Lions answered with 21 unanswered points to take control of the game. ECU outgained the Lions 389-388, but 6 turnovers (2 inside the red zone) were too much to overcome. For the day, Johnson was 26-51 for 311 yds and 2 TDs and he led the team in rushing with 47 yds. Tyrone Gibbs and Keewan King each broke the 100 yd receiving mark.
SWO, like NSU, has been on the short end of some very close games and have played better than their record would indicate. ECU will get their passing yards, but SWO should be able to use a balanced offense to break out to a 31-21 victory.
#5 Texas A&M Kingsville (5-2) at #11 Eastern New Mexico (1-6)
Billy Garza and the Javelinas started out hot, with Garza hitting 15 of his first 17 passes for 133 yds and the team amassing 222 yds all in the first half and all on just three possessions. TAMK cooled off in the second half gaining a total of 103 yds and Garza hitting on just 8 of 19 passes for 90 yds and 2 Ints. The teams final three possessions ended in turnovers. Defensively Eric John with 9 tackles and an INT and Jimmy Saddler-McQueen with 8 tackles, 2 for losses, a sack and a broken up pass led the Javelinas.
Joseph Banyard finally got untracked, rushing for a season high 91 yards on 11 carries against the tough Tarleton State run defense and JJ Harp threw for 208 yds and 2 TDs, but the Greyhounds fell to the Texans 42-21. Trailing 28-7 entering the fourth quarter, ENMU continued to battle, pulling to within 14 points twice, but unable to get any closer. Jeremy Hibbler continues to rack up the tackles, with 10 in the game. Mark Patterson (11) and Texavier Henry (10) joined him in double digits.
TAMK dropped from 7th to 9th in the regional rankings and now only have a slim chance at the playoffs. They must win this week, at Angelo the last week of the season, and may need to upset Abilene Christian at home next week to do so. Blackwater Draw mojo or not, the road warriors will take this one 35-21.
#2 West Texas A&M (6-1) at #9 Angelo State (3-4)
The Buffs fell behind early, 21-0 after 16 minutes, and 31-7 at halftime. They played better in the second half, outscoring ACU 21-7 in the third quarter and pulling to within 38-28 heading into the fourth quarter. Keith Null threw for 415 yds and 4 TDs, but also had 3 passes picked off for the second week in a row. Carl Johnson and Charly Martin combined for 15 catches for 221 yds and 3 TDs. The running game was once again stalled, picking up just 65 yds. The defense was victimized by ACU (just like everyone else) for 687 yds and 52 points. Curtis Jefferson and Jared Brock each had 10 tackles and Anthony Scott had 9.
What happened to the Rams last week? Only the ACU Wildcats had scored more than 24 pts against the Ram defense, but the Savage Storm got 5 TDs and shutout ASU 35-0. Daniel Thomas led the offense with 63 yds rushing, and now has 831 yds with 3 games remaining. Freshmen QBs Michael Cochran and Will Mezger combined to go 14-31 for 193 yds and 2 Ints. The defense allowed 470 yds and 4 TD drives of 72 or more yards. Jordan Cortez had 10 tackles and Ian Ritchey 9 to pace the defense. Things don't get any easier for ASU as the still have Tarleton State and Texas A&M Kingsville after this week's game.
The Rams best shot is to run the ball effectively, and not put too much on their young QBs' shoulders, but WT knows this and the Buffs should take out their frustrations on the Rams 45-10.
#4 Midwestern State (5-2) at #6 Central Oklahoma (4-4)
Midwestern State kept their slim playoff hopes alive, beating Texas A&M Kingsville 38-16, their fourth straight win over the Javelinas. The Mustang defense tightened up after allowing TAMK to score TDs on their first two drives. The forced 4 turnovers, including a momentum changing fumble recovery right before halftime as the Javelinas were driving the football. Zack Eskeridge threw for 250 yds and 3 TDs, two of which went to Andy Tanner. Bobby Ransom picked up 67 yds and a TD on just 11 carries. The Mustang defense held TAMK to about 100 yds below their season average.
Central Oklahoma continues their amazing turnaround, coming from behind to edge out SWO 23-16. Brandon Noohi threw for 267 yds and 2 TDs and Da'Marean Pullen had 83 yds rushing. The Broncho defense had 10 tackles for losses, and was led by Terrence Hill with 11 stops. UCO has outscored their opposition 128-76 during their four game winning streak, and can sweep the LSC North with wins over ECU and NSU the final two weeks. They will be favored, but strange things are known to happen in the LSC.
UCO's recent surge makes this a much more difficult pick than it looked like 2 or 3 weeks ago. However, Midwestern State hung tough early in the season, relying on their defense. The past two weeks, it looks like the passing game is coming around, and they need to keep winning to have a shot at the playoffs. They should be able to take this one, MSU 24-17
Game of the week
#3 Tarleton State (7-1) at #1 Abilene Christian (7-0) - coming Friday