First Down-Overall Opining
Well, this is looking to be very much a repeat of what we experienced 2 seasons ago in Arlington. I really believe that the win over DSU two seasons ago, when nobody, and I emphasize NOBODY picked us to win is one of the defining victories in the Carthel era. It put to death the mediocrity of the program and it showed that we can play on big stages against big time teams. A win against DSU puts us higher in the national conversation and I would guarantee that it would get us the respect from the pollsters that we used to get all the time in the 80’s and 90’s. This game also has a strength of schedule implication so if we come down to a situation like we did last year, the playoffs rather than a bowl are where we probably land.
Second Down-Offensive material
Delta State is very good offensively as they are led by a Harlon Hill candidate on offense and want to go fast fast fast. In the past couple of years this would have worried me, but I feel that our defense is prepared for this as HC Carthel is the defensive guru. He has faced and beaten teams like this before. Expect a lot of rotating bodies in as often as DSU substitutes. The biggest thing I think would help take the DSU out of it’s rhythm is to really punish them physically. When I got some words from HC Carthel after the game that was the one thing I was asking him was if noticed how hard his team was hitting, and he was more impressed with how the defense was executing overall as a unit. We have to get stops which leads me to my next point….
Third Down-Gellin’ the O
Harrison Stewart had very good game for his first expected start. He did a good job taking what the defense gave him and I felt he did not try to force things. The one thing I love about the California boy is that he has a gunslinger mentality. That said, he threw 3 passes that were just over the head of his wide open WR’s. I think he tried to drive it too hard when he threw and in my opinion someone needs to tell him that he is not going to underthrow anyone, he has the strongest arm of any QB we have seen in the Carthel era, he improves on his long ball touch, and he has from two seasons ago, he is going to be deadly. Also, he has really improved as a roll out guy and also using his size to run well in open field. I really felt that the offense was getting better as the game wore on, but how much better will be found out on Saturday.
Fourth and Goal-Running Them Over
When I look at the stats from both teams, I really feel that we have a balance that will use the pass to set up the run. We can throw and these guys know it, but we can run the ball very effectively and I feel that having that might be our ace in the hole. Cooper and Theo Wofford both had great games, but TE John Thomas is a complete beast and reminds me of a combination of former Texas A&M TE Martellus Bennet and Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro. He catches the ball and delivers punishing hits. He will be needed to bring his A-Game.
Note: This is the first game Commerce is going host against two ranked teams since East Texas State hosted Texas A&I in 1992.