Thursday, September 27, 2012

LSC Scoop Game Previews and Predictions Week 5

Last saw us go 3-1 on our picks, missing out on the ACU-ASU game.  For the season, our record is 18-6.

Angelo State 28, Abilene Christian 23 - After falling behind 9-0, the Rams shut down ACU's offense and scored the next 21 points to take the win.  Struggles continue for ACU's offense, and Angelo State controlled the clock to the tune of a 2-1 margin.
Prediction ACU 31-17

West Texas A&M 24, Incarnate Word 0 - The Buffs offense was strangely quiet (361 yards, 2 TDs), but the defense more than took up the slack (146 total yards).  UIW was unable to overcome the absence of starting QB Zach Rhodes.
Prediction WTAM 45-14

Tarleton State , Eastern New Mexico - The Texans racked up 564 yards, but two turnovers and a missed FG limited their scoring.  ENMU actually pulled to within 5 points with eight minutes to play.
Prediction TSU 42-14

Midwestern State 45, Texas A&M-Kingsville 28 - Two touchdowns with under a minute to play in the first half gave the Mustangs a 35-7 lead - too much for the Javelinas to overcome, despite a strong second half.  Bryan Ehrlich had 415 yards and 3 TDs passing in his first start for TAMK, but the Mustangs more than countered with 421 rushing yards, including TDs of 73 and 89 yards.
Prediction MSU 31-17

Mitchell Gale - became the second LSC quarterback to surpass 10,000 career passing yards.  Still 1,871 behind Billy Malone.
Wesley Wood - surpassed 7,000 career passing yards.
Dakarai Pecikonis - is now in fifth place on Angelo State's career receiving yardage list, and needs 178 to reach 2,000.
Dustin Vaughn - can reach 5,000 career passing yards with 288 this week.
Sherman Batiste - moved up to #6 on Texas A&M-Kingsville career receiving yardage list.  With 165 more, he will reach 2,000 for his career.

This week's games

Abilene Christian at Delta State - Before the season started, this was a can't miss game.  Abilene Christian, a playoff team for six straight years, at Delta State, a national semi-finalist last year, and the national runner-up the year before.  Instead, both teams are having disappointing seasons -  the Wildcats are 2-2 and the Statesmen are 1-2.  The loser of this game will almost certainly not make the playoffs this year.

Through 3 games, Delta State is averaging 380 yards and just 20 points per game.  They run the ball well (212 ypg), but have struggled passing (168 ypg, 50.6 completion percentage).  The defense has played very well, giving up just 19 points and 266 yards per game.  Run defense has been okay (139 ypg), but the pass defense has been stellar (127 ypg, 85.1 efficiency rating).  One good number for the Wildcats, DSU has just 4 sacks on the season.

Through 4 games, it's still difficult to believe the kind of season that ACU is having offensively.  The Wildcats are averaging just 79 yards rushing per game, and 2.8 per carry, and no player has cracked the century mark for the season.  Even more surprising, since the McMurry game, Mitchell Gale is completing less than 50% of his passes (57-115) for just 241 yards per game.  The defense has struggled as well - allowing 462 yards over the last three games.  After getting 10 sacks in week one, they have just 5 since.

With the injuries mounting and lack of consistency, it's hard to pick ACU on the road in a short week.  Delta State 24-14.

Other games later.....

Angelo State at Eastern New Mexico - Angelo State may have turned around their season last weekend, knocking off Abilene Christian for the first time since 2005.  The Rams did it with a stingy run defense (9 yards) and ball control offense (85 plays to 62 for ACU and nearly a 2-1 time of possession advantage).  Eastern New Mexico played Tarleton State closer than most thought they would, pulling to within one score with just under 8 minutes to play.  This could be the shortest game in the LSC time-wise.  ENMU loves to run the ball (3rd in the LSC with 207 ypg) and ASU will likely have a good rushing game as well (ENMU is giving up 231 ypg).

Both teams are 2-2 coming into this week, but Angelo State's schedule has been tougher.  Rams run to a 28-21 win at the Draw.

Texas A&M-Kingsville at Texas A&M-Commerce - Both teams last opponent was Midwestern State.  Both teams trailed by a large halftime margin (23-0 for Commerce, 35-7 for Kingsville). The second halves were quite different.  Commerce was outscored 42-14 and had no response for the Mustangs.  Kingsville scored 3 second half TDs to pull within 14 two different times, but the Mustangs were able to respond each time and not let them any closer.

For the season, Commerce is last in the LSC in scoring, scoring defense and total offense, and 7th to total defense.  The pass defense has been good, leading the LSC with just 159 ypg allowed.  Kingsville is 6th in scoring offense, scoring defense and total defense, and 4th total offense.  They still have not gotten the running game on track (77 ypg, 8th out of 9 LSC teams), but this could be the week as Commerce is last in rushing defense (248 ypg).

Kingsville is done with the early season gauntlet that saw them face the LSC preseason 1, 2, and 3 teams.  They need to string together some wins, and should start this week.  TAMK 35-14.

Incarnate Word at Midwestern State -  This one could get ugly.  After a week one stumble at Tarleton State, MSU has responded with 110 points and 1,170 yards of offense the past two weeks.  They once again lead the LSC in rushing, with 314 ypg.  They have four running backs with at least 145 yards rushing, and a per carry average of 6 yards or more (23.8 for Chauncey Harris!).  The passing game needs to improve (7th in efficiency), especially when they face someone able to slow down the running game.  The Cardinal defense has played well (4th in total defense), did especially well last week against West Texas A&M.  But the offense has been anemic, 8th in scoring and yards gained.

Look for MSU to score early and often, cruising to a 56-14 win.

Game of the Week
Tarleton State at West Texas A&M -  The important thing is that the Texans won, beating Eastern New Mexico 35-23.  But it could (should) have been a larger margin, as scoring opportunities were thwarted by two interceptions, a missed field goal and a failed fourth down conversion kept Tarleton from a more impressive score.  Those missed opportunities hurt them more last week, as they dropped a very winnable game to ACU.  For the season, Tarleton is second in the LSC in yards gained (491) per game, but only fourth in scoring (28.7 points per game).  The team is rushing for 240 ypg, second in the LSC.  Jerome Regal was leading the LSC in rushing, but is out with an injury.  In his place, Vaughn Smith and Zach Henshaw each rushed for over 100 yards against ENMU.  Aaron Doyle is completing 68% of his passes for 251 ypg with 4 TDs and 4 Ints.  Clifton Rhodes has 23 receptions for 264 yards to lead the receivers.  Defensively they are 4th in scoring defense (24.7) and 3rd in yards allowed (346).  Rufus Johnson has 5 TFL and 3 sacks, and Marquis Wadley is averaging 8.3 tackles per game and also has an interception.

As expected, WT is close to the top in the LSC offensively - second in scoring (38.8 ppg) and third in yards gained (486.8 ypg).  They are running the okay (115 ypg, 4.5 per carry), but the passing game is their bread and butter (371 ypg, 14 TDs both 1st in the LSC).  Dustin Vaughn has 1,300 yards, 13 TDs and just 2 Ints, and is tops among LSC starters with an efficiency rating of 170.  Four Buffs have double digits in receptions, led by Torrence Allen's 26 for 418 yards and 3 TDs.  Lance Ratliff has 6 TDs and is averaging 23.3 yards per catch.  Khiry Robinson has 160 yards since returning two weeks ago, to keep teams honest.  The defense has really come along, holding UIW to 146 total yards, and TAMK to just 285 the week before.  They are tops in the LSC, allowing 18.5 points per game and 299 yards per contest.  The run defense is giving up 108 yards per game, but only 56 per game the last three weeks.  Opponents are passing for 190.8 yards per game.  Taylor McCuller leads the team with 36 tackles, while Tyrell Higgins has 4 sacks and 6.5 TFL, Kyle Voss has 8.5 TFL, and Torian Oakley has 2 interceptions.

Tarleton looks to be even better than last year's squad that finished the season on a hot streak.  But they haven't shown the ability to put teams away.  That kept ENMU in the game last week, and helped ACU in taking one away the week before.  WT has that instinct and it should help them win, 35-24.

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