Not a great week last week for us as we went 3-2. The good news is one of the losses was picking Delta State to upend ACU. It's always good for the LSC to win OOC games, no matter how we pick 'em.
Abilene Christian 34, Delta State 28 - ACU had three scoring drives of under 25 yards (all from turnovers) to offset a 178 yardage deficit.
Prediction DSU 24-14
Angelo State 49, Eastern New Mexico 19 - Rams did it all - long drives, big plays, turnovers - to build 35-6 lead before cruising to comfortable road win.
Prediction ASU 28-21
Texas A&M-Commerce 21, Texas A&M-Kingsville 14 - Lions score last minute TDs in both halves to force overtime and upset Javelinas.
Prediction TAMK 35-14
Midwestern State 34, Incarnate Word 7 - Smaller margin than expected, but MSU still dominated.
Prediction MSU 56-14
West Texas A&M 41, Tarleton State 21 - Texans pulled to within one score in 3rd quarter, but Buffs took control the rest of the way.
Prediction WTAM 35-24
Keidrick Jackson - surpassed the 2,000 career rushing mark last night, now fifth all-time at MSU (2,087)
Dakarai Pecikonis - is 114 yards shy of 2,000 career receiving yards
Sherman Batiste - is 141 yards shy of 2,000 career receiving yards
Dustin Vaughn - eclipsed 5,000 career passing yards last week
This Week's Games
Eastern New Mexico at Abilene Christian
Scrappy, but usually overmatched Greyhounds against the up-and-down Wildcats. Midseason, ENMU is getting mixed results from their new schemes. The offense is averaging 25.6 points and 330 yards per game, with 193 coming on the ground and just 137 via the air. The defense is last in the LSC, giving up 37 points and 466 yards per game. ACU continues to take advantage of opponent turnovers and squeeze more points than expected (3rd in scoring, 6th in yardage). Mitchell Gale still has not had the breakout game we keep looking for, and the running game has been non-existent. But the defense has been opportunistic, and turnovers have helped them allow fewer points than expected given the yards allowed (3rd in scoring, 8th in yards allowed).
The trend for Abilene Christian this years has been big wins one week and disappointing losses the following week. Look for that to change as ACU wins 35-17.
Texas A&M-Commerce at Incarnate Word
While these two will likely be closer to the bottom than the top of the LSC at season's end, they do come into this week's game with some momentum. The Lions got their first win of the year, beating long-time LSC rival TAMK 21-14 in overtime, while UIW's defense slowed down MSU in last week's game. And this appears to be a pretty evenly matched game - TAMC is scoring 14.2 points on 232 yards per game, UIW is scoring 11.4 on 264 yards, TAMC gives up 34.2 points and 383 yards per game, while UIW allows 31.6 points and 379 yards weekly. Neither team has run the ball well, but this could be the week for a breakout game for one or both, as neither team has a great run defense. You can just go down the stat line, and in just about every category, they are evenly matched.
These two are just too close on paper to pick one over the other. Tie goes to the home team - UIW wins a close one, 17-14.
North Alabama at Texas A&M-Kingsville
It's starting to look a lot like 2011 for the Javelinas, winning their first two games in good fashion, and then seemingly losing focus, with turnovers (-6 the last three games) and defensive lapses leading to surprising losses. The offense is not finishing off drives (7th in scoring, 5th in yards gained) and the defense has broken down at critical times, with TAMC's fourth quarter 72 yard scoring a drive a perfect example. They will be facing a 4-1 North Alabama team. The Lions lost to Harding 31-10 in week two, and have wins over Miles College, Delta State, NAIA Kentucky Christian, and first-year D2 school Shorter. They run the ball well (256 yards per game) with five players totaling 150 or more yards. They don't pass much (16 attempts, 103 yards per game), and don't do too well when they do (96 pass efficiency rating). Defensively, they are allowing 178 yards rushing, but just 160 passing, and more importantly, just 14.6 points per game.
This is a pivotal game for the Javelinas, that could either help turn around the year, or continue the free fall. We expect a spirited effort on their home field, with TAMK winning 28-24.
Delta State at Tarleton State
Delta State cannot feel good about their game with ACU last week. They outgained the Wildcats by a healthy margin, yet lost a close game. Of course they can't expect any sympathy from Tarleton State, who had a similar experience back in week three. Both of these squads bring balanced offenses into the game - DSU is averaging 218 yards rushing, 191 passing, Tarleton is rushing for 228, and passing for 237. Delta State's defense has done well, giving up 123 yards on the ground, 157 through the air, and 23 points per game. Tarleton State gives up 128 yards rushing, but 258 passing and 28.8 points per game.
After their 1-3 start, Delta State's playoff hopes are over, while Tarleton State's are hanging by a thread. Look for them to keep those slim hopes alive for another week as they defend the home turf. TSU 28-24.
Game of the Week
West Texas A&M at Angelo State
Since giving up 44 points in week one, the Buffalo defense has tightened up since, allowing just 12.75 per game since. For the season, they are second in the LSC in both scoring (19 points) and yards allowed (317) per game. The offense is still lighting up the scoreboards, 39.2 points and 490 yards per game and are showing more balance than we are used to seeing - averaging 28.5 carries and 139.5 yards per game over the last four games.
Meanwhile, the Rams look to be much improved since losing to Valdosta State in week three. After beating ACU in week four, the Rams dominated ENMU last weekend. The offense is 4th in the LSC in scoring (27.2), yards gained (388.4), 5th in rushing (117.4) and 2nd in passing (271). Jermie Calhoun has not dominated the LSC, but he is doing well when he carries the ball. averaging 4.5 yards per carry. The defense is giving up 23.6 points per game, but lead the LSC in yards allowed (301.2). Two areas they need to clean up are penalties (8th in the LSC, 91.2 yards per game) and turnovers (-6 margin).
The winner of this game will be the last remaining undefeated team in LSC play. That's a position that WT is used to competing for, while it is new territory for Angelo State. That kind of experience is enough for us to pick WT 35-21.