Getting Personal with Kevon Thomas - Kale Steed, Amarillo.com
Coach Speak - Kale Steed, Amarillo.com
Maroon & White Zone - Kale Steed, Amarillo.com
Lady Buffs set for LSC Opener - Matt Watkins, Amarillo.com
Rams receivers fueling high-flying offense - Charles Bryce, San Angelo Standard Times
Javelinas try to corral 13th-ranked Mustangs - Quinton Martinez, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Football Game Previews
Western Oregon at Western New Mexico - 1:00 (WOU Notes) (WNMU Notes)
An interesting SR4 matchup between teams better than their combined 0-4 might suggest. Both lost to FCS schools in the opening week, and both lost close conference games to teams in the upper echelon of their respective conferences. Neither team runs the ball well (39 ypg for WNMU, 1 ypg game for WOU, yes one yard per game so far), but both can move it through the air (WOU 293 ypg, WNMU 441 ypg). Hopefully, WNMU won't be as generous with field position as they were last week, when ENMU started six of their first seven possessions in WNMU territory (average starting position at WNMU 43 yard line), allowing ENMU to jump ahead 17-7.
This is pretty much a toss-up, but we'll go with the home team, WNMU 30-24.
Texas Permian Basin at West Texas A&M - 3:00 (UTPB Notes) (WTAM Notes)
Given the performances last week, this looks like a shoo-in for the mismatch of the week. The Falcons got blown out by FCS Lamar 72-6, giving up 396 rushing yards and 246 passing. Five different Cardinals had 60+ rushing yards. That's got to have the Buffs excited, as they continue to make the transition to a run first offense. It's been fairly successful so far, averaging 178 yards against two good defenses. The passing game has been a little rough, but should have some success this weekend. Defensively, WT is allowing just 312 yards per game and shut down Colorado State-Pueblo last week after falling behind 21-3 early in the second quarter - 10 possessions, 27 plays, 117 yards, 3 punts, 4 turnovers. UTPB's defense is giving up 239 yards rushing, 296 passing and almost 60 points per game. Word is that last year's starting QBs, Ben Arbuckle for WT and Kameron Mathis for UTPB, have regained their starting positions, at least for this week.
Yeah, it should be a blowout, WT 42-7.
Eastern New Mexico at Texas A&M-Commerce - 6:00 (ENMU Notes) (TAMC Notes)
With both teams undefeated and having knocked off ranked squads, you'd think this was going to be a great matchup. And it very well might be, because the Greyhounds show us every year that they should not be a team to overlook. And yet we do, and are again this year. Why? While they are 2-0 and knocked off #18 Southwest Baptist and Western New Mexico last week, a closer look takes some luster off. First the Bearcats don't appear to be as good as they were last year and ENMU needed a 41 yard FG with 7 seconds in the game to squeak by at home. Second, they barely beat WNMU last week, despite starting 6 of their first 7 possessions in WNMU territory, and they gave up 418 yards through the air. Third, while the running game is averaging 286 yards per game, the per carry average of 4.1 is kind of pedestrian, and All-American Kamal Cass is averaging just 95 ypg, and 3.6 per carry. ENMU will need more from him to compete this week. The defense has been stingy against the run (64 ypg, 2.4 per carry), but generous against the pass (305 yards per game, 6 TDs, 139.4 efficiency rating).
On the flipside, TAMC has won a defensive struggle against #6 North Alabama on the road, and dominated an overmatched William Jewell last week. Luis Perez rebounded after a tough opening game, going 20-29 for 236 yards and 4 TDs in just under three full quarters, and looking like the All-American QB expected by a lot of folks in the preseason. The running game has not had one back break out, but the top three backs are combining for 111 ypg, and 5.2 per carry. The defense is giving up just 6.5 pts per game, and 272 yards, with just 48 per game rushing.
The key matchup is the Lions run defense against the Greyhound ground game. ENMU needs to win this battle decisively to win the game, while TAMC just needs to keep the Greyhounds from running wild. Also, ENMU's pass defense will need to tighten things up against a much more efficient Lion passing game. TAMC takes the first big LSC battle, 35-17.
Tarleton State at Angelo State - 6:00 (TSU Notes) (ASU Notes)
A quick look at the numbers would indicate a comfortable win for Angelo State. They are 2-0, outscoring opponents by a 45-11 margin and outgaining them by 551-275. Tarleton State is 1-1, outscoring teams by 32-27, but getting outgained 367-389.
For the Texans, a couple of caveats. First, the opening opponent, Delta State, looks like they might be a playoff-challenging team this year. Second, Zed Woerner has been announced as the starting QB. He has been much more effective at QB, putting up better stats and moving the team much better than Derek Kiser. Despite playing just the last couple of series at Delta State and splitting time last week, he is 11-17 for 200 yards and 5 TDs and a QB rating of 260.6!!! He has a talented trio of WRs in Jeff Thomas, Del'Michael High and Savon Rollioson and Adam Berryman is establishing himself as a top-flight running back. The defense needs to attack the QB better (1 sack to date) and get more turnovers (3).
The Rams look like a team that could challenge for the LSC title and NCAA playoffs. But before that claim can be made, they need to show what they can do against better competition. Can Jake Faber continue his early performance (68% completion, 280 yards per game, 5-0 TD to Int, 165 QB rating)? Will Lawson Ayo and Donovan Thompson combine for 188 receiving yards per game? Can Josh Stevens pace a running attack averaging 225 yards per game? Can the defense keep teams under 275 yards per game? In all likelihood, no, there will be some drop off. But, they have shown a great deal of improvement from last year's team.
While the numbers favor a comfortable Rams win, they can deceive. We're going to stick with the Rams, but it should be close (and could easily go the other way). ASU 28-24.
Texas A&M-Kingsville at Midwestern State - 7:00 (TAMK Notes) (MSU Notes)
Just about everyone thought this was going be a marquee matchup, one that could decide the LSC title. And it still might, but the opening week loss to Central Washington and fairly lackluster game at Simon Fraser last week has raised some questions about the Javelinas. QB play has been uneven - Conner Smith has started both games, throwing for 127 ypg, completing 61% of his passes, but has 0 TDs and 2 Ints, good for a 98.6 QB rating. Redshirt freshman Cade Dyal may have earned the starting job this week, after coming off the banch and throwing 3 TDs and moving the team more effectively. Jordan Thomas and Stehley Reden give either QB great targets to throw to. Nick Pealrean is quietly emerging as a top LSC running back, averaging 99.5 yards per game and 9.5 per carry, while Oklahoma State transfer Jeff Carr might be ready to make his mark, picking up 73 yards last week in limited action. The defense is about middle of the pack so far, 336.5 yards and 20.5 points per game. Of importance this week, they are giving up 112 on the ground, a number that is most likely to increase after this game.
So how about MSU? They dominated a weak opponent in week one, and then had their second game cancelled due to Hurricane Irma last week. As expected, the run game is solid. It might even be better than solid. They rushed for 468 yards and 6 TDs against Quincy, averaging an amazing 12 yards per carry. Adrian Seales (243 yds, 14.3 per carry) and Vincent Johnson (136 yards, 3 TDs, 19.4 per carry) were unstoppable. Layton Rabb wasn't tested, attempting just 13 passes, so we'll find out more about him this week. The defense was in Quincy's backfield a lot, with 3 sacks and 7 total tackles for loss, holding them to 246 yards and 0 TDs.
It's hard to go against Midwestern State with the way these two have played so far this year. Mustangs 35-21.
MSU 0-3 WTAM
MSU vs. Nebraska-Kearney
Nebraska-Kearney vs. WTAM
Angelo State at TAMC
Cameron at UTPB
TAMK at ENMU
Tarleton State at TWU
Cameron at WTAM
MSU at UTPB
Angelo State at TWU
Tarleton State at TAMC
TAMK at WNMU