Greetings, Lion fans, it’s the week we’ve been waiting for. The biggest game of the season so far. A battle for Lone Star supremacy against the Lion’s most bitter rival, the much despised Mustangs of Midwestern State. Midwestern dealt the Lions their only loss last year en route to the title. Let’s take a look and see how it all breaks down……
OVERVIEW-Finally! Last week was the Lion team we’ve all been eagerly anticipating to see. Granted, Lock Haven was not the caliber of this week’s opponent, but until last week, the Lions have struggled in games they should have won easily. Junior transfer Kane Wilson made his first start at quarterback, throwing for four touchdowns, and running for another. He showed both a nice touch on the ball as well as a gun when needed to fit the ball into a tight window. The Lion offense opened up, particularly the jailbreak screen, crossing routes, and deep balls that forced the Lock Haven defense out of crowding the line of scrimmage. They’re going to need it all this week.
Midwestern comes in ranked #4, having defeated a familiar foe to Lion fans, West Florida, and last week topped Eastern New Mexico, 31-23. The Mustangs possess a balance, explosive offense, but have struggled defensively. They do, however, have a talent at turning their opponents over.
TALE OF THE TAPE-
CAST OF CHARACTERS-The Lions are led in passing by Preston Wheeler, 67-122, 679 yards, 5 TD’s , 4 INT’s, with a long of 44. Kane Wilson is 28-47, 481, 4 TD’s, 1 INT, also with a long of 44. Carandale Hale leads the rushing attack, 56-278, 3 TD’s, with a long of 32. EJ Thompson follows with 32-135, 1 TD, with a long of 19. Ovie Urevbu has 28-122, 1 TD, with a long of 19.
The Lions continue their trademark of spreading the wealth among the receivers, with the leader being Marquis Wimberly, 28-401, 4 TD’s, with a long of 40. Chance Cooper follows with 17-205m, 1 TD, with a long of 40. Ryan Stokes chips in with 9-172, 3 TD’s, with a long of 44. Matt Childers tallies 16-165, 1 TD, with a long of 33.
The Mustangs are led on defense by senior defensive back SirVell Ford with 39 tackles (17 solo), senior Rover Paul Manus with 33(15 solo), and followed by junior cornerback Jaydon Cunigan with 29(9 solo). A’Quan Robinson, Michael Nash, and Anthony Fields each have two sacks to lead the Mustang pass rush.
The Mustangs are undersized on defense, averaging 6’1″ 249 along the front, and 5’10″185 in the secondary. The Lions offensively average 6’2″ 207 at the skill positions, and 6’3″ 278 along the line.
THE BOTTOM LINE-Despite the Mustangs seemingly having the Lions number recently, this is a very winnable game. The blowout win last week worked wonders for team confidence, and it would appear the explosive, rock and roll offense that the Lions have become known for has returned. There is a real opportunity for the Lions to take control of the conference race.
THE VERDICT-This is the biggest game of the year. The winner takes a firm grasp on the conference and forthcoming playoff scenarios. Make no mistake, this looks to be a track meet. The last team with the ball could be the winner.
It all comes down to this-ball security. If the Lions can control the ball, and not turn it over, they can win this. The Mustangs have not been particularly effective in stopping opposing offenses, and the Lions are poise to take advantage.
It time to step up and take what’s ours. See you in Wichita Falls.