Almost perfect (thanks for screwing things up Commerce). Anyway 6-1, which brings the season tally up to 32-9.
Last Week's Games
Southeastern Oklahoma 29, Northwestern Oklahoma 9 - NWO only trailed by 7 in fourth quarter.
Northeastern State 17, East Central 7 - Both teams had more punting yards than offensive yards.
Abilene Christian 44, Eastern New Mexico 33 - ENMU twice led by 11 in third quarter
Texas A&M Commerce 27, Central Oklahom 23 - Farkes 7-8 for 68 yards on game winning drive.
Texas A&M Kingsville 23, West Texas A&M 17 OT - Buffs got 5 sacks, Javs had only given up 2 prior to game.
Tarleton State 66, Southwestern Oklahoma 3 - Texans could have made it much worse.
Angelo State 20, Midwestern State 17 - Neiswander and Eskridge on pace to break teams' single season passing records.
#1 Abilene Christian at #12 East Central - Mismatch of the week
The Wildcats come into this game having survived a tough challenge from the young pups of ENMU. In fact, ACU trailed the Greyhounds 27-16 with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter, after JJ Harp's third TD pass of the night. ENMU was still clinging to a three point lead with 6:43 to go, when things went downhill. A poor punt, giving ACU the ball on the ENMU 15, and an interception, giving ACU the ball on the ENMU 22, sealed the win for ACU as they converted both opportunities. ACU's defense was stellar, holding ENMU to just 304 yards passing (with 3 Ints, and 4 sacks) and 293 total offensive yards. Reggie Brown rushed for 235 yards and three TDs, all in the fourth quarter, while Darryl Richardson had 143 yards on the ground as well. Starting QB Zach Stewart was only 9-23 passing for 94 yards with 1 TD and 2 picks, leaving many message board "coaches" to debate who should get the start under center. Edmund Gates had his biggest game of the season, with 6 catches for 126 yards and a TD.
East Central had their best game of the year so far. They margin of defeat (10) and yards allowed (293) were the lowest of the year. Alex Woodley had 4 interceptions and set up the Tigers on the NSU 1 yard line with his third pick in the third quarter. The run defense had its struggles, allowing 206 yards on the ground. The offense had its best performance of the year as well, gaining a season high 238 yards. The Tigers could not overcome poor field position (just one possession started past the ECU 39 yard line) with decent drive stalling out.
So ECU gave up over 200 yards rushing to Northeastern State, and ACU gained over 350 last week. Anyone else think that ACU will be giving to Brown and Richardson a lot this Saturday? ACU 49-7
Southwest Baptist at #9 Central Oklahoma
The SBU Bearcats sport a 1-4 record this season, winning last week's contest 50-20 over Kentuck Wesleyan. The losses came against Central Missouri (28-39) in the season opener, Northwest Missouri (14-49), Harding (41-49 in 3 OTs) and FCS Southern Illinois (7-59). SBU is averaging 456 offensively, 150 rushing and 306 passing. Steven Gachette has completed 60% of his passes for 1,518 yards, 11 TDs and 9 interceptions. He is also the leading rusher with 60 yards per game and 3 TDs. Five different players have double digit receptions, led by Johnnie King and Charles Johnson, each with 27 catches. There hasn't been much defense, as teams are rushing for 238 yards per game and passing for 303, scoring at a 43 point clip.
Okay, so there won't be a repeat of last year's seven game winning streak and run for the playoffs for the Bronchos this year. It looked like UCO would pull out another close LSC North win after Brandon Noohi hooked up with Dolphin Davis on an 80 yard TD pass with just under 4 minutes to play and UCO leading 23-20. But after stopping the Texas A&M-Commerce on the ensuing drive, the Bronchos were unable to run out the final 2:38 of the game, allowing the Lions to mount a last minute long drive to win the game. The defense picked off 5 passes, but the offense could not convert any into points.
UCO gets pointed back in the right direction, 31-21.
#6 Southeastern Oklahoma at #13 Southwestern Oklahoma
The Savage Storm got by NAIA Northwestern Oklahoma by a 29-9 margin, but not before a bit of a scare. The Rangers pulled to within 16-9 with 8:30 to go in the game, before SOSU responded with two TDs on their next two drives. The running game was effective, with Josh Johnson and Baylen Laury combinging for 162 yards and 2 TDs. Justin Pitrucha got the start at QB, but was replaced by Dallas McCutcheon midway through the third quarter. McCutheon went 8-10 for 152 yards, including 5-5 for 97 yards and a TD on the last two TD drives. Jerome Hewitt opened the scoring with a 74 yard punt return in the second quarter. The defense allowed 384 yards but picked off two Ranger passes deep in Savage Storm territory.
Southwestern Oklahoma got blasted by Tarleton State 66-3. The Bulldogs defense did allow "just" 453 yards (102 below their season average), but 5 turnovers gave the Texans instant points (2 defensive TDs, two inside SWOSU 20 yard line). Through 5 games, the Bulldogs have given up 255 points, compared to 280 for all of last year. They are also last in yards allowed, 76 yards per game behind runner-up. The offense hasn't been much better, scoring just 10 points a game and gaining just 195. Neither the running game (40 yds per game) or the passing game (14 Ints, 2 TDs) have been effective.
The Bulldogs offense should get a chance to move the ball a little bit this week, but the defense will likely be in for another long day. Southeastern Oklahoma 42-21
#4 Angelo State at #7 Eastern New Mexico
The Rams were already opening some eyes through their first four games of 2009. But after last Saturday's 20-17 win over Midwestern State, everyone (around the LSC at least) is fully aware that Angelo State is for real. The Rams defense held Midwestern State to 27 points and 26 yards below their season averages coming into the game. Keying the defensive performance - six sacks, allowing just 1 TD in 4 red zone trips for MSU, and no turnovers by the offense. The offense gained 161 yards more and scored 16 points more than the Mustang defense had been allowing prior to the game. The Rams are showing a nice balance on offense, averaging 132 yards rushing and 269 passing.
Despite losing last weekend, ENMU may have put some teams on notice. For the first time this season, #2 ranked ACU trailed in a ballgame - and not just for a few minutes. Twice in the third quarter, ENMU led by 11, and ACU did not take the lead for good until only 5:58 was left in the game. JJ Harp threw for 300 yards again, but had 3 interceptions, including a costly one late in the game, giving ACU a very short field to work with. Without Troy Harris at running back, the Greyhounds had a negative rushing total (-11), putting too much pressure on Harp to produce. The defense struggled, allowing 589 yards, including 362 rushing. Mark Patterson provided a huge defensive lift, running back an interception 61 yards for a TD in the third quarter. That momentum was quickly lost, as ACU returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a TD of their own.
While these two squads were picked at the bottom of the LSC South (and by large margins), neither one is playing like cellar dwellers. Statistics aside, the biggest difference between the two teams is this - Eastern New Mexico is playing for respect, while Angelo State is in early contention for a playoff slot. The Ram's should get some pressure on Harp and continue to win 35-24.
# 11 Northeastern State at #8 Texas A&M Commerce
In somewhat of a trend last weekend, Northeastern State was able to overcome four interceptions, beating the winless East Central Tigers 17-7. The defense held ECU to 238 yards, with just 61 rushing. The offense did not fare as well, with the Riverhawks becoming the first team to not gain 400 yards against the Tigers. Both NSU quarterbacks struggled, combing to complete just 9-18 passes for 87 yards and 4 Ints. La'Ron Elmer did have a good game, rushing for 105 yards and 2 TDs, including a 27 yarder late in the third quarter to seal the game.
The Lions offense was kept off the boards through three quarters Saturday, but they more than made up for it in the fourth. After throwing his fifth interception to start the fourth quarter, Adam Farkes caught fire the rest of the way, leading TAMC to TDs on three of their last four possessions, completing 19-23 passes for 156 yards and 2 TDs. Adam Jones was the leading receiver with 9 for 121 yards. The run game was virtuall non-existant, gaining just 37 yards on the day. The defense struggled in the second half, allowing 4 scoring drives of 65 or more yards each. They did recover at the end, preventing the Bronchos from running out the clock, and leaving the offense with enough time for the game-winning drive.
Both teams tasted victory last weekend for the first time this year. Look for TAMC to neutralize the Riverhawk running game, and get win number two in the LSC North. TAMC 28-17
#10 West Texas A&M at #5 Midwestern State
Despite a 1-4 record, don't think that anyone is penciling in a win when the face the Buffaloes. Last weekend, WT gave Texas A&M-Kingsville all they could handle, before dropping a 23-17 decision in overtime. The Buffs did it with defense, hounding QB Billy Garza into 4 interceptions and sacking him 5 times. The offense only turned one of those picks into points, but did convert a late Javelina fumble into the game tying field goal with under a minute to play. Curtis Jefferson had one of those interceptions to go along with 15 tackles, and Eugene Sims had 11 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Stephen Burton was huge, with 13 catches for 168 yards, including a 44 tipped pass to set up the first WT touchdown.
For the first time this year, the Midwestern State offense was held below 34 points and (more importantly) the defense did create any turnovers. Just once all night did MSU start a possession past their 40 yard line. That did not stop the offense, MSU still gained 392 yards and had 7 drives of 7 or more plays, but it did keep them 27 points below their scoring average. The red zone was of particular concern, with just 14 points resulting from 4 trips inside ASU's 20 yard line. The defense played well, holding the Rams 13 points and 42 yards below their averages, but could not stop the Rams last minute drive for the game winning field goal.
Both teams are coming off of hard fought, last minute losses, but MSU is probably taking their loss much harder, losing a game to an unranked team and taking a blow to their playoff aspirations. If they shake that disappointment off they should win this one, if not it's a toss-up. MSU gets back on track - 31-17
#3 Tarleton State at #2 Texas A&M-Kingsville - Game of the Year (part 1)
The Texans did as expected last weekend, blasting Southwestern Oklahoma 66-3. Evan Robertson and Roderick Smith enjoyed themselves to the tune of 195 yards rushing and 3 TDs. The passing game was not called on much with a score like that, but still had 218 yards and 2 TDs . The defense was stifling, shutting down the Bulldogs and getting 5 turnovers.
For the season, Smith and Robertson are first and fourth in rushing (105.8 and 84.2 yards per game). QB Scott Grantham is having an effective year (814 yds, 53% completion rate, 7-3 TD-Int Ratio, 140.3 efficiency rating), but has not been called on a great deal. Devin Guinn and Jahmeel Hobson are the leading receivers (37 combined receptions for 600 yards and 4 TDs), but no other player has more than 4 receptions. The Tarleton defense is tops in the LSC in yards allowed, in large part to 53 tackles for losses, led by Ben Taifane (7) and Jamaal Steamer (6). Plenty of players have gotten playing time this year as seventeen Texans have more have at least 10 tackles (five have 20 or more). Finally, the most impressive stat - TSU has scored 4 defensive TDs, which is the same number of TDs their opponents have scored in total.
Texas A&M-Kingsville on the other hand, had to overcome 5 turnovers to edge out West Texas A&M 23-17 in overtime. The Javelinas were shut out in the first half, but the offense came alive after the half, scoring on 4 of 7 possessions, gaining 277 yards, and punting the ball just once. Fred Winborn (63 yds rushing, 2 TDs) and Connell Davis (150 all purpose yards, 1 TD) led the offense. The defense did a good job, holding WT to just 365 yards despite the 5 offensive turnovers.
For the season, the Javelinas are rushing for 186 yards per game, an improvement of 55 yards from last year. Davis and Winborn have turned into a nice running combo for TAMK, with a combined 582 yards and 9 TDs. Billy Garza has been hot and cold so far. In weeks one and five he had 6 interceptions and just one TD, while the other three games it was the opposite, 7 TDs and one interception. Ryan Lincoln and Damian Couthren lead a deep receiving corps - seven players have 7 or more receptions and at least 1 TD. Like the Texans, the Javelinas have good depth on defense - 13 players have 10 or more tackles (8 with at least 20).
Scoring - TSU 38.6 (2nd), TAMK 33.4 (5th)
Scoring Def - TSU 7.6 (2nd), TAMK 14.4 (3rd)
Total Off - TAMK 471 (2nd), TSU 390.2 (7th)
Total Def - TSU 204.4 (1st), TAMK 257 (3rd)
Rushing Off - TSU 204.4 (1st), TAMK 185.8 (3rd)
Rushing Def - TSU 69.2 (3rd), TAMK 87.2 (4th)
Passing Off - TAMK 285.2 (3rd), TSU 185.8 (10th)
Passing Def - TSU 135.8 (2nd), TAMK 169.8 (3rd)
Pass Eff Off - TAMK 143.1 (3rd), TSU 138.0 (5th)
Pass Eff Def - TSU 93.1 (2nd), TAMK 105.8 (4th)
This the first time the Javelinas have been 5-0 since 2004, which is also the last time they made the playoffs. For the Texans, this marks the third consecutive year they have been 5-0 at this point. Both teams will want to be able to run the ball effectively, but it is more important for the Texans. The Tarleton defense has been solid all year long, and opportunistic as well. The Javelina defense has done a very good job against their toughest opponents in limiting the damage of multiple turnovers. We are going with the Javelinas in this one, primarily due to their resilience in those games. Texas A&M-Kingsville 28-17