- Midwestern State - same pattern as last year
- Tarleton State - playoffs may slip from their grip, even if they win the LSC title
- West Texas A&M - a potentially great season is slipping away
- Eastern New Mexico - raise your hand if you saw the Greyhounds coming?
- Texas A&M Commerce - the sting from last week's loss shows just how far the Lions have come.
- Angelo State - finally put together 60 minutes for the win, can they do it again?
- Texas A&M - Kingsville - offense showed a bit of life last week.
Southwestern Oklahoma at Tarleton State
TSU Game Notes
The Bulldogs are 5-4 on the season after a 42-14 win last week over Southern Nazarene. In games against regionally ranked teams, they lost 45-17 to Henderson State back in October, but did upset Harding in the season opener 27-23. The offense has averaged 26.4 points and 421 yards per game (157 rushing, 264 passing). Dustin Stenta is the all-time leading passer for SWO, and is 206 yards shy of 9,000 for his career. The defense is giving up 24.2 points and 383 yards (115 rushing, 268 passing).
The Texans finally had a game that didn't come down to the last minute last week. They certainly needed it after dropping two games in a row to Delta State and A&M-Commerce. Currently ranked 8th in the region, Tarleton needs to win their last two games and have a couple teams ahead of them lose in the next two weeks. In order to get those wins, the defense needs to step up - the Texans are last in the LSC allowing 421 yards per game (473 last week to the Javelinas).
With so much at stake, the Texans need to come out strong, and we think they will - TSU wins 45-28.
Texas A&M-Commerce at Houston Baptist
The Huskies are 3-3 in their inaugural season, with wins over Wayland Baptist, Oklahoma Baptist and Texas College, all NAIA schools with a combined 3-22 record. Their losses have come to Sam Houston, ACU and Incarnate Word by an average margin of 56-5. Not many positives to spin there.
Last Saturday's 25-20 loss to Angelo State would have qualified as moral victory the last 5 or so years, but not this year. It was actually very disappointing to drop a conference game, especially after coming back from 12 points down to take a lead in the middle of the fourth quarter. The offense struggled, especially running the ball, and the Lions only managed to convert 2 of 15 third downs.
Don't expect many struggles this week. Throw in playing at an opponents homecoming and a win is almost certain. TAMC rolls 45-14.
Texas A&M Kingsville at Angelo State
After losing four consecutive games by less than a TD, the Rams finally pulled out a close one, getting the winning TD with 1:30 to go in the fourth quarter. The Rams defense racked up 11 sacks, and got an interception on the Lions' final possession to seal the win. Kyle Washington continues to have a nice sophomore year, second in the LSC with 96 yards rushing per game and 8 TDs, and throwing for 190 per game and a 2-1 TD-to-Int ratio.
The struggles continue for the Javelinas, but last week did give some reason for hope. True freshman Caleb Bedford had his first 300 yard passing game and the team had 473 total yards against Tarleton State (with three drives of 10+ plays). They need to finish better, having 6 red zone trips result in just 1 TD and 2 FGs.
There's not much to suggest the Javelinas will break out of their losing streak. Angelo State wins at home, 35-17.
West Georgia at West Texas A&M
It sure looks funny to see the AFCA poll and not see the Buffaloes among the ranked teams. More importantly, WT is ranked 9th in the Regional Rankings and will need to win out and get some help to make the playoffs this year. Dustin Vaughan needs 228 yards to reach the 12,000 mark, and 338 to become the LSC's all-time leader in passing yards. He also trails by 8 in TD passes.
West Georgia is 5-4 on the season, but has lost 3 of its last 4 games. They are a run-oriented team averaging 217 yards per game and 5.0 per carry on the ground. They are last in the GSC with 170 passing yards per game. Defensively, they lead the GSC with 346 yards allowed, 212 on the ground and just 134 through the air.
While the NCAA playoffs don't start for 2 more weeks, in reality every week should have playoff-urgency for WT. They should rebound this week and win 42-24.
Game of the Week
#12 Midwestern State at Eastern New Mexico
This was not supposed to be a critical game, one that would end one team's LSC title hopes, while giving the winner a chance to clinch a tie in the season finale next week. But thanks to ENMU's surprising 4 game winning streak, that is exactly where we are. The Greyhounds could be sitting at 7-1 if not for a couple of early season stumbles - they dropped a 3 point decision to New Mexico Highlands in the season opener and a 7 point game to Incarnate Word. They are winning with good defense (2nd in the LSC in both scoring and yards allowed) and ball control offense (32:29 time of possession average).
But what ENMU has been doing well, MSU has been doing better. The Mustangs lead the LSC in defense, both scoring and yards allowed, and they are second in TOP averaging 32:37 per game. They lead the LSC in rushing (295 yards) and are second in scoring (45 pts). Deeper down, they are the most effective team in the red zone (39 scores in 42 chances, including 33 TDs) and lead the LSC in turnover margin (+15).
Look for the Mustangs to take this one, but not without a fight. MSU wins 42-28.