Friday, October 24, 2008

Game of the Week

#3 Tarleton State (7-1)
TSU Game Notes
If only the Texans hadn't dropped their game to Texas A&M-Kingsville, the LSC could very well have the eyes of the D2 nation upon them once again. But they did, and so this goes from a marquee matchup to a merely really good one. The Texans disposed of ENMU 42-21, but much like the first half of the UCO game, and the SWO game, let an inferior team hang around withing striking distance. The Greyhounds twice pulled to within 14 points in the fourth quarter, but TSU responded both times with TDs.

The focus of this weeks' game will be on the Tarleton defense. The Texans have not allowed an opponent to score more than 27 points in any game, and have allowed 20 just 3 times. TSU leads the conference in yards allowed at just 275, and is second in points allowed at just 16 per game. Of course they have not faced either Abilene Christian or West Texas A&M. The defense will benefit if the offense can run the ball effectively, and not turn the ball over. The Texans do average over 200 yds a game rushing, with Roderick Smith (106 yds per game, 11 TDs) and Travis Evans (73.3 yds per game, 4 TDs) are both in the top 6 in the LSC. Scott Grantham is quietly having a very nice sophomore season (1,483 yds, 12 TDs, 137.8 QB efficiency rating). Eric Foreman and Devin Guinn each have 28 receptions and have combined for 791 yds and 7 TDs.

#1 Abilene Christian (7-0)
ACU Game Notes
Our concerns about ACU not being sharp due to lack of being challenged since the opening game were unfounded. The Wildcats came out of the gate on fire, taking a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, and going into the half up 31-7. A strong WT third quarter pulled WT to within 10, but ACU responded in the fourth quarter with two TDs to put the game away. ACU's scoring drives covered 85, 71, 39, 67, 56, 67 and 83 yards - no gimmes in there. Billy Malone was great (386 yds, 3 TDs, no INTs), as was Johnny Knox (10 catches, 203 yds, 2 TDs), but Bernard Scott was unbelievable, breaking his own LSC record for all-purpose yards with 409 (268 rushing, and 141 receiving) and scoring 3 TDs. The defense was up the challenge, "limiting" WT to 480 yds of offense, and forcing 5 turnovers. Mike Kern had 11 tackles, Nick Fellows had 9 (1 for loss), and Craig Harris had 6, forced a fumble and picked off two Keith Null passes.

The defense now leads the LSC in scoring defense (15.9 pts per game) and is second in yards allowed (291 per game). They are first in 3rd down conversions, turnovers forced (30) and turnover margin (+21, 15 more than second place Tarleton). They are second in sacks (25) and have scored an impressive 7 TDs this year. Of course, its the offense that gets most of the attention, and no wonder. They lead the nation in total offense and scoring. Bernard Scott is second in rushing and first in all purpose yards (30 more than number two). He is also first in scoring. Billy Malone leads the nation in QB efficiency (203.8) and he has thrown for 2,299 yds and 24 TDs. The third leg of the trio, Johnny Knox, is moving up the ranks with 16 catches for 435 yds and 6 TDs the past two weeks. He is now ninth in the nation in receiving yards per game with 104.7 per game. The Wildcats have scored at least 44 points in every game this year.

The Game

The Wildcats are just on a different level offensively than anyone else right now, and their defense is playing good enough for a deep playoff run. Tarleton desperately needs to upset either ACU or WT to have a shot at the playoffs. As long as ACU doesn't have a big letdown, or suffer a major injury, the Texans will have to hope they can upset WT. ACU wins 49-24

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