5 Thoughts on this big win and then MVP’s.
- The Lion offense played out of their minds last night. I have seen teams that have more yards and more points, but this one really stood out to me last night. Luis Perez was a mind boggling 20/24 with 357 yards and 5 TD passes. That is NFL level efficiency gang. I was able to see up close and personal the great TD catches by D’Arthur Cowan and Buck Wilson, and when Darrion Landry took a hitch and ran due north, he just totally outran the entire Eastern Defense. The offensive effort was just as good as you could ever ask for. The lone mistake was the errant pass that was tipped off a WR’s hand that Perez threw that landed in an Eastern defender’s hands, allowing him to walk it in. Not really a huge mistake, as on the very next possession the Lions put in another 7 in 3 plays. This was the best offensive performance I have seen since Carthel got here. Just super impressed.
- We all knew the defense would be tested. They passed that test with a bend but don’t break mode of thought. Sure enough as I predicted, the Hounds got their yards on the ground, 241 of them, and another 105 in the air and dominated time of possession, but still got beat soundly. The Lions tackled well and for the most part played very good assignment defense. They did not allow large runs. Eastern only scored TD’s on two possessions and was forced into field goal attempts two other times. It was the fewest points that the Hounds scored on offense all season long, as they put up 34 (I believe) against Western New Mexico and 23 against a ranked SW Baptist team. The defense played very hard last night and executed well. They shut down a potent offense, hats off to them on that.
- Special teams were VERY special last night. They covered returns for Eastern New Mexico extremely well, and blocked 2 extra point attempts. Kristov Martinez was fantastic last night. After shanking an extra point, he made sure that all his other kicks were going to land across Highway 224 or into Gee Lake. He put some serious muscle behind his kicks, and huge props to the punt teams who put tremendous pressure on the Eastern punters. That helped establish great field position.
- I want to give Eastern props on their offensive performance. Their game plan is not to score a lot but to pound away and execute, score, and take time off the clock. They did a lot of that, but the Lion offense just responded every single time. It was a lot of fun to watch how an offense to old school and vanilla can be so potent and hard to stop. Eastern New Mexico will be in the hunt for a postseason spot, no doubt.
- Last night I was able to visit and spend some time in the new Letterman’s lounge that was created by AD Tim McMurray, and there was another crowd of almost 10,000 there last night. The fact that a storage room that consisted of broken down golf carts and doors that had not been opened in probably 3 years had been transformed into a super modern room with air conditioning, Television, tables, and lounging areas shows you what can really be accomplished when an administration really doubles up and down on making A&M-Commerce the place to be for the eastern part of North Texas to be on a Saturday night. It starts at the top, and the top is very impressive as of now.
Offense-Had to tie this one between Luis Perez and Darrion Landry. Perez played out of his mind last night with is accuracy and his passing, but Landry was awesome as well last night. 7 catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Hats off to both of these guys.
Defense-Yusef Sterling-Lowe-The Bay Area product had 8 tackles, 7 of them solo including one dropped for a 4 yards loss, which is VERY hard to do in an option offense. Guy was all over the field last night and he played with NO fear.
Special Teams-Kristov Martinez-A 25 yard field goal to go with with 6/7 extra points and a whopping 57 yard average on kickoffs. Kid is special and he still has the rest of this young season to go and all of next year.