Friday, October 26, 2012

Week 9 Game Day Previews and Predictions

Last week we only picked 3 of the 5 games correctly, missing out by picking Incarnate Word and Tarleton State.

Mitchell Gale is tied with Keith Null for second in LSC history with 92 career TDs (Billy Malone had 114)
Wes Wood needs 73 passing yards to reach 7,500 for his career
Nate Poppell surpassed the 5,000 yard mark last week at Tarleton State
Dustin Vaughn is 45 yards shy of 5,000 passing yards for his career
Dakarai Pecikonis surpassed 2,000 receiving yards
CJ Akins needs 69 receiving yards to join him
Jonathan Woodson needs 68 rushing yards to hit the 2,000 mark.  Last week he surpassed 2,000 kickoff receiving yards and 5,000 all purpose yards.

Abilene Christian at Texas A&M-Commerce
Both teams are coming off of close losses where they held slim fourth quarter leads, and both are in the midst of disappointing seasons.  That is about where the team similarities end.  ACU is having an off-year on both sides of the ball yardage-wise, but is among the LSC leaders for offensive efficiency and red-zone optimization - in other words, they are capitalizing on their opportunities better than most.  The Lions, on the other hand, are near the bottom in yardage, scoring and efficiency.  ACU wins 35-17.

Eastern New Mexico at Midwestern State
The leagues top two rushing teams and bottom two passing teams should mean a quick game.  ENMU has a good running game, averaging 202 yards per game and 4.1 per carry.  MSU has a very good running game, picking up 317 yards per game and 7.1 per carry, with 4 fewer attempts per game than ENMU.  Also favoring MSU is the ENMU run defense, 8th in the LSC, giving up 192 yards per game (and last in points allowed, 41.1).  That's enough to pick MSU 42-14.

Tarleton State at Incarnate Word
At the end of this season, the Texans are going to look back and wonder why they didn't win more games.  They were in a position to win three of the games they have lost to date, but turnovers and special teams cost them.  They are right up there with WTAM and MSU in yards gained, but well behind them in scoring.  The defense is not giving up yards, but is 7th in points allowed.  They are the polar opposites of ACU in efficiency.  As for the Cardinals, they are plodding through another season of playing well in some games, but not winning many of them.  The defense is playing well, but they don't score enough to win.  That should be the case this week - Tarleton 28-21.

West Texas A&M at West Georgia
The Wolves ended a four game losing streak knocking off North Alabama last week.  They are a run-first team, averaging 221 yards per game on the ground and just 146 through the air.  They have had 2-100 yard rushers the last two games.  They don't pass much, but when they do, you better be covering Bobby Burum, easily their leading receiver with 23 catches for 348 yards and 2 TDs.  Their defense has not been anything to write home about, giving up 179 yards rushing and 236 passing.  WT on the other hand has a shot to taking over the top LSC spots in total offense and defense and scoring offense and defense.  Dustin Vaughn continues to have a typical WTAM passing year, but Khiry Robinson could be the key to the offense.  The run-first Wolves should be a good prep game for WT's matchup against MSU.  If WT's focused on this week's game, they should win 38-14.

Game of the Week
Angelo State at Texas A&M-Kingsville
This year's matchup doesn't have the same cache of the 90's end of the season battles, it is still important.  The winner will have a leg up for third place in the LSC and a shot at the Kanza Bowl.  While the game itself is relatively unimportant, it does allow for the team to practice a few weeks longer, and both WT and MSU have had strong seasons following their Kanza Bowl appearances.  The Rams season has been a series of hits and misses (and a near miss last week).  The defense has really only had one game (Valdosta) that they didn't perform well, but the offense has been a bit inconsistent, and is only averaging 18 points and 325 yards over the past three games.  To make things more interesting, they will be without starting quarterback Blake Hamblin, who is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury.

Speaking of inconsistency, here are the Javelinas.  They have been good (CWU and Tarleton), okay (ACU and UIW), and bad (WTAM, MSU, TAMC and North Alabama).  Turnovers have played a huge part of those results -  +8 vs CWU and TSU, even vs ACU and UIW, -7 vs WTAM, MSU, TAMC and North Alabama.  Statistically, they are close to Angeo in almost every category, with the biggest difference in pass defense (Rams almost 50 yards fewer per game).  The Javelinas might also be without their starting quarterback, as Nate Poppell was injured again at Tarleton after two straight late hits by TSU.

This game is really a toss-up, so home-field advantage helps TAMK to a 27-24 win.

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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