Friday, October 30, 2015

Week Nine Game Previews

Official NCAA Super Region 4 Rankings

  1. Ferris State 7-0
  2. Texas A&M-Commerce 7-1
  3. Midwestern State 7-1
  4. Grand Valley State 7-1
  5. Colorado State Pueblo 7-1
  6. Ashland 8-0
  7. Indianapolis 7-0
  8. Colorado Mines 7-1
  9. Colorado Mesa 7-1
  10. Eastern New Mexico 5-2

Computer Rankings and Predictions

Texas A&M-Commerce moves up to #2, Midwestern State is #4, ENMU moves up 8 places to  #7, Angelo State dropped to #14, West Texas A&M is #25, Tarleton is #39, Texas A&M-Kingsville is #68

Other Super Region 4 teams
CSU-Pueblo is #5
Ferris State is #6
Colorado Mines is #15
Mesa State is #16
Grand Valley is #17
Ashland is #26
Ohio Dominican is #34
Indianapolis is #45

Massey predictions for this week's games (last week they were 4-)
MSU wins 34-10 over TAMK
ENMU wins 37-34 over WTAM
ASU wins 45-38 over TSU
Sam Houston 38-35 over TAMC
LSC - #2 Midwestern State, #3 Texas A&M-Commerce, #21 ENMU, #36 Angelo State, #37 West Texas A&M, #78 Tarleton State, #108 Texas A&M-Kingsville

SR Teams
#5 Ferris State
#13 Mesa St.
#20 Grand Valley
#22 Mines
#30 Ashland
#46 Indianapolis

This Week's game predictions 
ASU 51-36 over TSU
MSU 33-11 over TAMK
WTAM 35-33 over ENMU
SHSU 41-31 over TAMC

Atomic Football Predictions
ASU 48-35 over TSU
MSU 38-13 over TAMK
ENMU 35-34 over WTAM
SHSU 39-32 over TAMC

This week's games

Texas A&M-Kingsville at # Midwestern State
Game Notes - TAMK
Game Notes - MSU
Live Stats
Live Video

The Javelinas went into the half tied 14-14 with WTAM, but the offense was a no-show after the first quarter as TAMK lost 24-14.  After tying the game at 14 early in the second quarter, the offense with backup Steve Dorman under center could must just 65 yards on 29 plays with 3 turnovers, plus one on a kick return.  Despite that, they trailed by just 7 points until WT kicked a FG with 2:35 left in the game.

The Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season, dropping a 27-14 decision at Texas A&M-Commerce.  The defense played pretty well, especially tightening up in the second half, limiting the Lions to just over 100 yards after the break.  The offense never really got untracked with just one drive of more than 50 yards and six turnovers.  Despite that, MSU trailed by just 21-14 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.

Both starting QBs were knocked out last week, and it is unclear who will get the starts this week.  Even with that facto, don't look for such lackluster play this week.  Midwestern is more likely to rebound and get ready to host a first round LSC playoff game next week.  The Javelinas will look to continue to improve on last year's performance and keep this close for a while.  MSU 35-17.

Tarleton State at Angelo State
Game Notes - TSU
Game Notes - ASU
Live Stats
Live Video

The Texans set a new single game record with 84 points in last week's win over Panhandle State.  The offense racked up 658 yards, scoring TDs on 12 of their 15 possessions.  The Texans did not let up the whole game.  In the fourth quarter and with a 63-40 lead, the Texans passed 8 times on a 10 play 56 yard TD drive, then 3 more times in the first six plays of a 11 play 75 yard drive, and closing out the game with a 6 yard TD run with just over a minute to play and a 77-47 lead.  Last year, against Texas A&M-Kingsville, with a 59-14 lead, TSU passed the ball 7 times on a 9 play drive to open the fourth quarter, and on the final drive, ran the ball on fourth down for a TD to get to 80.  As Bob Eblen noted on, it is puzzling to see scores run up like this.

Just four weeks ago, the Rams were ranked #8 in the nation.  With three losses in the last four games, they find themselves out of the rankings and almost certainly out of the NCAA playoffs.  The Rams gave up 583 yards rushing and ENMU scored on their first four possessions, building up a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter.  The Rams would get no closer than 13 points the rest of the game.  Angelo needs to win to make the top half of the LSC playoff bracket, but the postseason looks to be lost, unless they are invited to play in a bowl game

If you love offense, this is the game to go to this weekend.  ASU might let it all hang out, allowing Kyle Washington to pass a couple of Buffaloes ahead of him on the LSC passing charts (he needs 1,252 for Keith Null and 1,282 for Taylor Harris and TSU has the LSC's worst pass efficiency rating by a large margin (173.7)  Tarleton will try to knock Angelo into the bottom half of the LSC playoffs.  Look for the Rams to edge the Texans, 56-49.

Eastern New Mexico at West Texas A&M

The Wagon Wheel is a series of streaks, with just two instances of a single win and just one instance of a two game streak.  ENMU has three 3 game streaks (including the current streak) and one 4 game streak and WTAM has the longest streak at 7.  The game usually features a team in the playoff race and the other playing the spoiler.  The roles are reversed this year, as ENMU, ranked #10 in SR4 could make the playoffs, but will have to run the table to do so.

Running is key.  The Greyhounds lead the LSC in rushing and are #3 in the nation.  Eight different Greyhounds have 100+ yards on the season with Kamal Cass (894 yds, 13 TDs) leading the way.  WT's run defense is allowing 192 yards per game, but allowed the LSC's #2 and #3 rushing offenses about 250 per game.  WT has the LSC's leading rusher in Geremy Aldridge-Mitchell, but the rest of the team is averaging just 40 yards.  They probably won't be much passing, with the bottom two teams in passing yards in the LSC.  ENMU just doesn't throw much (12.5 attempts per game), but when they do they have been efficient (178.2 rating, #1 in LSC).  WT still throws it about 35 times per game, but have not been efficient (last in LSC, 117.4 rating.  In fact, WT averages under 6 yards per attempt, while ENMU is over 11.

The Greyhounds should win this one, and it looks like they should comfortably.  But the Wagon Wheel seems to level the playing field, with the winner having to earn it, sometimes with a bit of luck.  Still, this could be the Greyhound's year.  ENMU 45-28.

#8 Texas A&M-Commerce at #10 Sam Houston State

Former LSC member Sam Houston comes into the game on a five game winning streak, albeit against teams with a combined 11-25 record.  They rank #2 in FCS with 47.6 points per game and also #2 with 548 yards per game, 255 rushing and 293 passing.  The defense is allowing 26.4 points, 371 yards with 194 rushing and 177 passing.  The Bearkats have become perennial playoff participants, making the playoffs the last 7 years, going to the semifinals last year and the national championship game in 2011 & 2012 losing to eventual national champion North Dakota State all three times.

The Lions continue to win in somewhat of an understated manner.  The offense is good, #10 nationally in scoring and #17 in total offense.  The balance (235 yds rushing, 250 passing) keeps opposing defenses off balance.  The defense has been okay overall (52nd in scoring, 80th in yards allowed), but really good at times.  Last week, the defense sprung TAMC to a 21 point lead over MSU and kept the Mustangs offense from getting into a groove all night.  One stat that has really made a difference is turnover margin - the Lions lead the nation with a +18 (2.25 per game) advantage.

While this game has no bearing on the DII regional playoff rankings, the Lions still have a couple of goals.  First, avoid injuries - they need to be healthy heading into next week's LSC playoff opener.  Second, if they can win this game or at least play it close, the confidence boost could really help them the rest of the season. Prediction - Lions do keep it close, but Bearkats to strong and deep.  SHSU 35-28.

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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