Thursday, November 6, 2008

Game Notes and Picks 11-8

TSU over ASU 31-24 (our pick TSU 28-7) - ASU nearly steals one on national TV.
UCO over ECU 30-17 (31-24) - UCO scores on first 4 possessions and cruise.
SOSU over TAMC 28-24 (24-21 TAMC) - Late in 4th, with a 1st down on SOSU goal, TAMC unable to score.
MSU over ENMU 59-16 (31-17) - Zack Eskridge sets new MSU record with 6 TD passes.
WTAM over NSU 59-9 (49-14) - Could have been worse, Buffs emptied bench.
SWO over OPSU 42-7 (31-10) - Bulldogs build 35-7 halftime lead without punting.
ACU over TAMK 42-17 (42-24) - Wildcats outscore Javelinas 28-0 over 16 minute stretch in 2nd and 3rd quarters.

For the week 6-1, for the season 60-12

#10 Eastern New Mexico (1-8) at Oklahoma Panhandle State (0-3 vs D2)
The Greyhound offense was able to gain just 246 yds (negative 57 rushing). JJ Harp was sacked 7 times for 72 yds in losses. When he had time to throw, he completed 37 of 70 passes for 303 yds and 2 TDs. Darian Dale caught 8 passes for 98 yds and Matt Handler had 6 catches for 48 yds and both TDs. The defense had no answers for the Mustangs, allowing them to open the game with 4 consecutive scoring drives (all over 50 yds) and for the game to amass 542 yds.

Last Week against the Southwestern Oklahoma Bulldogs, the Aggies were only able to muster 160 yds of offense (42 rushing, 118 passing). The defense didn't do much better, allowing 295 yds rushing and 192 passing. OPSU scored on their first drive of the game, a 7 play 53 yard drive that was aided by 4 SWO penalties for 50 yds. Enough said.

Look for the ENMU offense to really roll, with the running game having an opportunity to put up some good numbers. ENMU goes out a winner in 2008 31-7.

#11 East Central (2-6) at #7 Southeastern Oklahoma (5-4)
Marcus Johnson threw for 382 yds and 2 TDs, but a negative 9 rushing yards and 7 turnovers were too much for the Tigers to overcome as the Tigers became UCO's sixth straight victim. Five of the ECU turnovers were inside the Bronchos' 30 yd line killing scoring chances. ECU's defense tightened up the last two and a half quarters, giving up just 148 yds from that point and allowing just one score (coming after a fumble on their own 20).

The Savage Storm are the North's second hottest team, winning their last three games and four of five. After consecutive games with comfortable margins, SOSU won a close one last week, but needed a defensive stand with the game on the line to preserve the victory. But the defense came through, and for the fourth time of the day turned the Lions away with no points after getting inside the SOSU 30. Baylen Laury had a great day, rushing for 138 yds on just 13 carries. Brandon McCain continued to make a case for all-conference recognition, throwing for 263 yds and 4 TDs. He is now the top QB in the LSC North in pass efficiency (and the only North QB in the top 6).

The Savage Storm are playing for a winning record and are at home. This late season surge is building great momentum for the underclassmen for next year. ECU is playing for pride. Look for SOSU to continue winning this week 31-17

#12 Southwestern Oklahoma (2-7) at #8 Texas A&M Commerce (4-4)
With the frustrating season the Bulldogs have been having, last weeks game against Panhandle State was a good tonic. The offense was in gear, scoring on 5 of 6 first half possessions (the other drive ended on a fumble at the OPSU 20). The defense was stingy, allowing just 160 yds for the day. In fact the only OPSU scoring drive was helped out by SWO's 4 penalties for 50 yds. In fact penalties (17 for 185 yds) were about the only negative for SWO. They were able to rush the ball at will, gaining 295 yards (Esalomi 118 and 3 TDs, Khekona 92, and Lundy 83). Steve Day threw for 192 yds and 3 TDs, with Kyle Wimberly catching 3 passes for a team-high 82 yds and a TD.

The uneven season continues for the Lions, and last Saturday's loss to Southeastern Oklahoma was a good example of the kind of season TAMC is going through - a close, hard fought game, with neither team dominating (the teams even alternated scores). In the end, the Lions had a chance to overcome a 28-24 deficit, but could not convert a 1st and goal from the Savage Storm 2 yd line with under a minute to go. That was just one of four trips inside SOSU's 30 that did not result in points (including a missed 32 yd FG on the game's first drive). Terry Mayo threw for 286 yds, and Willie Thorton had 137 yds receiving, but the running game never got untracked, held to just 96 yds and a 2.9 yd per carry average.

The good news for the Lions is that they have not had consecutive losses this year. Combine that with playing at home, and SWO in a lame-duck situation and they should win this one 24-21.

#5 Central Oklahoma (6-4) at #13 Northeastern State (1-9)
UCO Game Notes
UCO won its sixth straight game by jumping out to an early 24-7 lead and forcing 7 turnovers in their regular season home finale. Brandon Noohi won his fifth straight LSC North Offensive player of the week award on a 24-49, 281 yard passing performance, with 63 yards rushing thrown in. As an added bonus, he also received his second straight special teams player of the week award, punting 5 times for a 44 yd avg, with 2 inside the ECU 20 and a 52 yard effort. K.C. Asiodu was the defensive star collecting 11 tackles, with 3 sacks, a broken up pass and a forced fumble. The Bronchos are now 8th in the regional rankings.

This season started out tough for NSU, with Tarleton, TAMK, and Midwestern State in the first four weeks, and is closing tough with SOSU, WTAM and UCO in the final three weeks. The middle of the season saw the Riverhawks play competitive ball, beating Southwest Baptist by 25, and losing 3 LSC North games by a combined 8 pts. Last week's game didn't have too many positives, though early on NSU actually took a 3-0 lead, and pulled to within 9-17 early in the second quarter. The rest of the day belonged to WT, as they won big 59-9. The Riverhawks struggled on offense (211 yds) and defense (452 yds with WT substituting liberally). Jarrett Byers continues to increase his receiving records, adding another 5 catches for 87 yards.

This looks like a mismatch - the hottest team in the North, versus a team that has yet to beat an LSC team. We've seen crazier upsets before, but we'll stick with UCO 35-17.

#4 Texas A&M-Kingsville (6-3) at #9 Angelo State (3-7)
Game Notes
The Javelinas did something no one outside of Northwest Missouri has been able to do this year - take a lead over ACU. A field goal with 9:04 to go in the first half put TAMK up 10-7. A 4 yd TD run by the Joe Williams was nullified on an illegal procedure penalty, and the Javs were unable to get into the endzone. The lead was short lived, as ACU drove 64 yds on 6 plays and took the lead for good. The Javelina offense moved the ball well, gaining 123 yds rushing and 321 passing, but had 5 drives stall out in ACU territory. Billy Garza was 26-49 for 321 yds with a TD and an INT. He can break the single season team record with 173 yds Saturday. Jareko Taylor had 6 receptions for 142 yds, including an 85 yd TD. With 4 receptions and 197 yds, he can set new team records. Defensively, TAMK limited Bernard Scott to 116 yds rushing on 24 carries, but he did score 3 TDs. Mike Martinez led the way with 12 tackles and forced a fumble.

ASU Game Notes
The Rams fell behind Tarleton State 24-3 in the third quarter before mounting a comeback on national TV. From that point on, ASU outscored the Texans 21-7 and had a first and goal on the Tarleton 4 yard line late in the fourth quarter. A Keon Perry interception in the end zone snuffed out the rally, and the Texans held on for a wild 31-24 victory. Daniel Thomas rushed for 108 yds, and in the process went of the 3,000 yd mark for his career. He needs just 36 to reach the 1,000 mark for the season and become the 10th Ram to accomplish that feat (a 92 yd game would put in 6th place on the single season rushing chart). Freshman Michael Cochran was 17-34 for 131 yds and 2 TDs, but also had 3 INTs in the game. Quintin Butler had 2 INTs for the defense, including one run back for a TD.

The Javelinas fell out of the regional rankings this past week. But several teams in front of them have very tough games this weekend, so they feel they still have a slim shot at the playoffs. The Rams are just playing for pride and would love to send Daniel Thomas and the other 9 seniors out on a winning note. Javelinas win this one 31-14

#6 Midwestern State (6-3) at #1 Abilene Christian (9-0)
#3 Tarleton State at #2 West Texas A&M (8-1)

Both on Friday

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico