Well, it is rivalry week. Throw out the records in this game, it is the Lone Star Conference’s most storied rivalry with over 50 conference titles and 7 National Titles between these two teams, not to mention hall of fame coaches and some great players who have played in this game, it the Hoggies of Ole A&I versus the Lions of Old ET. Lets get to it.
- Kingsville does not look as impressive coming into this game as they did last year. Last year they had a lot more offensive firepower from what I can see. The Hoggies are at 1-2 for the year, their lone win coming against a College in Canada called Simon Fraser. They were held to 10 points against Central Washington and 13 against Midwestern. That encourages me because if they have those kind of struggles against the Lion defense, this game will get very ugly very quickly.
- That being said, TAMUK wants this win BADLY. They felt they should have won last year and could have had a couple of things gone their way. This is the big draw in South Texas this weekend, head on to Javelina Stadium and take down the Lions of TAMU-Commerce. The hatred level for this game is the highest it has ever been, and in this rivalry, the Lions have won 5 straight, most of them in dominating fashion. The folks down in Javelina country do not want that, one bit.
- This game has so much riding on it for the Lions. If they lose, they will probably drop out of the top ten and have to head to Wichita Falls in two weeks and beat Midwestern, or the season is essentially over. I know how fatalistic that sounds, but this TAMUK group MUST be taken seriously. Last week I saw a Lion team that was all business and they MUST maintain that focus because losing this game would be a killer for a season that has so much promise.
- Last season the Javelina O-Line whipped the Lion D-Line. I am interested to see how that plays out this year because aside from maybe Grand Valley State, nobody ran the ball better on the Lions last year than TAMUK. They had a combination of size and speed and the plays they were running were basic traps, isos, counters, and sweeps but the O-Line did such a great job blocking for the Kingsville running backs it is certainly what kept them in the game. This year, the Lion D-Line is much stronger and quicker. This is where the game will be won or lost.
- Also, last season’s game almost ended in a brawl. The one thing that has improved the most is how few penalties the Lions have been getting. Again, rivalry game, trophy cup game, I get it. You still have to keep your composure. If that happens, I expect the Lions to win. Last year the Lions had 118 yards of penalties, 5 of those penalties were unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. That cannot happen Saturday night. This team seems to have matured quite a bit from that. You already have a situation where your enemy wants to get you, do not be your own worst enemy.