Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FOOTBALL: PRESEASON POLL ANNOUNCED

From the LSC Website

Angelo State was picked as the favorite to win the Lone Star Conference football title, according to the 2015 LSC preseason poll announced Tuesday.

      The league's preseason poll reflects the opinions of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives from throughout the region.

      ASU, which captured the 2014 LSC Playoffs Championship, earned first place votes on 17 of the 21 ballots to finish with 142 points.  The Rams were 9-3 season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Championship.

      Defending LSC Champion Texas A&M-Commerce was picked second with 111 points and the remaining four first-place tallies on the heels of a 9-3 campaign last season.

      Midwestern State ranked third with 89 points just ahead of Tarleton State in fourth (85) and West Texas A&M fifth (82).  Eastern New Mexico (57) and Texas A&M-Kingsville (22) rounded out the poll.

      The season kicks off September 3, and the LSC has seven teams set to compete in 2015.  After playing six conference games apiece over the first nine weeks of an 11-week regular season, the league's football teams will split into two brackets to conduct a two-week conference playoff.  The conference champion and playoff seeding will be determined by regular season results.

      The top four teams (No. 4 at No. 1 and No. 3 at No. 2) comprise the championship bracket with Week 10 winners playing for the playoff title in Week 11, whereas Week 10 losers will meet for third place. The other half of the bracket includes the remaining three teams and Oklahoma Panhandle State with No. 5 at OPSU and No. 7 at No. 6 in Week 10.  The 7-6 winner plays at No. 5 for fifth-place in Week 11, while the 6-7 loser hosts OPSU.

      Additionally, the Lone Star Football Festival comes back to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for the fifth straight year in 2015 with three games on Saturday, September 19.  MSU faces ENMU, and TSU goes against WT in LSC action, while ASU plays Bacone in a non-conference contest.

      The event starts at 11:30 a.m. with MSU-ENMU, followed by WT-TSU at 3:30 p.m., and ASU-Bacone at 7:30 p.m. to conclude the football-filled day.

      A single ticket will be good for admission to all three games at the festival.  The best place for fans to purchase tickets is in the athletic ticket office of each participating team.  Advance purchases through the teams will be rewarded with rates of $25 for adults and $10 for students, while sales through Ticketmaster and game-day pricing at the AT&T Stadium ticket windows will be $30 for adults and $15 for students. 

      A pair of LSC teams were included in postseason play last season, with Angelo State advancing to the NCAA Division II playoffs, and Texas A&M-Commerce playing in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl.


RANKTEAM1STTOTAL
1Angelo State 17142
2Texas A&M-Commerce4111
3Midwestern State 89
4Tarleton State 85
5West Texas A&M82
6Eastern New Mexico 57
7Texas A&M-Kingsville22







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ASU'S WASHINGTON, A&M-C'S PULU CLAIM PRESEASON HONORS

Angelo State's Kyle Washington and Texas A&M-Commerce's Toni Pulu were named Lone Star Conference Football Preseason Players of the Year for the 2015 season league officials announced Tuesday.

      ASU's Washington was tabbed Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year, while A&M-C's Pulu claimed the Defensive Player of the Year award. 

      The league's preseason awards were selected by a vote of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives from throughout the region.

      Washington, a 6-5, 205-pound senior from Humble, Texas, was the first quarterback in ASU history to throw for over 3,000 yards with 3,236 yards in 2014. He threw 34 passing touchdowns, which tied for fifth in NCAA Division II last season, and rushed for nine more on the ground. Washington was also fifth nationally in total offensive yard per game at 345.6. He completed 63.5-percent of this throws and averaged 269.7 yards per game through the air while accounting for 258 of the Rams school record 473 points. He was named to the Don Hansen All-America team, BSN All-America Team, Don Hansen All-Region team, Daktronics All-Region Four second team, BSN All-Region Team and tabbed LSC Offensive Player of the Year and LSC Academic Player of the Year.

      With 14 votes, Washington was the clear choice in front of West Texas A&M's Geremy Alridge-Mitchell (five votes) and two others who each received one vote.

      Pulu, a 6-3, 285-pound senior from Provo, Utah, was the LSC Defensive Player of the Year after being one of the driving forces for the Lions, who ranked first in NCAA Division II in team tackles for loss in 2014.  He had 19 tackles for loss, which was second in the LSC and tied for 16th in Division II.  Pulu recorded 7.5 sacks, which ranked third in the league.  He was the Lions fifth leading tackler with 53 stops including 24 solo and 29 assisted efforts.

      Pulu received seven votes to top ASU's Clayton Callicutt (five votes) and Rush Seaver (two votes), A&M-C's Charles Woods (three votes), and four others who each received one nod. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Greatest LSC Game of All-Time (NAIA-era)

In 1977, the Lone Star Conference ruled the small college world.  The winner of the LSC title was most likely going to be the national champion at the end of the season as four LSC teams combined to win 10 national championships in the eleven year period between 1969 and 1979.

So the stage was set and the stakes couldn't have been much higher - number one vs. number two and winners of the last four national championships. To top it off, Texas A&I came into the game with a 42 game winning streak, and ACU a more modest 11 game streak.  More often than not, games with such buildup and importance usually don't quite live up to the hype.  That certainly wasn't the case in 1977 as the Abilene Christian Wildcats came to Kingsville and faced the Texas A&I Javelinas.  Here are two different viewpoints from the game.



From Fred Nuesch, long-time Javelina Sports Information Director:
This is story he wrote on Monday following the game:
Records on such aren’t kept but you can bet that Texas A&I’s 25 points within a 6:22 span of the fourth period last weekend to gain a 25-25 tie with Abilene Christian ranks as one of the all-time greatest comebacks in college football history.
The Javelinas were down, 25-0, with 11:22 left when they began their surge that saw the Hogs scoring three touchdowns, two two-point conversions and a field goal.
Wide receiver Glenn Starks took a nine-yard pass from quarterback Martin Stroman for the first score and an attempted two-point conversion failed.
Linebacker Andy Hawkins got a fumble recovery for A&I at the Javelina 47-yard line and from there the Javelinas struck again, in five plays. Stroman found Starks for the final 33 yards of the drive.
Starks took a pass from Stroman for the conversion and it was 25-14 with 8:22 left.
Seconds later, linebacker David Palmore recovered another fumble at the ACU nine-yard line and four plays later running back Hughie Shaw went over from four yards out.
Stroman ran the extra point and it was 25-22 with 6:54 on the clock.
Defensive end Mike Hawkins intercepted a Wildcat pass at the 34-yard line and returned it to the ACU 19. Five plays later Robbie Spencer kicked a 36-yard field goal to conclude the amazing rally.
The field goal came with 4:44 left in the game.
After the goal, A&I held ACU and forced a punt. The Javelinas took over at their own 14 and drove to the Wildcat 44 before time ran out.
“To come back like we did means a lot,” Fred Jonas, Javelina head coach, said. “You always want to win and there is no substitute for winning. But to have a team rally like that really shows a lot.”
The Javelinas’ 42-game victory streak ended with the tie. It was the second longest winning streak in college football history. (The Javelinas extended their unbeaten streak to 46 before losing a 7-6 decision to East Texas State later in the season).
The crowd of 18,500 that witnessed the ACU game in Javelina Stadium was the largest ever for a Lone Star Conference contest. The facility has a capacity of 17,500.
Not surprisingly, ACU's Rod Hadfield's recollection is a bit different.  This is a story written before the October 2010 game between the longtime rivals
It’s been 33 years since Abilene Christian University and Texas A&M-Kingsville played a football game the first weekend in October as potentially meaningful as the one tonight in Kingsville. In 1977, the same two teams played in a had-to-see-it-to-believe-it 25-25 tie that ended the Javelinas’ gaudy 42-game winning streak.
The improbable result was a bitter pill for the Wildcats to swallow, and was followed by a lackluster loss the following week before one of the quietest crowds you’ve ever seen at Homecoming back in Abilene. ACU recovered to finish the season 11-1-1 and win the national title, and although it’s had some talented individuals and teams since, has yet to do so again.
This weekend, longtime fans who remember that last championship in 1977 may rediscover some deja vu memories of one wild and crazy night in South Texas.
The 1977 game was a showdown between defending NAIA Division I national champ and No. 1-ranked Texas A&I (the university’s name changed to Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1993) and No. 2-ranked ACU.
Tonight, the Wildcats are ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division II, and the Javelinas are No. 6, powered by suffocating defenses. And this year, as in 1977, the Lone Star Conference has four teams ranked in the nation’s top 10 the week of this showdown, led by these same two rivals.
I still get a kick out of the pseudonym used by ACU chancellor emeritus Dr. William J. Teague for the 1970s-era Javelinas, who pillaged opponents on their way to three straight undefeated seasons (1974-76), with another national title thrown in for good measure in 1979. “Babylonians,” he called them, a reference to the King Nebuchadnezzar-led bullies who destroyed Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and kidnapped its leaders. Today, 42 straight football wins does not a Mesopotamian empire make, but you get the point: the Javs were one bad (in a good way) outfit.
The Hoggies, as their fans like to call them, didn’t take many prisoners in those days and for 18 of 19 seasons (1966-84), had at least one player drafted each year by the NFL, including six in 1978. There is not a more prolific small-college factory of professional football players on the planet.
In 1977-78, I was on my first tour of duty as editor of ACU’s student newspaper, The Optimist, taking notes on the sideline that warm, muggy, breezy night in Kingsville. So was a classmate serving as a student sideline reporter for the Wildcats’ radio broadcast team. You now know him as Lance Barrow, the multiple Emmy Award-winning coordinating producer of golf and lead game producer of NFL football for CBS Sports.
The Wildcats came up with a superhero effort that evening, holding the Javs, who were averaging 310 yards rushing a game, to just 18. They led 12-0 at halftime and 25-0 after three quarters, when Abilene Reporter-News sportswriter Mark McDonald had half his game story written in the pressbox high above the visitors’ bench. It led with something about ACU players taking apart the Kingsville dynasty with their bare hands, and he was pretty proud of the prose. Fifteen minutes later, he was tearing it up and starting over.
The largest crowd in LSC history – 18,500 – saw the Javs convert three fourth-quarter ACU turnovers into 25 points, the last three on a 35-yard field goal after one of the most disputed play calls in Wildcat history.
With about five minutes left in the game and the Javs on the ACU 19-yard-line, A&I quarterback Martin Stroman ran the Javelina veer option to the left, but was met by ACU linebacker Reuben Mason. The ball popped into the air as Mason collided with the quarterback, and was recovered by the Wildcats after a scuffle. However, an official ruled it an incomplete pass, despite the fact that Stroman, who is right-handed, was carrying the ball down the line of scrimmage in his left hand and made no motion to throw the ball before Mason’s tackle. A&I’s drive stalled, but Bobbie Spencer’s field goal evened the score.
As time on the scoreboard expired, some angry Wildcat players dropped to the turf, and a few hurled their helmets in disgust.
If a tie “is like kissing your sister,” as Michigan State University head coach Duffy Daugherty said in 1966 after his team played rival Notre Dame University to a 10-10 stalemate of national powers, then this 25-25 affair was just as deflating. It also was a classic. In the mid-1970s, either the Wildcats or Javs won all but one NAIA national championship between 1973 and 1979 – two legitimate small-college behemoths (with apologies to George Carlin for the oxymoron) for the ages.
Tonight, A&M-Kingsville is not the defending national champion but it beat Northwest Missouri State, which is, in the season opener. The Javs rank No. 1 nationally in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense.
As they did in 1977, the Wildcats have a young backfield and experienced receivers. They are ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring (47.3 points per game), and are are anchored by a strong defense that leads the nation in turnover margin, with special teams units full of game-changing performers.
The 1977 officiating crew won’t be on the field, so that’s a moral victory. Absent some unforeseen events more befitting the spooky holiday later this month, it could be another game worth talking about far down the road.

Lone Star Conference

Angelo State News

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

MSUMustangs.com

Oklahoma Panhandle State 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

Amarillo Globe News - WT Sports