Tuesday, December 20, 2011

LSC Scoop Recruiting Spotlight - Xavier Maxwell

It is no secret that Blinn College is an elite football program, winning big on the field and sending more players to four-year universities than almost any other school.  This year's sophomore class is no different, with 9  three star and 3 two star recruits by Rivals.  Flying under the radar a bit is Xavier Maxwell, despite earning honorable mention All-Conference honors at the end of the season.  The 6-1, 178 lb. sophomore from Humble was a big target for the Bucs, averaging over 25 yards per reception in his two seasons (39 receptions for 1,004 yards and 7 TDs).  Xavier was kind enough to answer some questions about himself and future.

LSC Scoop - Xavier, what an outstanding senior season, both individually and as a team. What will you remember most from last year?
Xavier Maxwell - I will remember the hard work and effort i put out with my teamates during the season, off season, and spring training.
Scoop - What were the expectations coming into the season, and did you and your teammates meet your goals?
XM - Our expectations was to win the national championship unfortunately we were short of that, but we did get another oppertunity to play in a bowl game with one another. 

Scoop - Tell us a little bit about recruiting. When did 4 year colleges start coming around? Was it ever a distraction?
XM - As we all know recruiting is very stressful but necessary and important. However, I started getting recruited during my sophmore yr. at blinn. Although a few coaches left contact information here and there it was never an distraction. I made sure i finished as hard as i started before i started thinking of schools of interest.

Scoop - Who are the schools interested in you?
XM - I have recieved contact information from UCA (Central Arkansas), Kansas St, Kansas, Texas State , Louisiana Tech, UNLV, Lamar, Savannah St. , ACU, Midwestern, and Iowa st. La tech, UNLV, UCA, Savannah st. are in contact with me the most. 

Scoop - What schools are you most interested in?
XM - Im interested to anywhere right now, my options are open and i am patiently waiting to find a home. 

Scoop - How big of a role do academics play in your decision? Have you decided on a major?
XM - It plays a factor because without education you cant ball. I have not decided my major but i am leaning towards the field of a counselor.

Scoop - What strengths do you have that will help you be successful at the next level?
XM - I have leadership qualities and i could bring excitement to the team. (Xavier won the team captain award).

Scoop - Who are your role models, or the people that have helped you get where you are today?

XM - I do not have a role model, but i will give credit to Full Potential Joeseph Lane he has helped me on several occasions from workout videos to opening his family to me personally, also several of my teammates Chase Terry, Shaun Rutherford, Chris Curtis, and Kip Daily. Also my family, they always were there to give me the support and spiritual guidence which is needed daily but also throughout my athletic career.

Scoop- Any advice for guys that will be going through this process in the next year or two?XM - I always tell younger guys that i know that i see growing up is to stay in the books, and pla to your full potential every oppertunity you may recieve. The most important thing is to stay healthy and have patience. 

Scoop - What teammates do you think have the ability to play at the next level? Are they being recruited?
XM - I feel like our whole team could play on the next level such as, Eddie Porter LB Ishmail hayes DE Jon Gandy DE Chase Terry TE Jacob Bennett WR/PR Kyle Auchbaun ATH Marion Grice RB Ken Smith DT Xavier Ruben OL Armando Alvarez OL Chris Grishby OL Earl Hines LB Jeremy Baltazar DB Anthony Watson DB Maurice Poullard DB and many more. They all are currently being recruied.

Scoop - Thanks Xavier, we hope to see you in the LSC the next two years.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LSC Scoop Superlatives and Power Poll - 11-13

LSC Scoop Superlatives
Offensive - Brittan Golden, West Texas A&M - Golden had just 4 receptions for the Buffs, but was tackled just once!  Oddly, his first catch was his longest, 60 yards, and he was stopped just short of a TD at the one yard line.  He later had TD catches of 11, 43 and 24 yards as West Texas A&M routed an undermanned Texas A&M-Commerce squad.
Defensive - Nick Jones, Eastern New Mexico - Nick Jones was a one man tackling crew for the Greyhounds.  Jones totalled 25 tackles, including 12 solo stops in Eastern New Mexico's 23-10 loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville.  Coming into the game, Jones had 37 total tackes for the season.
Special Teams - Greg Saladino, Midwestern State - Saladino converted on a 57 yard field goal in the second quarter of Midwestern State's win over Northeastern State.  That kick would turn out to be the difference in the Mustang's 37-34 win.  His previous long for 2011 was 43 yards.

LSC Scoop Power Poll
  1. Midwestern State 10-0 (1) - Got a big-time scare from the Riverhawks, but found a way to win.
  2. Abilene Christian 8-2 (2) - Had their way with the Cardinals.
  3. West Texas A&M 7-3 (3) - Mistakes in week one keep Buffs out of playoffs.
  4. Tarleton State 6-5 (4) - Had to work for win over Angelo State.
  5. Texas A&M-Kingsville 6-5 (5) - Javs end up and down season on a positive note.
  6. Angelo State 5-6 (6) - Rams fought hared until the end of the season.
  7. Incarnate Word 2-8 (7) - Tough end to a tough season.
  8. Texas A&M-Commerce 1-9 (8) - Very disappointing season for the Lions.
  9. Eastern New Mexico 2-9 (9) - Greyhounds struggles continue in 2011. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

LSC Scoop Game Previews and Picks

Heading into the final week of the regular season, Joey Richards has a comfortable 2 pick lead.  Barring some bizarre upsets (and prescient pickers), he will be the inaugural LSC Scoop Pickems winner.

Current Standings
Joey Richards
LSC Scoop
Brad Keith
Randy Ward
Jacob Unruh - He would be been fighting for the lead, had a busy work scheduled not interfered.

(This week's preview is shortened, as either my computer or our host has eaten three attempts at posting the complete preview.  Please accept our apologies)

Joey's Picks
WT 45, Commerce 21 -- Buffs tuning up for Kanza Bowl.
ACU 51, UIW 10 -- Wildcats need a solid outing on both sides of the ball going into the playoffs.
TSU 35, ASU 21 -- Texans end the season with a five-game win streak.
Kingsville 48, ENMU 28 -- Javs finish strong.
MSU 56, NSU 17 -- Mustangs wrap up a perfect run through the regular season.

Brad's Picks
WT 45, TAMC 20
ACU 49, UIW 14
Tarleton 31, Angelo 28
TAMK 42, ENMU 31
MSU 42, NSU 14

Randy's Picks
Jacob's Picks

LSC Scoop Picks
West Texas A&M 45, Texas A&M-Commerce 14 - Buffs will vent some of their frustrations (losing only to teams ranked #2, #3, and #12 in this week's AFCA poll)
Abilene Christian 38, Incarnate Word 17 - Wildcats might empty the bench after taking control to rest players for road game to open NCAA playoffs.
Tarleton State 45, Angelo State 17 - Tarleton's late season surge much more impressive than ASU's.
Texas A&M-Kingsville 35, Eastern New Mexico 24 - Javelina's have not made things easy this year, and Blackwater Draw has caused them problems in the past.
Midwestern State 42, Northeastern State 28 - Riverhawks having best year in more than a decade, but Mustangs are having best year ever.

Mitchell Gale - needs 228 passing yards to pass Jim Lindsey and move into #2 all-time on ACU's passing yardage chart.
J. J. Harp - 116 yards shy of 8,000 career passing yards.
Wes Wood - with 213 passing yards and 2 TDs, will overtake Kevin Kott for #1 on ENMU's record books.
Marcus Graham - 84 rushing yards shy of 2,000 for his career.
David Little - one TD reception shy of the MSU career record.
Darryl Richardson - nees 44 all-purpose yards to reach 3,000 for his career.

Monday, November 7, 2011

LSC Scoop Week 10 Superlatives and Power Poll

Offensive - Jonathan Woodson, Texas A&M-Kingsville    Woodson was a one-man wrecking crew, piling up 343 all-purpose yards and scoring 4 TDs against Abilene Christian. Woodson opened the scoring with an 87 yard run in the first quarter giving the Javelinas an early lead.  He subsequently added TD runs of 24 and 80 and took a Daniel Ramirez pass 60 yards, each time bringing Texas A&M-Kingsville even with the Wildcats.  Woodson has surpassed the 200 yard mark in five consecutive games, averaging 272 yards per game over that period, and now has 2,167 yards for the season.

Defensive - Kevin Birdow, Midwestern State       Birdow helped Midwestern State keep the pressure on West Texas A&M QB Dustin Vaughn, getting both of the Mustangs' sacks, and three QB hurries.  That pressure was a big reason for Vaughn completing just 20 of 45 passes for 252 yards.  Both of Birdow's sacks came on third downs, forcing WT into punt situations, getting the ball back to the Mustang offense, and helping MSU to a huge time of possession advantage (41:21 to 18:39).

Special Teams - Kevin VanVoris, West Texas A&M    VanVoris did his part in helping WTAM with the field position battle against Midwestern State.  VanVoris boomed 4 of his 5 kickoffs for touchbacks, and averaged 43.3 yards on 7 punts, with only two returned, for a net average of 42.9 yards per punt.  Two punts pinned Midwestern State inside their own 5 yard line.

LSC Scoop Power Poll (Last Weeks Rank)
  1. Midwestern State 9-0 (1) - Mustangs leave no doubt as to top LSC team in 2011.
  2. Abilene Christian 7-2 (2) - Wildcats win a shootout and solidify playoff positioning.
  3. West Texas A&M 6-3 (3) - Week one loss could be difference between playoffs and Kanza Bowl.
  4. Tarleton State 5-5 (4) - Texans have a shot to end season with 5 game winning streak.
  5. Texas A&M-Kingsville 5-5 (5) -  Four of five losses are by one score.
  6. Angelo State 5-5 (7) -  Solid win over Cardinals keeps winning record possible.
  7. Incarnate Word 2-7 (6) - Early season promise fading quickly.
  8. Texas A&M-Commerce 1-8 (9) - Lions enter the win column in impressive fashion.
  9. Eastern New Mexico 2-8 (8) - Played Mustangs tougher than they played the Lions???

LSC Scoop Regional Rankings with next week's opponent
  1. Midwestern State (2 last week) - 68.39   Northeastern State
  2. Washburn (3) - 66.60    Central Missouri
  3. Pittsburg State (1) - 66.05    Missouri Southern
  4. Northwest Missouri (4) - 62.92     Emporia State
  5. Missouri Western (5) - 62.75      Fort Hays
  6. Abilene Christian (6) - 60.71     Incarnate Word
  7. Central Missouri (8) - 59.40      Washburn
  8. Ouachita Baptist (9) - 59.21     Henderson State
  9. Northeastern State (11) - 58.75      Midwestern State
  10. Humboldt State (12) - 58.37     Western Oregon
  11. Henderson State (10) - 57.51   Ouachita Baptist
  12. West Texas A&M (7) - 56.94     Texas A&M-Commerce

Friday, November 4, 2011

LSC Scoop Game Previews and Picks

Joey had a perfect week and maintains a one point lead heading into week 10.  We also got all 5 games correct, leaving us in sole possession of second place.

Season Standings
36 - Joey Richards (LW 5 correct picks)
35 - LSC Scoop (5)
34 - Brad Keith (4)
32 - Randy Ward (3)

Joey's Picks
Tarleton 55, Millsaps 17 -- Texans have fun against a 4-4 Division III team.
TAMC 28, ENMU 24 -- Lions finally end a long, long losing streak.
Angelo 38, UIW 20 -- Scrappy Cards losing steam after playing hard, but getting little in return early in the season
ACU 31, Kingsville 24 -- Offense was shaky last week against Commerce, coming on heels of 70-28 loss the previous week at Midwestern. ACU better get it together this week, or it's going to be a long ride home.
MSU 45, WT 28 -- Both teams have a lot riding on this game, but the Mustangs just have too much horsepower. Buffs must hang with them early, or they'll be watching MSU celebrate an outright LSC title Saturday in Wichita Falls.

Brad's Picks
Millsaps College at Tarleton State - Tarleton has suddenly won three straight and should have no problem making it four. Quarterback Nick Stephens has eight TDs and no picks the last two weeks and should torch D3 Millsaps', which is 4-4 in non-scolly land including dropping its homecoming last week. Tarleton 52, Millsaps 7
Eastern New Mexico at A&M-Commerce - Tough, tough times at Commerce and only slightly better in Portales. I'll go with the Greyhounds to continue being slightly better Saturday.  Eastern 31, A&M-Commerce 27
Angelo State at Incarnate Word - UIW moved the ball well in the first half at Tarleton, but turned it over three times inside the Texan 35. Cardinal QB Eric Massoni - replacing injured Paden Lynch - can't afford those same mistakes again with ASU looking to put behind last week's tough overtime loss. The Rams should cruise.  Angelo 34, Incarnate Word 17

Abilene Christian at A&M-Kingsville - The Wildcats lost big to Midwestern then didn't exactly rout A&M-Commerce the way I thought they would. Like WT, they know they're playoff spot is far from in the bag, and I feel they'll come together and perform well, even with the tough road trip.  ACU 42, A&M-Kingsville 27
West Texas A&M at Midwestern State  - I think Dustin Vaughan and the Buff offense can put up big numbers. Heck, ACU put up big numbers. But in the end, I believe Brandon Kelsey and MSU are just too good out of what Tarleton coach Cary Fowler labeled a "wishbone offense out of the shotgun."  I'd call it even closer if the game was in Canyon.  Midwestern 52, West Texas 35

Randy's Picks 
Millsaps 12, Tarleton State 30
ENMU 37, Commerce 21
Angelo State 24, Incarnate Word 10
Abilene Christian 33, Kingsville 28
WT 21, Midwestern 38

Milestones this week
Mitchell Gale - (7,886 yds) should easily pass Derek Maupin and Rex Lamberti on the LSC career passing charts, and has an outside chance at Steve Kelly and Josh Neiswander with a big game.
Brandon Kelsey - (187.51 pass efficiency) is challenging Billy Malone (189.66) for top mark in recent history.
JJ Harp - (7,541 yds) can move past John Mayes (270 yards), Loyal Proffitt (284 yards), Dalton Bell (301 yards) and Ned Cox (303 yards).
Wesley Woods - (6,245) is 30 yards behind JJ Harp in ENMU's record book and 356 from the top spot held by Kevin Kott.
Nick Stephens - (4,127) joins the 4K club for career passing yards.
Brittan Golden - (2,696 yds) is closing in on Darron Johnson (2,711), Johnathan Haggerty (2,726), Dwight Harrison (2,784) and Don Burrell (2,798).
Darian Dale - (2,564) has Wes Smith (2,652) and Brad Bailey (2,677) directly ahead of him on th charts.
David Little - (2,063) has joind the 2K club.  Needs 5 receptions to become MSU's all-time leader.
Damian Couthren - (1,494) needs 6 receiving yards to reach 1,500.
Jonathan Woodson - (1,824) is 176 all-purpose yards shy of 2K for the season, and 285 shy of 4K for his career.
Darryl Richardson - (2,005) joined the 2K club for rushing yards.  He is 198 yards short of 3,000 career all-purpose yards.

LSC Scoop Game Previews
D3 Millsaps College (4-4) at Tarleton State (4-5)
Who is Millsaps, and what will they bring to Saturday's game in Stephenville ?  They are the Majors, a memeber of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (Trinity and Austin College are also members), and located in Jackson, Mississippi.  Since 2006, they have compiled a 44-17 record, including an 11-1 season in 2008 in which they advanced to second round of the playoffs, losing 35-20 to Washington and Jeffereson.  They are 4-4 in 2011, with wins over LaGrange College, University of the South, Austin College and Rhodes College, while the losses have come to Mississippi College, Louisiana College, Trinity University and Centre College.  Offensively, they average 21.8 points and 333.8 yards per game (101.4 rushing, 232.4 passing).  On defense, they have allowed 26.6 points and 320.9 yards per game (142.8 rushing, and 178.1 passing).

Tarleton is on a roll, winners of three straight, with the offense averaging 459 yards and 48 points over that span.  Last week against Incarnate Word, the Texan defense got into the act, forcing turnovers on the Cardinals first three drives (all deep in TSU territory), and then just shutting them down untill the game was 38-0 in the third quarter.  Nick Stephens eclipsed the 4,000 yard career passing mark last week, and is moving up the single season yardage chart at a quick pace.  The running game has helped open things up - in their four wins, Tarleton averages 143 yards, in thier five losses just 72.

It's a shame that the Texans got off to such a slow start, because they are playing  like playoff contenders right now.  But they perservered, and have a shot of ending the season with a 5 game winning streak and a winning record.  They won't slip up this week, TSU 42-14.

Eastern New Mexico (2-7) at A&M-Commerce (0-8)
Give the Greyhounds some credit, they played Midwestern State tougher than Tarleton, Angelo State or Abilene Christian (3 teams ahead of them in the LSC standings).  In fact, they trailed 21-20 midway through the second quarter, before MSU took advantage of great field position, running off 29 straight points over the next 20 minutes, putting the game out of reach.  Wesley Wood had a very nice game, throwing for 299 yards and 4 TDs, and rushing for 61 yards and the other ENMU TD.   Wesley Wood needs 31 yards to pass JJ Harp and 357 to take the top spot from Kevin Kott on ENMU's career pasing chart.  He is also two TD passes behind Kott.

Speaking of Harp, he has now started 4 games for the Lions, and has completed 61% of his passes for 1,139 yards and 6 TDs, but also 8 Ints during that span.  The Lions have started slowly in all four games, trailing by a 90-23 margin and committing 10 turnovers in the first halves of those games.  Last week, the Lions fell behind ACU by 23 at the break, unable to capitalize on four ACU turnovers (1 TD only), while committing four themselves (which ACU turned into 3 TDs).

If the Lions want to avoid their first winless season since going 0-6-1 back in 1929 (otherwise known as the Great Depression), they better do it this week.  Something tells me, WT will not be accomodating next week.  ENMU gets road win #3, Greyhounds 35-24.

Angelo State (4-5) at Incarnate Word (2-6)
How many times does a team win the turnover battle 7-1 and not win the game?  Without bothering to do any research, it is probably safe to say "Not very often".  So how do you not win the game?  Obviously, by not converting them into enough points.  Four of TAMK's turnovers came inside their own 25 yard line (3 inside their 15), but the Rams had to settle for 3 FGs and one TD.  A week after dissecting TAMC's defense(?), Jake Strickler struggled, completing just 10-28 passes for 130 yards.  The defense played well most of the game, holding the Javelinas to 251 yards over the first 54 minutes of the ball game, in addition to the turnovers.  But over the final six minutes the allowed scoring drives of 68 and 63 yards as well as two TDs in overtime.

For the Cardinals, they ended a tumultuous two weeks, dropping a 48-10 game to Tarleton State in Todd Ivicic's debut as interim head coach. The Cardinal offense was able to move the ball early on, but turnovers at the Tarleton 9, 28 (Int returned for TD), and 35 took the wind out of UIW's sails, and the Cardinals found themselves down 38-0 at the 11:03 mark of the third quarter.  Eric Massoni struggled in his second start, completing 15-34 passes for 172 yards and 2 Ints.  Meanwhile the LSC's team leader in Ints, were unable to coax one from Nick Stephens.  In fact, the defense gave up 500+ yards for the second straight week, and third time in four weeks.

Wow, after reading that, its hard to make a case for either team to win this week.  But we'll go Angelo State has shown the ability to beat teams they are supposed to (with the ENMU game an exception).  Rams take it, but probably not easily, 28-24.

#16 Abilene Christian (6-2) at A&M-Kingsville (5-4)
Had they been playing anyone other than Texas A&M-Commerce last week, ACU might have 3 losses coming into this game.  The Wildcats turned the ball over 4 times in the first half (5 for the game), but the Lions could not take advantage, going three and out, turning the ball back over twice, before finally converting a TO into a touchdown just ahead of halftime.  They were busy turning the ball over themselves, four times in the first half and five times overall.  ACU did take advantage, scoring three TDs, including a 46 yard Int pick six.  Darryl Richardson had 146 yards and 2 TDs on his first 5 carries, on his way to a career high 170 yards rushing.  The defense played well most of the game, but gave up yards and scores making the score closer than it should have been. In taking a 33-7 lead, TAMC gained just 157 yards, but in the final 22:33, Commerce gained 230 yards and outscored ACU 21-7.  Not the strong finish that you'd like to see.

Texas A&M-Kingsville closed strong, scoring the final 10 points in regulation, and two TDs in three OT possessions.  They needed to finish strong to overcome 6 turnovers in regulation and another in OT.  Once again, they started out slow, turning the ball over on their first three possessions, but this time, they only fell behind by a six points in the first quarter. So how bad have turnovers been for the Javelinas?  Over the past five games, they are a negative 14 in turnover margin (19-5) and have been outscored 71-24 on possesions immediately following turnovers or on returns of the turnovers themselves.  Somewhat lost in the shuffle, Jonathan Woodson is leading the nation in all-purpose yards with 202.7 per game, a pace exceeded this decade by only Bernard Scott.

There is game this Saturday that will decide who the LSC champion will be.  This was supposed to be that game, but the season has not played out the way we predicted prior to the season.  ACU's destiny is in their hands - win out and they will make the playoffs and start with a clean slate.  TAMK is simply playing spoiler, while holding out some hope for a Kanza bowl invitation.  They have just been too mistake-prone, and while they likely won't commit seven turnovers this week, they probably won't play clean enough to beat the Wildcats.  ACU 35-24.

#20 West Texas A&M (6-2) at #5 Midwestern State (8-0)
The Buffaloes have bounced back from a two game offensive slump, scoring 101 points the last two weeks.  Dustin Vaughn (3rd in the nation in passing yards per game) continues to play very well, completing 63% of his passes for 2,533 yards, with 21 TDs.  Equally important, he has just two Ints over the last 7 games (250 pass attempts).  Brittan Golden was huge last week, with 9 receptions for 170 yards and 3 TDs - his last 7 receptions were all good for first downs, including the 3 TDs.  If MSU can cover him (a big if), 7 other Buffs have double digit receptions.  Golden, Lance Ratliff, and Jeremy Watson are all in the top 10 for receiving yards per game.  Defensively, WT's run defense faces their biggest challenge of the year.  The Buffs are second in the LSC, giving up just 103.6 yards per game, and just three per rushing attempt.  The pass defense has been good, 2nd in pass defense effiency, and they are 3rd in the LSC with 10 interceptions.

Meanwhile, the MSU machine continues to roll on.  ENMU did hang with MSU for a while (much as they hung with NWMSU early on), but then before you knew it, MSU had scored 29 straight points and put the game out of reach.  The running game continues to impress - 335 yards per game, 7.5 yards per carry, and the top three rushers in the LSC (and #10 as well).  Branond Kelsey done a great job directing the offense, leading the nation in passing efficiency, and averaging more than 10 yards on every play that he either passes or carries the ball.  As a team, Midwestern State averages 8.4 yards per play, with Northwest Missouri second at 7.7.  The key to the offense, however, is the offensive line, anchored by All-American Amini Silatolu.  Not only have they done an outstanding job with the run game, the pass protection has been solid as well - just 6 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries so far this year.  One last offensive statistic - red zone offense.  So far this season, MSU has entered the opponents red zone 43 times.  They have scored all 43 times - 40 TDs and 3 FGs.  The MSU defense is overlooked, due to the offense.  But they have done their part as well this year, allowing 20.5 points and 358 yards per game.  The pass defense leads the LSC in efficiency, but will have their hands full this week.  They have just 6 interceptions and only 13 sacks, which is an area of concern against WT.

This the game of the week, and potentially, the game of the year.  The top two LSC teams in scoring, scoring defense and yards gained, while #2 and #3 in yards allowed. Two things that could decide this game. 1. Can the Buffs slow down the Pony Express and put more pressure on Kelsey's passing game.  Some of his success this year passing the ball has arisen from the running game's effectiveness - he simply has not been in a situation where he had to throw the ball to move the ball downfield.  2. Can the Mustangs get pressure on Vaughn, and not let him pick apart their pass defense.  ENMU was matching MSU stride for stride midway through the second quarter last week, and WT is a much more complete offense.  Look for MSU to get a couple more stops on defense than WT, and win a hard-fought game.  MSU 42-31.

Monday, October 31, 2011

LSC Scoop Week 9 Superlatives and Power Poll

Offensive - Brittan Golden, West Texas A&M    Brittan Golden turned in an All-American caliber performance Saturday, catching 9 passes for 170 and 3 TDs.  Golden's last 7 receptions for the Buffs produced first downs (as well as drawing a pass interference call for another), with 3 going for touchdowns.  His final reception iced the game, as he took a short pass from Dustin Vaughn, broke a tackle and turned it into a 70 yard touchdown.

Defensive - Joe Jones, Tarleton State    Joe Jones, back in the lineup for Tarleton State for the first time since being injured against Texas State in week 3, made his presence felt early for the Texans.  With Incarnate Word driving to tie the game in the first quarter, Jones picked off and Eric Masoni pass and returned it 72 yards for a Texan touchdown, setting the stage for a big win over the Cardinals.  He also had 6 solo tackles on the night.

Special Teams - Matt Stoll, Texas A&M-Kingsville     Matt Stoll had a perfect night kicking for the Javelinas, going 3-3 on PATs and also 3-3 on field goals. Coming into the game, Stoll's career long was a 33 yarder, coming last week against Tarleton State, but he exceeded that mark, not once, but twice against Angelo State.  The first mark came as time expired in the first half, with Stoll connecting on a 39 yard attempt, pulling the Javelinas to within 3 at the break.  His biggest FG though came at the end of the game, as he was successful on a 49 yard kick with no time left on the clock, sending the game into overtime, with Texas A&M-Kingsville eventually winning in 3 OTs.

LSC Scoop Poll (Last Week's Rank)
  1. Midwestern State 8-0 (1) - Offense did not miss a beat, defense not as sharp.
  2. Abilene Christian 6-2 (2) - Not sharp, but didn't have to be against Lions.
  3. West Texas A&M 6-2 (3) - Took care of Central Washington, can they slow down Mustangs?
  4. Tarleton State 4-5 (4) - Decisive win over UIW, Texans appear to be picking up speed.
  5. Texas A&M-Kingsville 5-4 (5) - Turned the ball over 7 times and found a way to win.
  6. Incarnate Word 2-6 (6) - Coaching turmoil affected Cardinals, but still a bad loss.
  7. Angelo State 4-5 (7) - How do you lose when your opponent has 7 turnovers?
  8. Eastern New Mexico 2-7 (8) - Played Mustangs better than all but one team so far this year.
  9. Texas A&M-Commerce 0-8 (9) - Kept score with ACU respectable.

LSC Scoop Regional Rankings
  1. Pittsburg State (1 LW) - 69.37
  2. Midwestern State (2) - 68.19
  3. Washburn (4) - 66.04
  4. Northwest Missouri (3) - 65.75
  5. Missouri Western (5) - 61.72
  6. Abilene Christian (6) - 60.52
  7. West Texas A&M (7) - 60.13
  8. Central Missouri (10) - 58.16
  9. Ouachita Baptist (9) - 57.76
  10. Henderson State (8) - 57.50
  11. Northeastern State () - 57.10
  12. Humboldt State (12) - 56.88
  13. Western Oregon (NR) - 55.52
  14. Missouri S&T (11) - 52.75
  15. East Central (NR)  -  51.85
  16. Tarleton State (NR) - 51.99
  17. Texas A&M-Kingsville (NR) - 51.49

Friday, October 28, 2011

LSC Scoop Game Previews and Picks

Despite going 3-2 last week, Joey maintains the overall lead by a single point.

Season Standings
31 - Joey Richards (LW 3 correct picks)
30 - Bradk Keith (4)
30 - LSC Scoop (4)
29 - Randy Ward (4)
24 - Jacob Unruh (4)

Joey's Picks
ACU 45, Commerce 7 -- Wildcats get some much-needed medicine with the Lions coming to town.
MSU 63, ENMU 7 -- Mustangs looked like a contender for a national championship last week. Might be a little letdown this week, but not much.
TAMK 28, ASU 21 -- Rams have struggled at home this season, and Kingsville has little to lose at this point.
TSU 35, UIW 21 -- Tarleton plays well at home, and the Texans are starting to put things together.
WT 38, CWU 28 -- Buffs can't afford a mistake from here on out. They've got to take care of business against a Central Washington team having an off year.

Randy's Picks
Commerce @ Abilene - Commerce may get some lucky bounces and score 10 points. Abilene 52-10
Midwestern @ Eastern NM - Mustangs have been scoring ridiculous numbers, they'll still win comfortably this week, but maybe the offense cools off some.  Midwestern 38-14
Kingsville @ Angelo State - Rams have a pep in their step this week after shaking the long losing streak. Angelo State 28-7
Incarnate Word @ Tarleton State -  Won't be surprised with either team to win this one, but I'll go with the Cardinal. Incarnate Word 24-17
Central Washington @ West Texas  -  Buffs stay in playoff race for now with a win. West Texas wins 31-24

LSC Scoop Game Previews
Texas A&M-Commerce (0-7) at #19 Abilene Christian (5-2)
Both teams had arguably their worst games of the year last week.  For the winless Lions, it wasn't a big surprise that they lost to Angelo State, but they never were in this game.  The offense did not put together a drive until the third quarter and the Rams had a 35-0 lead.  Their first half possessions gained for -1, 2, 6, 7 (Int), 21, 19 (fumble) and 0 yards.  Meanwhile the defense allowed ASU to put together 5 TD drives of 50 or more yards.  Special Teams got into the act as well, allowing Paul Mason to return a punt 70 yards for a TD.
Expectations for Abilene Christian were much higher.  Yes, Midwestern State was undefeated coming into the game, but they hadn't faced a team as good as ACU yet.  The Wildcats got off to a good start, taking the opening drive 80 yards down the field and scoring the first TD on a 17 yard pass from Mitchell Gale to Taylor Gabriel.  That would be the highlight of the day for ACU, as MSU would score TDs on their first 5 possessions in the first half, while keeping ACU off of the scoreboard and taking complete control of the ballgame.  MSU would end the day with 740 yards of offense, setting an MSU single game record, while also registering as the most given up by an ACU defense.  One bright spot for ACU was WR Taylor Gabriel, who had 10 receptions for 138 yards and 3 TDs.
Milestones - with 303 yards passing, Mithcell Gale will move into the #3 spot on ACU's career charts.  JJ Harp needs 256 passing yards to reach 7,500 for his career.  Taylor Fore is 64 receiving yards shy of 1,500 for his career.
 This has the makings of an ugly game.  TAMC didn't show up at their own homecoming against Angelo State, and ACU is fighting for the playoff lives.  ACU wins big, 49-7.

#8 Midwestern State (7-0) at Eastern New Mexico (2-6)
The frst half was simply awfulf for the Greyhounds at Kimbrough Stadium.  The defense allowed drives of 80, 48, 91, 96, and 86 yards, four of which ended with Buffalo TDs.  Meanwhile, the offense never made it past the WT 33 yard line until the third quarter.  They were just never in this ballgame.    Darian Dale reached a milestone last weekend, surpassing the 2,500 yard receiving mark.
A win over ACU was not a huge surprise, but 740 yards of offense and 70 points certainly was.  The Mustangs averaged 10 yards a play (9.1 on the ground, 12.2 per pass attempt).  Brandon Kelsey continued his breakout season, completing 16-24 passes for 205 yards and 3 TDs, and rushing for 114 yards and another TD.  MSU punted the ball just twice, while scoring 10 TDs against ACU's defense.  For the season, MSU has 4 of the top 7 rushers in the LSC.  Jimmy Pipkin (89.2) is averaging 13.4 yards per carry, Kelsey (83.7) is averaging 10.5 per carry, Keidrick Jackson (74.3) and Lester Bush (60.7) have shared the ball all year, and have a combined 31 rushing TDs.  Only Texas A&M-Kingsville and West Texas A&M more total team TDs.  Not to be overlooked, the Mustang defense held ACU's offense to just one first half TD, forcing 4 punts and picking off Mitchell Gale on the second series of the game.  A large chunk of the total yards given up by MSU, cam after they had taken a 49-14 lead late in the third quarter.  If there is an area for improvement, it could be in the penalty department. MSU had 129 yards of penalties, including a roughing the kicker penalty that led to an ACU score.  Not a big deal in that game, but it is something that could hurt them down the road.  For the season, MSU is last in the LSC with 90.3 penalty yards per game.
Milestone - MSU's David Little trails Bryan Gilmore by 6 receptions on MSU's career record book.  Wes Wood needs 54 passing yards to reach 6,000 for his career, and 330 to pass JJ Harp for #2 on ENMU's record books.  Tony Valenzuela needs 11 yards to reach 1,000 rushing yards.
This week will end a brutal stretch of the schedule for ENMU that has seen them face 4 straight ranked foes, with 3 of them in the top ten when played.  None of those games have been pretty, and don't expect this one to be either.  MSU 56-7.

Texas A&M-Kingsville (4-4) at Angelo State (4-4)
The Javelinas inconsistent, frustrating, and exciting seaon continued last week, as Tarleton State scored the last 14 points of the game, taking a 41-34 win over the Javelinas.  Similar to their other losses, TAMK fell behind 14-0 after another first quarter turnover. The offense put together an impressive stretch scoring 31 points over a 16:36 span in the second and third quarters.  But mistakes down the stretch allowed the Texans to come back and win the game.  The offense has averaged 484 yards over the last 6 games
We're not sure what to make of Angelo State's 45-14 win over TAMC.  On the surface it was impressive, with the Rams picking up 191 yards rushing and 209 passing, not turning the ball over, while getting two takeaways themselves (which led to 2 TDs), and returning a punt for a TD.  But it was against a winless team, that didn't show much fight.  It did end a four game skid for the Rams (including three ranked teams), and gives them momentum for a strong finish.
Quiet sidenote - While not getting the accolades that Aston Whiteside does, TAMK's Roderick Benman (8) and ASU's Lawrence Rumph (7.5) top the LSC in sacks and are #1 (Rumph with 12) and #3 (Benman with 11) in tackles for loss.
Milestone - Damian Couthren needs 6 receiving yards to reach 1,500 for his career.  Daniel Ramirez is 159 passing yards shy of 3,000.  Jonathan Woodson nees 36 all-purpose yards to reach 3,500 for his career.  Tristan Carter needs 360 rushing yards to crack ASU's top 10 all-time rushing list.
Interesting matchup of a couple of up and down teams.  ASU had letdowns against ENMU and MSU, while TAMK has yet to put together a complete game.  At some point, the Javelinas will put together a complete game, won't they?  It will be interesting, TAMK 35-31.

Incarnate Word (2-5) at Tarleton State (3-5)
The big news this week was the dismissal/resignation of UIW head coach, Mike Santiago.  Reports out of San Antonio have indicated that it wasn't so much the team's won-loss record, but other factors that led to his leaving the university.  His last game was nearly his biggest win as the Cardinals narrowly missed out upsetting Texas A&M-Kingsville.  Perhaps the most interesting bit of information that came out of the various news reports, was that the selection of a new coach would depend on whether UIW plans to move to FCS - a move to FCS would mean a nationwide coaching search, while remaining in D2 would open the pool to the possibility of internal candidates being considered for the HC position.
The Texans got a huge momentum boost, winning in Kingsville 41-34.  The offense, which had been held in check for most of the game, awoke late the game, gaining 173 of the teams 428 yards and scoring 17 fourth quarter points to pull out the win.  Courtney Vaugh had 152 yards rushing and 31 receiving, scoring twice.  In Tarleton's 3 wins, he has rushed for 365 yards, while totalling just 119 yards the rest of the year.  Nick Stephens had his best game of the year, with 294 yards and 4 TDs.  The defense continues to struggle, allowing teams 436 yards and 35.5 points per game.
Milestone - Nick Stephens is 188 passing yards from 4,000 for his career. Trent Rios needs 251 rushing yards for 2,000.
The Texans appear to have turned the corner, winning their last two games and scoring 95 points in the process.  A winning season is a possiblity for them, something that was very unlikely just a couple of weeks ago.  They will take another step in that direction, TSU 42-24.

Central Washington (3-4) at #20 West Texas A&M (5-2)
The Buffaloes continued their domination of the lower rung LSC teams and retaining the Wagon Wheel with a 52-21 win over Eastern New Mexico.  Bad field position did not bother WT, as they  had 5 TD possessions of 80+ yards in the game (and a 91 yard drive that ended on the ENMU 1), with 3 TDs of more than 65 yards.  Dustin Vaughn, who threw for 402 yards and 4 TDs on just 14-20 passing, Lance Ratliff, with 5 catches for 173 yards and 2 TDs, and Aarrhon Flores, with 130 yards rushing on 12 carries, were the offensive standouts.  The defense did its part, shutting out ENMU in the first half and to just 7 points through three quarters.
The Wildcats continued to recover from an 0-3 start to the season, squeaking by Dixie State 31-24.  Jose Mohler completed 16-24 passes for 259 yards and 2 TDs in his first start.  Armahd Lewis had two catches, both for TDs of 75 and 63 yards.  Offensively, they don't run the ball well, averaging just 101 yards per game and 3 yards per carry, while passing for 251 yards a game.  The defense allows 141 yards rushing and 222 passing, and have picked off 11 passes.  While CWU has won 3 of the last 4 games, two were wins over Dixie State and Simon Fraser.  They have one impressive win (41-10 over Western Oregon), and their losses have come by margins of 11, 2, 7, and 10 points.
Milestone - Brittan Golden is 16 receiving yards from #3 (Keith Miller) on WT's career charts, and 151 yards from #2 (Brad Bailey).
This was expected to be a marquee matchup of playoff contenders, but CWU has not held up their end of the bargain.  They are playing for pride, while WT has the playoffs firmly in sight.  They will not slip up this week, WT 42-17.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

All-LSC Scoop Preseason Football Team

All-LSC Scoop Preseason Football Team
LSC Scoop Player of the Year - ACU - Mitchell Gale
LSC Scoop Offensive MVP - WTAM - Brittan Golden
LSC Scoop Defensive MVP - ACU - Aston Whiteside
LSC Scoop Newcomer of Year - TAMK - Jai Cavness

QB - TAMK - Nate Poppell
RB - TSU - Evan Robertson
RB - UIW - Trent Rios
TE - ACU - Ben Gibbs
WR - MSU - David Little
WR - ASU - Dakari Pecikonis
WR - ENMU - Darian Dale
OL - MSU - Amini Silatolu
OL - ACU - Matt Webber
OL - ENMU - Adam Robinson
OL - ASU - Austin Sumrall
OL - WTAM - Hector Rodriguez

DL - MSU - J.D. Corcoran
DL - ACU - Donald Moore
DL - TAMK - Johnny Tivao
DL - UIW - Diego McClain
LB - ASU - Austin Benson
LB - TAMK - Marcus Sanders
LB - TAMC - Danny Mason
DB - WTAM - Curtis Jefferson
DB - WTAM - Caleb Randolph
DB - ASU - Alvin Johnson
DB - ACU - Darrien Williams

Special Teams
K - WTAM - Sergio Castillo
P - ASU - George Shamblen
RS - TAMK - Jonathan Woodson

LSC Scoop Preseason Power Poll

  1. Abilene Christian - Reigning conference champion returns top player in LSC on both sides of the ball
  2. Texas A&M-Kingsville - The Javelinas have improved each year with Coach Atterberry at the helm
  3. West Texas A&M - The defense might be ahead of the offense until a new QB gets settled in
  4. Midwestern State - Getting back to playoffs may hinge on how well new QB plays
  5. Angelo State - New faces everywhere - coach, QB, DL - make Rams most unpredictable team in LSC
  6. Tarleton State - How long will it take Texans to digest new Air Raid offense?
  7. Texas A&M-Commerce - If QB play is as improved as we think, Lions will move up the list.
  8. Eastern New Mexico - We know the Greyhounds will move the ball and score, but can they stop anyone?
  9. Incarnate Word -  Cardinals will be better, but will it result in more wins?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 Abilene Christian Preview

2010 Review
Abilene Christian cruised through the regular season undefeated, surviving tough battles at Washburn, Texas A&M-Kingsvile and West Texas A&M, and at home against Midwestern State.  The rest of the LSC did not put up much resistance, as ACU outscored them by an average of 49-13.  However the season came to a crashing halt in Round 2 of the NCAA playoffs, with Central Missouri shocking the Wildcats 55-41.

The offense was not only good, but consistent, scoring at least 31 points in every game.  ACU led the conference scoring 43.3 points per game and was second in total offense, racking up 473 yards.  Despite losing Reggie Brown before the season starte, ACU averaged 155 yards rushing (4th in the LSC).  But it was the passing game that was more impressive.  Sophomore Mitchell Gale went from a question mark entering the season to an All American caliber QB.  He threw for 3,595 yds with 38 TDs and just 3 INTs.  He had plenty of help - Edmond Gates and Raymond Radaway are on NFL rosters, and Kendrick Johnson was all LSC South as well.  All five offensive linemen received LSC honors with Royland Tubbs and Trevis Turner named to the first team.

The defense wasn't too shabby either, finishing second to Texas A&M-Kingsville in both scoring (21.5 pts) and total defense (324 yds per game).  Teams only rushed for 80 yds per games one of the top marks nationally.  Aston Whiteside continued to receive national accolades, as he racked up 7 sacks and 14.5 TFL despite being the focus of opposing coaching staffs.  All in all, five Wildcats (Whiteside, DT Marvin Jones, DE Fred Thompson, LB Courtney Lane, LB Kevin Washington) were named to the LSC South 1st team, while 3 (CB James Williams, DB Darrien Willams, and DT Donald Moore) were second team selections, and four (DB LB Suggs, DB Richard Havins, DE Bryson Lewis, LB Eric Edwards ) were honorable mention.

2011 Preview
No QB question this year, unless its whether or not Gale can become ACU's second Harlon Hill winner.  Due to the loss of such talented receivers and offensive linemen, his numbers might be down a little, but I wouldn't count on it.  Taylor Gabriel is the lone returning WR with much experience, but Darrell Cantu-Harkless moves to WR to help out, and Ben Gibbs is a scoring threat at TE.  With Reggie Brown back in the backfield, the RB corps is deep.  When healthy in 2009, he and Daryl Richardson combined for over 1,900 yds and 23 TDs rushing.  Add in Charcandrick West, who averaged 7.5 yds per carry as a freshman, and it would appear that the running game will take some of the pressure off of the passing game.  Up front, returning starters Matt Webber, Neal Tivis, and Josh Perez should be joined by Jerond Harrell, a senior transfer from Lambuth and sophomore Blake Spears.  Not a great deal of experience behind them however.

On defense, Whiteside will be joined up front by Donald Moore, Ryan Smith, TR Varnado and newcomer Rob Boyd.  Like the offensive line, there is not much experienced depth here.  LB Suggs moves to LB from the secondary, and Derek Odelusi from defensive end, joining Nathan Baggs, Thor Woerner and Chris Jones, who all saw playing time as reserves last year.  Transfers Jesse Harper and Derek Drummond could fit into the mix as well.  The secondary does not have a lot of experienced players returning either.  Darrien Williams, Richard Havins, Nate Bailey, and Caleb Withrow are back, and ACU will wecome Alex Harbison back from injury as well.  JC transfer Mike Wallace had 3 Ints last year for the College of San Mateo.

Morgan Lineberry connected on 21-30 FGs and 48-53 PATs and will be joined by Spencer Covey who averaged almost 65 yards per kickoff.  Withrow, Cantu-Harkless and West can all handle kick return duties more than adequately, but Kendrick Johnson will need to be replaced on punt returns, possibly by Gabriel or Cantu-Harkless.

Out with the Old
FB - Emery Dudensing - 1st LSC South, 6 TD receptions
WR - Edmond Gates, Kendrick Johnson, Raymond Radaway - 137 receptions, 2,223 yds, 22 TDs, Gates and Radaway on NFL rosters
OL - Royland Tubbs, Trevis Turner - both 1st LSC South selections
DL - Marvin Jones, Fred Thompson (both 1st LSC South), Bryson Lews (HM), and Austin January - combined for 109 tackles, 27 TFL, 9.5 sacks
LB - Kevin Washington, Courtney Lane (both 1st LSC South), Eric Edwards, Casey Carr - combined for 192 tackles, 23.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks
CB - James Williams - 2nd LSC South, 41 tackles, 3 Ints
P - Mark Sprauge - 2nd LSC South, 40.4 avg

Welcome Back
QB - Mitchell Gale - 164.1 QB rating, 38 TDs, 3 Ints, 3,595 yds passing
RB - Daryl Richardson, Reggie Brown, Chancandrick West
WR - Darrell Cantu-Harkless, Taylor Gabriel - 48 catches for 554 yds combined
TE - Ben Gibbs - 20 receptions for 238 yds and 5 TDs
OL - Matt Webber, Neal Tivis, Josh Perez
DL - Aston Whiteside, Donald Moore, Ryan Smith - combined 71 tackles, 25.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks
LB - Derek Odelusi, L.B. Suggs - combined 60 tackles 2.5 TFL
DB - Darrien Williams, Richard Havins, Nate Bailey - combined for 103 tackles, 4 Ints, 5 passes broken up
K - Spencer Covey (64.7 KO avg), Morgan Lineberry (111 pts)

In with the New
WR - Jamaine Sherman
WR - Ronald Gaudin
TE - Jon Parker
OL - Jerod Harrell
DE - Rob Boyd
LB - Jesse Harper, Derek Drummond

All Conference Candidates
QB - Mitchell Gale (All American and Harlon Hill Candidate)
RB - Daryl Richardson
WR - Darrell Cantu-Harkless
TE - Ben Gibbs
OL - Matt Webber, Neal Tivis, Josh Perez
DL - Aston Whiteside (All American candidate), Donald Moore
LB - LB Suggs
DB - Darrien Williams, Richard Havins

Big Games
Game 2 - North Alabama  In recent years, ACU has scheduled a top-notch non-conference opponent to help them get ready for the long season.  #6 North Alabama can virtually field a former SEC team with the large number of transfers on the roster.
Game 9 - at Texas A&M-Kingsville  Depending on how some of the earlier season games work out, this could be for all of the LSC marbles, or a fight for a playoff spot.  Both teams come into the season with high expectations, but also with difficult schedules.  If last year's game is any indication, this will be a barn burner.
Best Case Scenario - 11-0  The Wildcats did it last year, despite coming into the season with an unproven QB and losing half of their RB tandem prior to the season opener.  If the offensive line can provide enough time for Gale and the receivers can catch the ball, the offense should click.  The defense lost a lot, but there are still plenty of good players returning.
Worst Case Scenario - 7-4  If the offense takes a step back and the defense takes a couple, the Wildcats could drop some of the close games they were able to pull out last year.  The LSC slate is as tough as ever, and North Alabama in game 2 makes it even tougher.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Texas A&M-Kingsville Preview

2010 Review
The 2010 season got off to a bang, with the Javelinas opening the season at #1 Northwest Missouri.  After spotting the Bearcats a 7-0 lead, Texas A&M-Kingsville would totally shut down NW, taking a hard fought 16-7 win over the defending national champions.   Despite losing stars Fred Winborn, Delashaun Dean and Matt Romig during the season, TAMK finished the regular season with just one loss, a 31-24 decision to #5 ACU in week 5.  That set up a rematch with Northwest Missouri in round 2 of the playoffs.  The Javelinas took the lead early, and held a 31-21 advantage early in the fourth quarter, but the Bearcats scored the winning TD with 18 seconds left, ending TAMK's season.  The team did struggle at times, barely beating Angelo State and Tarleton State and a lackluster effort in week 2 at ECU.

In his first season as a starter, QB Nate Poppell threw for 2,671 yds, with 16 TDs, but also 10 Ints.  His favorite target was Ryan Lincoln (65-833-5), who ended his TAMK career with a school record 210 receptions and 2,926 yds (2nd on the all-time list).  Freshman Robert Armstrong had 45 catches for 590 yards, with the biggest being a 62 yd TD pass with 1:44 to go, lifting TAMK to a 28-21 win over Angelo State.  With the dismissal of Winborn after week 3, Jonathan Woodson moved from WR to RB, leading the team with 608 yds and 7 TDs, and 1,422 all-purpose yards.  Overall, the offense was 7th in the LSC in scoring (28.2 pts) and 6th in total offense (395 yds).

It was the defense that set the tone for the Javelinas.  The Border Bandits led the LSC in scoring defense (16 pts), pass defense (195 yds), rushing defense (57 yds, #1 in the nation), and total defense (252 yds) despite playing 4 teams ranked #7 or higher during the season.  Four players were named to the LSC South first team (DT Johnny Tivao, LB Tressor Baptiste, S Corey Robertson and S DeIra Glover), four to the second team (DE Matt Romig, LB Marcus Sanders, CB Derrick Thomas and S Kendrick Matthews) and honorable mention Dondi Cooks .

2011 Preview
In his four seasons as the Javelinas head coach, Bo Atterberry has seen his team improve each year - going from 3-8 in his first season, to 7-4 in 2008, 9-3 in 2009 and last year finishing the season 10-2.  The next step is to make a deep run in the playoffs.

It helps to have an experienced QB, and TAMK does in Nate Poppell.  Poppel's 2,671 yards is third on the single season charts for TAMK, but he needs to cut down on last year's 10 Ints.  Backup Daniel Ramirez has shown the ability to move the team when called up.  With WT up 24-6 in the second quarter, Ramirez led the Javelinas 75 yards for a critical TD, keeping the Javelinas in the game.  Jonathan Woodson returns to the backfield, and will have plenty of backup help in transfers Jai Cavness and Randall Toney and RS freshman Charles Coleman.  Despite losing Lincoln to graduation, the receiving corps should be in good shape with the returns of Armstrong, Batiste, a healthy Damian Couthren and Christian Taylor.  New faces include Arron Fisher moving over from defense, transfer Shane Prater and walk-on Patrick Lafleur who stood out in spring practices.  Up front Keenan Woods and Cory Baumann are returning starters will be joined by Lee Mattingly, Chris Hudgins and Marcus Stager as the opening game starters.  There is sollid depth with Cade Shaw, Karl Willie, Devin Shaw, Joe Vazquez and Patrick Daniel ready to contribute as well.

The defense will have to replace a lot of graduated talent.  It starts up front with preseason All-American Johnny Tivao at NT.  He will be getting help in the middle from Texas Tech transfer Bobbie Hampton.  Roderick Benman and Marquis Singleton are the starters at the ends.  Darnell Hicks, James Cannell and Justin Chambers bring experience to the table in backup roles.  Marcus Sanders led the team with 77 tackles and will be paired with Jeremy Aguilar in the starting lineup.  Justin Young transfers in from Southeastern Oklahoma, where he had 65 tackles as a freshman defensive back.  The biggest question mark on defense is the secondary, where no starters return from 2010.  The projected starters are Jeff Phillips and Cliff Baker at cornerback, Robert McCormick and Rockeem Collins at safety, and Trevor Pesek at rover.  Listed as second teamers are Eddie Smith, Kerry Wheatfall, Marc Kinney, Quincy Williams, and Angelo Looney.  Kinney, who started the first two games last season before an injury, McCormick and Collins are the only ones on the two deep chart who saw playing time for the Javelinas last fall.

On special teams, both Matt Stoll (14-20 FGs, 39-41 PATs, 36.9 punt avg) and Angel Millan (38.1 punt avg) return.  Fisher (6.5 PR, and 23.1 KR) and Woodson (26.9 KR) return as the return men.

Out With The Old
RB - Fred Winborn - 394 yds in 3 games
RB - Connell Davis - 349 yds rushing
WR - Ryan Lincoln - career 210 receptions for 2,926 yds and 12 TDs, LY 1,095 All Purpose Yds, 10 TDs
WR - DelaShaun Dean - 25 receptions for 336 yds in 6 games
OL - Trent Perkins, Colby Lowrie (both 2nd LSC South), Timothy Byerly (HM LSC South)
DL - Michael Talamantez, Dondi Cooks - combined 71 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5 sacks
LB - Tressor Baptiste - 66 tackles, 8 TFL, LSC LB of the Year
DB - DeIra Glover, Corey Robertson, Mardrick Johnson, Derrick Thomas, Kendrick Matthews, Josh Luck - combined for 240 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 7 Ints, 33 passes broken up

Welcome Back
QB - Nate Poppell
RB - Jonathan Woodson
WR - Robert Armstrong, Sherman Batiste, Christian Taylor, Damian Couthren
OL - Keenan Woods, Cory Baumann
DL - Johnny Tivao, Roderick Benman
LB - Marcus Sanders
K/P - Matt Stoll, Angel Millan

In With The New
RB - Randall Toney, Jai Cavness, Charles Coleman (RS)
WR - Shane Prater, Patrick Lafleur
OL - Cade Shaw, Patrick Daniel
DL - Bobbie Hampton
LB - Jeremy Aguilar (RS), Justin Young
DB - Cliff Baker, Trevor Pesek, Eddie Smith, Kerry Wheatfall, Quincy Williams (RS), Angelo Looney

All Conference Candidates
QB - Nate Poppell
RB - Jonathan Woodson
WR - Robert Armstrong, Sherman Batiste
OL - Keenan Woods
DL - Johnny Tivao (All-American candidate), Bobbie Hampton, Marquis Singleton
LB - Marcus Sanders, Jeremy Aguilar
DB - Trevor Pesek, Robert McCormick
K - Matt Stoll

Big Games
Week 1 - Central Washington   The Javelinas have fared well the past two seasons against Delta State and Northwest Missouri in opening games.  The Wildcats had the #10 ranked defense last year, while the Javelinas were #6.  A win here puts TAMK a step ahead of the competition, while a loss puts them in an early hole.
Week 3 - West Texas A&M   This game gets the big stage, finishing off the Lonestar Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium.  The early scheduling could benefit TAMK - an early test on the road, followed by a game to work out the kinks, before facing another talented Buffalo team.  Winner assumes the top challenger to ACU role, while the loser will have little margin for error going forward.
Best Case Scenario - 11-0 -  The Hogs are in better shape heading into the 2011 season than they were last year, and there were just 7 points from an undefeated regular season.  If the offense can improve on last year's performance and the defense is close to as good as last year, the team could go through the regular season unblemished for the first time since 1989.
Worst Case Scenario - 7-4    If the defense is not close to last year's stellar group and the offense is unable to pick up the slack, TAMK could find themselves on the short end against some stout competition.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2011 West Texas A&M Preview

2010 Review
To any long time Buffalo fan, an 8-4 season with a playoff berth would seem to be a good year.  But recent success has raised expectations, leaving West Texas A&M wanting (and expecting) more.  Don Carthel has compiled a 59-16 record in 6 seasons at WT, with 3 LSC titles and 5 playoff appearances.

The season started off with a bang as WT traveled to Allendale to face the #2 Grand Valley Lakers.  The Buffs led 24-16 after three quarters, but a long Laker TD pass and two WT turnovers allowed GV to hold on for a 34-31 victory.  Later in the season, WT would also hold fourth quarter leads in Kingsville and at home against ACU, only to see those games slip away by the narrowest of margins.  Once the dust settled,  WT's 3 regular season losses were by a combined 14 points.

The rest of the LSC proved to be no problem, as WT won the other 8 games by a 48-20 average.  Taylor Harris threw for 4,800 yards and 38 TDs, with Tyson Williams, Stephen Burton and Brittan Golden combining for 219 receptions for 3,235 yards and 30 TDs.  As a team, WT led the LSC in yards gained and were second in scoring offense.  The defense was sturdy most of the season (3rd in yds allowed, 4th in scoring defense), but in their four losses gave up almost 40 points on average.

2011 Preview
Every couple of years, WT graduates an LSC-leading passer.  In the Don Carthel-era, they have seen Dalton Bell, followed by Keith Null, who in turn was followed by Taylor Harris.  This year's starter has not been declared, so early on Tanner Marsh and Dustin Vaughn will likely both see playing time until there is separation between the two.

They will have plenty of talented receivers to throw to, as usual.  Brittan Golden is the lone returnee of last year's three-headed WR monster, but several youngsters were baptized by fire as injuries forced them into action last year.  Keep an eye out for these names - Torrence Allen, Nathan Slaughter, Trevor Hammargren, Lance Ratliff, Aarhon Flores, Sidney Parker and Jeremy Watson - young players ready to contribute.  Also late transfers Alfonse Coleman and Luke Russell might help out as well.

The running back position is thin, with just two players listed currently on the WT roster.  While WT doesn't run the ball a great deal, the backs play a big role catching the ball out of the backfield.

Up front, just two starters from last year are back - Hector Rodriguez and Aaron Mullane - but, Craig Watts, Emory Atterberry, Marc Waller and Terrance Harris all got game experience in 2010.  Transfers Casey O'Connor, Dante Pinchback and Jake Paylor could help out once they are comfortable with the system.

For the defense, the secondary is the most experienced spot.  Caleb Randolph, Curtis Jefferson, Jordan Smith and Maurice Caldwell combined for 34 starts.  Reserves Kendrick Geyen, John McSeffery, Dwight Morrison and Tarrin Lee all played in at least 10 games last year.  Look for Wisconsin transfer Mario Goins to have a major impact as well.
Up front, Dishon Robertson, Rashad Sanders, Simi Kuli and Aaron Wampler had 24 starts between them, and Drew Jones and DJ Ross also played alot.  But WT added Texas A&M signee LaMarc Strahan, University of Texas transfer Tyrell Higgins, and Juco transfer Paul Dancy to the mix.  There should be fresh bodies on the D-Line for WT at all times.

Even the linebacking corps is experienced - Kyle Voss, Zane Farris, Drew Graham, and Taylor McCuller had 29 combined starts, while reserve Kevin McCluskey also saw extensive playing time.  Anthony Scott is also back after sitting out 2010 with an injury - he led WT with 106 tackles in 2009.  Navarro College transfer James Jackson could force his way into the rotation.

The kicking game is in good hands with PK Sergio Castillo (83 points) and P Kevin VanVoris back.

Out With The Old
QB - Taylor Harris - 9,799 career passing yards (2nd in LSC history) with 71 TD passes (4th)
RB - Kelvin Thompson - 1st LSC South, 1,056 All-Purpose Yards
WR - Tyson Williams - 1st LSC South, 162 receptions for 2,168 yds and 13 TDs in 2009-2010
WR - Stephen Burton - 1st LSC South, 132 receptions for 1,909 yds and 13 TDs in 2009-2010
 OL - Dan Sherwood - 1st LSC South
OL - Isaiah Lewis - HM LSC South
DL - Kyle Thomas - 1st LSC South, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks
DL - Bryan Braman - 1st LSC South in 2009
LB - Shad Baichtal - 1st LSC South, 73 tackles, with 22 for losses and 10 sacks
DB - Tae Evans - 1st LSC South, led WT with 85 tackles, 4 Ints and 16 passes broken up

Welcome Back
RB - Tommy Hampton - 1,013 All-Purpose yards, 8 total TDs
WR - Brittan Golden - in three seasons, 110 receptions, 1,931 yds and 21 TDs
WRs - Nathan Slaughter, Trevor Hammargren, Lance Ratliff, Aarrhon Flores, Torrence Allen - combined 79 catches, 985 yds and 4 TDs
OL - Hector Rodriguez (2nd LSC South) and Aaron Mullane
DL - Dishon Robertson (2nd LSC South), Rashad Sanders (HM LSC South), Simi Kuli, Aaron Wampler - 105 tackles, 17 TFL, 3.5 sacks combined
 LB - Kyle Voss (2nd LSC South), Zane Farris, Drew Graham, Taylor McCuller - 214 tackles combined
LB - Anthony Scott (HM LSC South in 2009) - 106 tackles, 10 TFL in 2009
DB - Curtis Jefferson (1st LSC South), Caleb Randolph (1st LSC South), Jordan Smith (2nd LSC South) - combined for 141 tackles, 7 Ints, and 21 passes broken up
P/K - Sergio Castillo (1st LSC South) 9-13 FGs, 56-57 PATs,  Kevin Van Voris (38.7 punt avg.)

In With The New
RB - Khiry Robinson (Blinn)
WR - Alfonse Coleman, Luke Russell
OL - Casey O'Connor, Dante Pinchback, Jake Paylor
DL - LaMarc Strahan (Blinn, A&M Signee), Tyrell Higgins (Univ. of Texas), Paul Dancy (Mt. San Antonio)
LB - James Jackson (Navarro JC), Albertson Alexandre (Toledo)
DB - Mario Goins (Wisconsin)

All Conference Candidates
RS - Tommy Hampton
WR - Brittan Golden (All-American candidate)
OL - Hector Rodriguez
DL - LaMarc Strahan, Tyrell Higgins, Simi Kuli, Dishon Robertson, Paul Dancy
LB - Kyle Voss
DB - Curtis Jefferson, Caleb Randolph, Jordan Smith, Mario Goins
K - Sergio Castillo

Big Games
Game 2 - Texas A&M-Kingsville (Cowboy Stadium in Arlington) - The matchups between the LSC preseason top three have the makings of being classics.  The Javelinas come into this game, possibly with an advantage of playing a tough season opener on the road, and a home game against a lesser (presumably) opponent, allowing them to work out any kinks in their offense.  On the other hand, WT will have played just one game, with an off week in between.

Game 6 - Abilene Christian -  Will this be the defacto LSC Championship game?  or will one of these teams be in a must-win situation?  One thing that you can bank on is that is should be a great ball game.

Best Case Scenario - 10-1 - If the QB situation gels (like it typically does), the RBs can stay healthy, the OL protects the QB and the defense comes close to its potential, the Buffs could roll.  An undefeated season would still be hard to come by.
Worst Case Scenario - 7-4   If the offense is not up to normal WT-standards and the defense is merely good, the Buffs could find themselves in a battle for a berth in the Kanza Bowl. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Midwestern State Preview

2010 Review
Heading into the 2010 season, most people who looked at the LSC thought it was a four team race – Midwestern State, West Texas A&M, Abilene Christian and Texas A&M-Kingsville. It was pretty obvious that those teams would have to beat everyone on their schedule and try to pull off the tough wins against each other if they had playoff aspirations. To their credit the Mustangs were able to beat everyone else on their schedule…it was the three biggies they just couldn’t handle. The season started off very well for Midwestern, winning their first 3 games by an average of almost 40 points. But then came a couple of strange weeks…a 6 point win over a struggling Central Oklahoma and an OT win over Incarnate Word in Wichita Falls, probably due to looking ahead to the Week 6 matchup against Abilene Christian. A Mitchell Gale TD pass with 2 mins left broke the hearts of the Mustangs. It seemed to put a dent in the confidence of the Mustangs, who would go on to lose to West Texas A&M by 13 and Texas A&M-Kingsville by 20, and barely held on for a close win over a struggling Tarleton State. While just missing the playoffs, they would go to the Kanzaa Bowl against Washburn without injured QB Zach Eskridge and would get blown out 45-14.

Quick – tell me what the Mustangs offense excelled at in 2010. QB Zach Eskridge, a former Harlon Hill candidate was at the helm so most people would think their passing game drove their offense. But you’d be wrong. The Mustang rushing game actually averaged an incredible 212 yards per game, best in the LSC by an unbelievable 50 yards a game. Their passing game, however, actually only accounted for 185 yards per game, which ranked all the way down at 11th in the conference. The Midwestern offense would go on to score 31 points per game (6th) and 398 yards per game (5th). Their passing efficiency was 124.9 (4th), and their turnover margin was an impressive 0.58, good enough for 2nd in the LSC. Their stunning 93.9% Red Zone offense led the LSC by a huge 7% points. While the Mustang offense might not have been prolific, they were extremely efficient. Zach Eskridge finished up his impressive Mustang career injured, with 1,976 passing yards, 17 TD’s/6 INT. Amini Silatolu had an incredible season, earning AP Little American second-team, AFCA Division II Coaches' All American first-team, Daktronics All American second-team and D2Football.com All American first-team honors.

The Mustang defense has been become a strength for them every season, and 2010 was no different. They held opposing teams to 23 points per game and 372 yards, both ranking them 3rd in the conference. Their rush defense only gave up 120 yards and they took away 16 interceptions, also both ranking them at 3rd in the conference. If there was a dent in the Mustang defense armor, it was their pass defense, which gave up 252 yards, 10th best in the LSC. Their Red Zone defense also struggled a bit, giving up points 76% of the time (9th).

2011 Preview
Probably the biggest question facing Midwestern heading into 2011 will be who replaces Zach Eskridge at Quarterback. Will it be junior Brandon Kelsey? Kelsey filled in for Eskridge a bit last season and in the Kanzaa Bowl. He finished the season with 252 passing yards, 0 TD’s and 3 Interceptions. Or could it be Tulsa Transfer Shavodrick Beaver? The former 4 star recruit obviously has the talent to play, but will he be eligible? We’ve heard rumors both ways, but nothing confirmed. If it’s not Beaver or Kelsey, could the Mustangs look to one of the handful of freshman QB’s on their roster? At this point your guess is as good as ours. But from the look of things, if it’s not Beaver, the Mustangs may be in for a tough year. One good bit of news for the Mustang offense is that they’ve got one of the best offensive linemen in the nation coming back in Amini Silatolu. He’ll be joined by Hang Gilley, who was first team LSC South last season to anchor the Mustang line.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Mustangs didn’t take too much of a hit. The LB corps will be led by Matt Ellerbrock and Ty Duncan, who combined for 141 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. DE Kevin Birdow had 39 tackles and 4 sacks last season, and will be back to anchor the MSU defensive line. DB Neiko Conway and his 3 interceptions return to help try and improve a defensive backfield that struggled a bit last season. LB Gadrian Muse transferred in from Blinn and appears to be ready to contribute in his first season at Midwestern State.  One good very good thing plays into Midwestern's hands this year - they face Abilene Christian, West Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Kingsville at home...a huge advantage.

Out With The Old
QB Zach Eskridge – 2nd LSC South
LB Austin McDaniel – 2nd LSC South, 46 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks
OT Ricki Gomez – HM LSC South
C Bobby Parsons – HM LSC South
K Jose Martinez – HM LSC South, 12/15 FG’s
DT JD Corcoran – HM LSC South, 57 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 6 sacks
RB Marcus Mathis – 573 rushing yards, 4 TD’s, 109 receiving yards
WR Justin Rideau – 34 catches for 366 yards, 2 TD’s
WR Desmond Ratliff – 29 catches for 294 yards, 2 TD’s
FS Ryan Craven – 75 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 INT

Welcome Back
LT Amini Silatolu – 1st LSC South, Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2011 Preseason All America
LG Hank Gilley – 1st LSC South
WR David Little – 1st LSC South, 63 catches for 689 yards, 7 TD’s
RB Lester Bush – 2nd LSC South, 598 rushing yards, 9 TD’s
RB Keidrick Jackson – 429 rushing yards, 7 TD’s
LB Matt Ellerbrock – 71 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2 sacks
DE Kevin Birdow – HM LSC South, 39 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks
LB Ty Duncan – 70 tackles, 4 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1INT
DB Neiko Conway – 38 Tackles, 1.5 TFL, 3 INT
WR Jared Freeman – 18 catches for 176 yards, 1 TD
QB Brandon Kelsey – 252 passing yards, 0 TD’s / 3 INT, 267 rushing yards, 2 TD’s
WR Edgard Theliar – 11 catches for 246 yards, 1 TD
P Gunter Elenburg – 39.7 yard average

In With The New
LB Gadrian Muse (Blinn) – 54 Tackles, 3 TFL, 3 Sacks
WR Houston Tuminello (Louisiana Tech) – 10 catches, 76 yards, 1 TD
QB Shavodrick Beaver – (Tulsa) – 62 yards passing, 102 yards rushing, Rivals.com 4 star recruit

All Conference Candidates
LT Amini Silatolu
LG Hank Gilley
WR David Little
RB Lester Bush
RB Keidrick Jackson
WR Sheldon Galloway
LB Matt Ellerbrock
DE Kevin Birdow
LB Ty Duncan
DE Tim McGill
DB Neiko Conway

All American Candidates
LT Amini Silatolu

Big Games
Week 4 – Texas A&M-Kingsville. In what appears to be the first real test for Midwestern State, the Javelinas travel to Wichita Falls for Family Day. If the Mustangs are looking to preserve their spot near the top of the LSC, they’re going to need a good showing against one of the best the conference has to offer.

Week 8 – Abilene Christian. The Wildcats will travel to play Midwestern in their Homecoming game during the final stretch of the 2011 season. After this game, the Mustangs only tough matchup will be against West Texas A&M at home. If they can pull off a win here, the final few games could be prepping for the playoffs.

Best Case Scenario – 9-1
While this would be VERY difficult to pull off, it’s not quite as impossible as it sounds when you look at Midwestern’s schedule. They face all three of the big teams – West Texas, Kingsville and ACU at home, and their out of conference schedule looks very manageable with Missouri S&T and Northeastern State, their first and last games of the year.

Worst Case Scenario 6-4
The Mustangs have lost quite a bit of firepower on offense in one of the better LSC QB’s of the last decade in Eskridge, as well as skill position players and a couple of good offensive linemen. If for some reason they can’t find much help at Quarterback and the offense sputters a bit, a 6-win season seems about as bad as it could get from the usually reliable Midwestern program.

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