Thursday, September 20, 2012

LSC Scoop Game Previews and Predictions Week 4

Rebound week for us, as we went 5-1 missing out on the West Texas A&M-Texas A&M Kingsville contest.  We are now 15-5 for the season.


Midwestern State 65, Texas A&M-Commerce 14 - Murphy's Law at work here.  Seven turnovers, no offense until down 37-0, and the inability to stop the Mustang's offense lead to a shellacking.  Four MSU running backs combined for 333 yards on 31 carries.
Prediction MSU 38-14

Eastern New Mexico 34, Incarnate Word 24 - Jayson Serda saved us on this one.  The Cardinals were driving for the go-ahead score, when Serda returned his interception 81 yards to put the game out of reach.  Old-style running football in this one, as ENMU had 244 yards on the ground and UIW had 270.
Prediction ENMU 31-24

Valdosta State 43, Angelo State 10 - This game was on the upset alert list when the Rams scored early in the third quarter to pull within 17-10.  But it was all VSU after that as the Blazers put together scoring drives of 64, 53, 63 and 80 yards and totally shutting down Angelo State.
Prediction VSU 42-21

Abilene Christian 34, Tarleton State 31 - For 29 minutes this looked like a repeat of last week, Tarleton beating a ranked team and Abilene Christian playing below expectations.  But Thor Woerner's interception inside ACU's 5 yard line and the Wildcat's ability to capitalize on great field position in the third quarter turned the tide.  Best game of the Lone Star Football Festival.
Prediction ACU 35-31

West Texas A&M 40, Texas A&M-Kingsville 10 - Great ballgame by the Buff defense, limiting the Javelinas to 285 of offense and almost outscoring TAMK (Fumble returned for TD and safety).  Javelina defense was not as bad as score would indicate, allowing three sustained scoring drives, but slowing WT's offense most of the game.
Prediction TAMK 31-24


Milestones
Mitchell Gale quietly moved into second on the LSC career passing yardage list.  He now has 9,833 yards and finds himself 2,079 behind fellow Wildcat Billy Malone.
Wesley Wood needs 150 passing yards to reach 7,000 for his career.
Trent Rios surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards (2,102)
Dakarai Pecikonis moved from 7th to 5th place on Angelo State's career receiving yardage list.
C.J. Akins moved up three spots into 10th place on the same list.
Dustin Vaughn will move into 7th place on WT's all-time passing yardage list with 61 yards.
Sherman Batiste moved into 10th all-time on the TAMK receiving yardage list (1,669) and could move up two more spots this week with 8 or more receiving yards.
Keidrick Jackson can move past Phillip Boggs into 7th place on MSU's career rushing list with 26 yards this weekend.


This week is looks like three mismatches and one really good matchup with little room for error by either team.

#19 Abilene Christian at Angelo State - Both of these teams played well for 30 minutes last week, Angelo State in the first half, and ACU in the second.  The difference was that ACU prevented the game from getting out of hand while they were out of synch.  They also took advantage of a short field on consecutive possessions in the third quarter, and held on for a tough win over Tarleton State.  A look at the LSC statistics have ACU in unfamiliar positions - 5th in total offense and last in total defense.  Scoring-wise, they are third in points scored and first in points allowed.  That contradiction could either be a savvy, veteran team that is able to do what it takes to win, or team whose opponents have shot themselves in the feet.  Mitchell Gale played better last week, but is still 6th (out of 9) in the LSC for QB efficiency for starting QBs.

The Ram's offense is averaging just 4 yards less than ACU, but also 12 points fewer.  Similarly, on defense ASU is giving up 101 yards fewer than the Wildcat's but almost 10 points more.  Blake Hamblin is third in the LSC in QB efficiency, but the running game (98 ypg), which was expected to strong with Jermie Calhoun and Donovan Roberts has yet to get rolling.

It's unclear at this point if last week will be a springboard for ACU, but they should have the upper hand this week.  Abilene Christian 31-17.


#25 West Texas A&M at Incarnate Word - The Buffs did not put up their usual yardage numbers last week, but they did string together a handful of solid drives and got 2011-esque defensive effort in knocking off Texas A&M-Kingsville.  Dustin Vaughn is having a great season, putting up big numbers even by WTAM standards.  352 yards per game, 11-1 TD-Int ratio, 179.7 QB efficiency rating - these are numbers that will have him in Florence Alabama in December if he can maintain throughout the season.  The return of Khiry Robinson will certainly help keep defenses from keying just on the pass.  Robinson had 110 yards rushing on just 17 carries against a tough Javelina run defense.

You can excuse UIW if they feel they let one get away last week.  The Cardinals won the yardage game 449-373 and were driving for the go ahead TD, when Zach Rhodes had a pass picked off and returned 81 yards for a game clinching TD for ENMU.  That one play overshadows a game in which Rhodes had 128 yards rushing and 179 passing with 2 TDs.  Trent Rios had 121 yards rushing and Marcus Wright returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a TD.

West Texas A&M cannot afford to overlook anyone, but this should be a relatively easy win for them.  WT 45-14.


Eastern New Mexico at Tarleton State - To borrow an old football cliche, ENMU bent but did not break last week against Incarnate Word.  The defense gave up quite a bit of yards (449) but a manageable amount of points (17), and picked off three UIW passes.  Those turnovers led to an offensive TD, a defensive TD and the final one ending the ballgame.  The running game was good once again, picking up 244 yards, and is averaging 229 yards per game.

Things were looking good for the Texans at the LSFF.  But a last minute second quarter ACU interception and two poor punt plays (short punt on the first, long return on the second) turned a 10 point advantage to a 4 point deficit and leading to ACU's narrow win.  Through two games, TSU has moved the ball well (455 ypg), with the running game 3rd in the LSC (198 ypg) and the passing game led by Aaron Doyle 2nd in passing yards (257 ypg).  The defense is middle of the pack (5th in points allowed, 4th in yards allowed), but considering the competition, that is not bad at all.

The Texans might be a little mad about last week, so this one could get ugly early.  Jerome Regal could have a career day.  Tarleton State 42-14.


#15 Midwestern State at Texas A&M-Kingsville - What a difference a week can make.  MSU, coming off an opening week upset at Tarleton State, got the tonic they needed, walloping Texas A&M-Commerce 65-14.  The Javelinas, on the other hand, coming off a big win in Abilene, got walloped by West Texas A&M, 40-10.

So what went right for the Mustangs?  Simply put, almost everything.  The offense got rolling early, scoring on their first three possessions (though the last one was a gimme, with TAMC fumbling on their own 4 yard line), and then really turnint it on in the third quarter, scoring three TDs in a four play stretch.  Chauncey Harris made the most of his playing time, carrying the ball 4 times for 148 yards and TD runs of 55 and 59 yards. The defense held TAMC to just 271 yards and forced 7 turnovers, including interceptions on back to back passes to start the second half.

On the flip side, almost everything went wrong for the Javelinas.  The offense was held in check, gaining just 285 yards on the night.  Nate Poppell was not able to repeat his performance from a week earlier, completing 19-32 passes for just 188 yards.  The running game still has not gotten untracked, picking up 88 yards, with Jonathan Woodson limited to 36 yards on 16 carries.  For the season, TAMK is averaging just 83 yards per game rushing, less than half of last year's average (169 ypg).  The defense actually played pretty well, giving up just 368 yards (only 250 passing) to the always potent WT offense.  They did allow WT to score on long sustained opening possessions in both halves, but WT was only able to sustain one long drive the rest of the night.  Perhaps most concerning - turnovers.  The Javelinas turned the ball over three times, leading to 14 WT points, after being +4 in the first two weeks.  Is this the beginning of a return to 2011 when the team was -13, or a one week anomaly?

Both teams have a loss (and a conference loss at that), and whoever comes up short this week will have absolutely no margin for error the rest of the season.  Midwestern State seemed to have improved tremendously from week one to week two (although TAMC certainly helped them out greatly), while Texas A&M-Kingsville's offense seems to be stuck in neutral.  Look for Midwestern State to get the early lead and use the ground game to control field position and the ballgame.  MSU 31-17.

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