Well, it is is that time of year again. A huge rivalry that may be a measuring stick for how both teams are looking right now. In the old days it was the East Texas State Lions versus the Texas A&I Javelinas. It is a great rivalry and one of the best in smaller college football. Lets get right to the matchup Saturday night.
First and 10-Mental Case
The biggest question is how will this group respond after a heart breaking loss to a top 10, that most people feel we had no business losing with how well we played the first three quarters. It was a total heart breaker, but how a team rebounds tells you about the character and maturity of a team. I believe that HC Carthel and his staff can build on what was overall a great game and realize what happened and fix the mistakes that cost them the game. We will see.
Second and 5-How far down the road?
TAMUK is improved, but how much improved is the question. I know they are going through a rough patch and they really do not like what is going on, heck they fired their head coach halfway through his 3rd attempt, even Taylor Swift gives a guy more time than that. However it looks like the Hoggies are going to be a tougher team overall. They are better on offense and defense and overall. Playing in a game that is 400 miles away is tough enough as it is, but I am curious to see how much different Kingsville looks.
Third and 2-Passing Fancy
Harrison Stewart is really developing into a very good quarterback. He had a fantastic game and really rose to the occasion against Delta State. Like I said, he is a California boy with a Texas gunslinger mentality. I have seen him develop a ton from when he took the reigns two years ago and to now. Red-shirting last year was the best thing he could have possibly done. I really like the mentality of taking a long look at things and seeing what could be. He could very well be a Lion great. He also knew that with Tyrik Rollison the starter and Deric Davis always coming so close to being the starter, taking a year to red shirt would be a good thing. Aside from maturity, it is very obvious Harrison has a much better grasp on the offense than he did at times, and like I said last time, if he can continue to improve on his touch, he will be incredibly potent.
Fourth and goal-Keep a Hand on the wheel and a foot on the gas
One thing that was obvious Saturday night was when we got a decent sized lead, rather than keeping the foot on the gas, we slowed down and played clock control. Now, I have never been a guy who believes that clock control is completely irrelevant despite the fact I think that the notion you have to have it to win games is completely untrue. I would have loved to see us stay aggressive on play calling, using the pass to set up the run and vice versa, and I am sure that is what the coaches were thinking. Going back to mentality, I know that when you are out there and have a HUGE win within your grasp, human nature is to be careful, but sometimes you just have to just go ahead and take what you have worked hard and played hard for. Just my two pennies worth of though.
Predictions will be up along with an open thread on Saturday bright and early.