The playoffs start this Saturday. This one is pretty simple, beat Tarleton by a convincing margin and more than likely you are in a decent spot in the playoff picture. This is the third time in four seasons what the Lions have their playoff fate decided on the final week of the season. We will get into polls later, but this game is not only a must win, but it is a must win big.
TSU has improved vastly over the past 3 years. Remember in 2015 the Lions handed the Texans a 63-0 loss in the most lopsided victory in the History of the rivalry. They were 3-7 that year and had a horrendous defense. They improved last season to 5-6 and had a 5-4 record in conference play, and for most of the year they had been in the thick of the LSC title hunt. They are continuing to improve again this year and came ever so close to beating Midwestern State Saturday.
Todd Whitten is a very good coach. Rarely do you see coaches leave programs they made into national powers only to leave and come back. TSU was a formidable program in the mid-2000’s and also into the early part of the decade. Whitten put a good product on the field and they were always in contention for an LSC title. Expect the upward trend to continue.
TSU seems to sputter on offense at times, and then other times erupt. We saw them score 42 against Midwestern, only to see them score 32 against UT-Permian Basin and also lose to Western New Mexico. Zed Woerner, whom we have seen since 2014, leads the TSU offense and is a pretty solid QB. He has thrown for 2,064 yards to go with 18 TD passes to 8 interceptions. The running game is not spectacular, but the wideout group has some pretty good targets, the best one being Jeff Thomas, a senior from Duncanville who has 734 receiving yards and 5 TD’s, he is also a huge deep threat.
This is going to be the toughest TSU team the Lions have faced on the road since that 2013 team that the Lions beat on a fourth and 13 play. That was a tremendous win for the team and no doubt got the Lions thinking postseason in Colby Carthel’s first year. TSU is playing for a postseason hope too. Assuming that the Lions, Midwestern, and Eastern New Mexico make the playoffs, you are probably looking at TSU getting the bid to the Heart of Texas Bowl, and it would be their second bowl game appearance in 4 years.