Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009 Preview - Abilene Christian

2008 Recap
The 2008 season could not have gotten off to a better start for Abilene Christian. The Wildcats marched into Maryville, Missouri and beat the #3 NMSU Bearcats 44-27, overcoming a 21-7 first quarter deficit. The offense rolled up 516 yards and the defense limited NWMSU to just one scoring drive over the final 3 quarters. The team did not suffer a letdown during conference play, winning their next 9 games, scoring fewer than 42 points just one time, while allowing more than 17 just once as well. The only team to play them within 20 was West Texas A&M in week #8. The teams would meet again in the second round of the playoffs, with ACU winning again, this time 93-68 (see the WT preview for more details). This would set up another rematch, this time with Northwest Missouri.

Both teams scored 4 times in the first half, but for NWMSU it was 4 TDs, while ACU had to settle for 2 FGs and trailed 28-20 at the half. In the second half ACU struck first, to pull within 1 at 28-27. NWMSU would score on their next three drives and their defenes would pick off two ACU passes to take the rematch 45-36.

Offensively, ACU was off the charts in 2008. The Wildcats set an LSC mark by scoring 52.3 points per game. They were also tops in the LSC in total offense (558.8 yds per game), had the #1 rusing offense (235.5 yds per game, 6.8 yds per carry) and the #2 passing offense (323.2 yds per game). Billy Malone led the LSC in passing efficiency (189.7) and threw for 3,213 yds and 36 TDs. His favorite target was once again Johnny Knox (56-1,069 13 TDs), but Edmund Gates , Jonathan Ferguson, and Bernard Scott all did their part as well. Scott topped the 2,000 yard rushing mark for the second time (2,156 yds and 28 TDs), just missing out on his record numbers from 2007. The skill players had the luxury of playing behind 3 first team and 2 second team All LSC South honorees.

Defensively, ACU finished second in the LSC in scoring defense (22.9) and fifth in yards allowed (339.9). (The numbers would have been 17.2 pts and 288 yds per game taking out WTAM, just to be fair like the WT preview). Opponents could muster just 84.9 yards on the ground (second) but through the air gained 255 (ninth). (Again minus WT, that would be 83 rushing and 205 passing). Aston Whiteside had a stellar RS freshman season, with 16 TFL and 9 sacks, while Fred Thompson had 14 TFL and 7.5 sacks from his LB spot. Both return, as does Tony Harp, who had 53 tackles and 4.5 TFL from the secondary.

2009 Outlook
Out with the old
QB Billy Malone - LSC Career leader in almost every category, including passing yards (12,012) and TDs (114), 1st LSC South, and All American
RB Bernard Scott - Single season LSC Rushing leader (2,165 yards, and 35 TDs) 1st LSC South, All American, Harlon Hill Trophy Winner
WR Johnny Knox - 118 receptions, 2,227 yds, 30 TDs in two seasons, 1st LSC South
WR Jonathan Ferguson - 35-573 3 TDs, 2nd LSC South
TE Kendrick Holloway - 21-213 5 TDs, 1st LSC South
OL Sam Collins - 1st LSC South, Gene Upshaw Award Winner
OL Joseph Thompson - 1st LSC South
DL Vantrise Studivant - 25 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1st LSC South
LB Mike Kern - 65 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 Int, 1st LSC South
DB Alex Harbison - 26 tackles, 2 Ints, 6 passes BU, 2nd LSC South (injured)
DB Nick Fellows - 64 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 Ints, 2nd LSC South
K Matt Adams - 13-16 FG, 78-81 PAT, 117 pts, 1st LSC South

Welcome Back
FB Emery Dudensing - 1st LSC South
WR Edmund Gates - 31-716 8 TDs, 1st LSC South
TE Trey Simeone - 1st LSC South
OL Tony Washington - 1st LSC South, All American
OL Trevis Turner - 2nd LSC South
OL Royland Tubbs - 2nd LSC South
DL Aston Whiteside - 30 tackles, 16 TFL, 9 sack, 3 passes BU, 1st LSC South
LB Fred Thompson - 56 tackles, 14 TFL, 7.5 sack, 4 passes BU, 1st LSC South
LB Bryson Lewis - 55 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 passes BU, 2nd LSC South
LB Eric Edwards - 56 tackles, 4 TFL, 1.5 sacks, HM LSC South
DB Tony Harp - 53 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 Int, 4 passes BU, 1st LSC South
DB Craig Harris - 30 tackles, 3 Int, 5 passes BU, 2nd LSC South
DB Drew Cuffee - 23 tackles, 3 Ints, 5 passes BU, HM LSC South

In with the new
QB Clark Harrell (Tulsa, 2008 redshirt)
RB Daryl Richardson (Cisco JC)
RB Justin Johnson (OU)
RB Reggie Brown (Blinn JC)
WR Dennis Campbell (Rutgers)
WR VJ McElroy (Baylor)
WR Chris Fowler (Angelo State)
WR Terrell Woodall (Laney College)
WR Kendrick Johnson (Kilgore JC)
OL Larry Landry (Memphis/College of the Sequoias)
DL Marvin Jones (Lane College)
DL Mike Jones (Valley CC)
DL James Peters (Texas Southern)
LB Kevin Washington (Notre Dame)
LB Courtney Lane (Tyler JC)
DB Major Culbert (Nebraska)
DB Courtney Williams (Washington State)
K Dale Wallace (Louisiana Tech)
K Spencer Covey (OU)
P Mark Sprague (Blinn JC)

All Conference Candidates
All from Welcome Back list, QB Zach Stewart, QB Clark Harrell, RB Justin Johnson, WR Dennis Campbell, WR Chris Fowler

All American Candidates
OL Tony Washington
OL Trevis Turner
DL Aston Whiteside
LB Fred Thompson
DB Tony Harp

Big Games
Aug 27 #2 Northwest Missouri - rematch of last season's opener and national quarterfinal playoff contest
Oct 17 #12 West Texas A&M
Oct 24 @ Tarleton State
Oct 31 #24 Texas A&M Kingsville
Nov 7 @ Midwestern State

Best Case Scenario
11-0 Replacements for Malone, Scott, Knox and company make for a smooth offensive transition. Defense improves enough to keep winning in playoffs from being dependent on high scoring shootouts.

Worst Case Scenario
7-4 Team struggles with chemistry from so many new faces, offense comes back to earth, still really good, but not ridiculous anymore, while the defense continues to struggle against ranked opponents.


Anonymous said...

Waited a long time for this analysis and I was let down. Hope to see a few things I didn't already know...

Anonymous said...

Someone is spoiled. Nice writeup as always guys.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1, how about show a little appreciation for a website like this to be out there. Many people put much work into this to be put down like that.


Anonymous said...

Amazing how a couple of years of success goes to some people's heads.

Anonymous said...

I am very appreciative of this site. Visit it every day. I love the insight and the great write-ups. I'm just saying... this is the last team analysis to come out. Everything in this write-up was on the D2 message board weeks ago. I was just hoping for something new.

Sorry for sounding negative. I guess I'm just anxious to see some football.

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Lone Star Conference

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Cameron University

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Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

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University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

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