Saturday, September 12, 2009

LSC Roundup 9-12

Roundabout journey leads ex-high school star to Texas A&M-Commerce
It was the simplest of questions, one my 5-year-old son easily handles.

But it stumped 25-year-old Robert Timmons, the former Flower Mound Marcus football star.

Five seconds passed as he stared at the floor, his mind searching for an answer. Finally, just as the silence became uncomfortable, he looked up.

"Oct. 31," said Timmons, a member of Texas' star-studded recruiting class of 2002. "My birthday is Oct. 31."

Why don't you know you birthday?

"Birthdays are depressing," he said. "They're supposed to be happy times, but they're not if you don't have the right people around you. I probably haven't had a birthday party since I was in elementary school. I haven't celebrated a birthday in so long."

ACU preview: Wildcats play first game in Cotton bowl
ACU cottons to LSC triumph, 3-0 start

What’s riding on this game: It’s the Lone Star Conference opener for ACU, the defending LSC champion, while it’s the second conference game for Commerce. Each plays in different division — ACU in the South and Commerce in the North — but winning these crossover games are crucial to winning the overall title. Central Oklahoma went undefeated in the North last season — and still missed the playoffs. This is the second annual Harvey Martin Classic. Martin, who graduated from South Oak Cliff in Dallas, was a defensive lineman for Commerce (called East Texas State at the time) from 1969-1972. Martin then played professionally for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1977 and co-Super Bowl MVP in 1978. Martin, a four-time selection to the Pro Bowl, died in 2001. Last year, Commerce defeated East Central 27-15 in the inaugural Harvey Martin Classic.

“I grew up watching him, Too Tall Jones and Randy White all those legends,” said ACU coach Chris Thomsen, a big Cowboys fan. “Just to represent him is a great deal for our team. And Commerce, I think has a really good group of athletes and a good team. It’s just going to be a good day for college football. We’re excited about it. We’re looking forward to it.”

(Joey Roberts prediction ACU 48 TAMC 7)

Stakes grow as Javelinas look to stay perfect vs. Central Oklahoma
KINGSVILLE — Another weekend brings another football opponent to Texas A&M-Kingsville, and not too much has changed.

The Javelinas continue to improve. They remain ranked in national polls, No. 11 by the AFCA and No. 8 by Their offense has been productive (15th nationally with an average of 470.5 yards per game). Their defense has been stingy (fourth in the country at 189 yards per game) and, if not for a penchant for committing penalties, overall could be considered one of the program’s better units in recent memory.

“We’re fortunate to be 2-0. We’ve got some mistakes that we need to get cleaned up. We’ve got some guys who’ve played well offensively. I’m really proud of their effort,” third-year A&M-Kingsville coach Bo Atterberry said. “That’s one of the things we’ve talked about. From a foundation standpoint you’ve got to be there and the guys have to be willing to get after it.

“You get into games with different opponents each week you’re going to see a lot of different things. So we’re just trying to get as many different looks and be able to play at full speed and minimize some of the mistakes we are making,” he said. “There are going to be mistakes throughout the game. The effort part of it can’t be a mistake. We just want to minimize and make the least amount of mistakes on Saturday night.”

The stakes continue to grow, however, as they do when 1-1 and No. 24-ranked Central Oklahoma faces the 2-0 Javelinas tonight in a Lone Star Conference crossover ballgame. A&M-Kingsville’s task at hand is to maintain and improve and take care of business upstairs, continuing the process Atterberry began.

Hounds face Southeastern in home opener
There are big numbers aplenty when it comes to the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds.

Sophomore J.J. Harp already has a 1,000-yard passing season, and he’s on pace to obliterate Kevin Kott’s 1983 season record of mark of 3,648. Harp leads the top offense in the Lone Star Conference, and four Greyhounds are in the LSC’s top 10 for receptions.

Not that it matters to senior Jessie Poku, who has to be told he leads the LSC with 314 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

“This is the honest-to-God truth — I haven’t looked at the numbers,” Poku said. “A lot of people get caught up in the stats. But we are running a lot of plays, we’re expecting big numbers. We don’t plan on slowing down at all.”

Another ranked foe on the road for ECU
ADA — East Central University head football coach Tim McCarty is always gonna be a glass-is-half-full kinda guy.

McCarty, whose young squad (1) is 0-2, (2) has been outscored 87-7 in losses to NCAA Division II powers Nebraska-Omaha and Texas A&M-Kingsville and (3) faces a third straight long road trip to meet a ranked opponent Saturday, was, as usual, focusing on the positives Thursday as he discussed the Tigers’ progress between their 48-0 thrashing in Nebraska in Week 1 and their 39-7 loss in south Texas in Week 2.

“We made a giant step forward last week,” said McCarty, whose club will visit 23rd-ranked Tarleton State Saturday for a 7 p.m. Lone Star Conference crossover contest. “I wasn’t pleased that we lost, but I was excited by what I saw.

“Our kids competed hard, and they’ve had a good week of practice,” he said. “We gained a lot from that game to move our program forward.”

Getting Offensive: Rams offense clicking heading into LSC opener
The Angelo State University football will get a chance tonight to show just how good its offense can be this season.

The Rams open Lone Star Conference play against Southwestern Oklahoma State, a team that went 3-8 last season and is 0-2 this year.

ASU, on the other hand, is 1-1. The Rams opened the season with a victory against Texas A&M-Commerce and then hanging with Texas State before eventually falling by 20 points.

The most important factor for ASU may be that the Rams still have a healthy starting quarterback. That has translated into more offensive production — especially from the passing game — than the Rams got last season after they lost quarterback Josh Neiswander in the season opener.

Neiswander is enjoying his health. He is averaging 261 yards per game passing, an average much better than the 144.8 passing yeards the team averaged last year between a pair of quarterbacks who weren’t expected to play much when the year began.

“Having to sit out a year after playing a couple of years probably gave him a better perspective at his position and on the team,” ASU head coach Dale Carr said.

Mustangs to host improved RiverHawks
Tropical Storm Ike made last year’s Midwestern State-Northeastern State game one to forget as the Mustangs took a rain-soaked 7-3 win.

While quite a few of the Mustangs remember that dark and stormy night, the same can’t be said for the RiverHawks.

That’s because Northeastern State comes into Memorial Stadium tonight with a team made up of quite a few transfers — especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Kickoff for the Lone Star Conference crossover game between the 2-0 Mustangs and the 0-2 RiverHawks is set for 7 p.m.

Northeastern State appears to have made great strides on the defensive side of the ball from its season opener to the second game. The RiverHawks fell to Arkansas Tech 44-32 in the opener but held Tarleton State to just a pair of field goals in a 6-0 loss.

“Tarleton got the two field goals in the first half, but in the second half they (NSU) just got better and better,” MSU head coach Bill Maskill said. “They’re starting to get confident and getting used to each other. They have eight new starters and six of them are transfers — and they’re Division I transfers from places like Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State, Boise State and Arkansas.

A lot has changed for WT, Central Washington
Things have changed in 10 months for West Texas A&M and Central Washington.

When the Buffs and the Wildcats met Nov. 15 at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, the teams put on an offensive fireworks show, combining for 91 points, 52 first downs and 1,088 yards of offense.
When the dust settled, the Buffs prevailed, 49-42.

If the first two games of this season are any indication, both offenses will be hard-pressed to light up the scoreboard in similar fashion today.

The Buffs offense has struggled in its first two games, averaging only 20 points. WT's 17 points and 320 yards last week in a 24-17 loss to Central Oklahoma was its lowest offensive effort in three seasons.

CW's offense has scored a total of 23 points in two games (11.5 average), but the difference for the Wildcats is a stingy defense that has allowed only 10 points this season. Most impressive was CW's 13-10 win last week at defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth.

"I think (the CW game) is going to be very tough," said WT head coach Don Carthel. "It is going to be important that we get out of the gates good up there. The first quarter is going to be important. That is one of the things we have not been very successful at this year is getting somebody down."

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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