The last 36 or so hours have been very……interesting to say the least. I am wiped out both mentally and physically, but here we go. Left DFW around 1 PM yesterday and got to Wichita Falls right at 3. It was a nice and very pleasant drive across the region, an area I do not get to visit much, but it is good for clearing your head. Anyway, got to the hotel, checked in and headed to the stadium for tailgating, but it was apparent the Weather was going to dampen our experience in some form or fashion. The game was about to kickoff and then we got the first lightening delay, about an hour later, the game kicked off and at halftime, the flood gates opened and it was apparent we were not going to finish that night. I got back to the hotel and watched some late night PAC-12 Football and crashed. Then, at 5 AM I get a text saying the game is going to resume but it will be at Apogee Stadium in Denton at UNT. Slept a couple of more hours and then packed everything up and headed back to metroplex, got back about 11 AM, napped and then headed to UNT for what was a sloppy and yet very hard fought game, but as always, I have 5 thoughts on it.
- First, Scott Power and the Defense, this game was won by those guys, no doubt. They took a team that had been averaging 48 points a game and held them to 17. (2 of MSU’s 19 points came on a bad deep snap for a safety) MSU’s playmakers got their yards but they did not turn them into points, and they held QB Leyton Rabb to just at 50 percent passing for the game. MSU had some explosive plays but did not move the ball with any consistency or regularity in either half, and that was because the pressure Power dialed up and the different stunts he called, and there were some big hits that were clean but effective.
- EJ Thompson………this has been his best game as a Lion. He had 26 carries for 150 yards and kept the chains moving at critical times. At the end of the game when the Lions were only up by 1, he forced MSU Coach Bill Maskill to use his timeouts, which quite frankly, probably saved us the game. I thought based on how left the CSU-Pueblo game that his season was done but was I glad to be wrong about that.
- Kane Wilson continues to get better. He did not have quite the game he did last week, but he started the game out very well. He was taking what the defense was giving him and he was seeing lanes and taking off, something our prior QB’s sometimes did not do. Either way, we have our starting quarterback now and it is important that he continue to get better. Also, I have no idea where Ryan Stokes came from, but my gosh, I am glad he joined us. He had an amazing TD grab in the back right corner of the end zone in the first half, and the offensive line just whipped MSU’s butt all game long and gave Wilson the protection he needed and opened up running lanes.
- The special teams……not their best game. You had a bad snap cost us 2 points, plus a punt that hit a blocker downfield that turned the ball over after a stop, a blocked field goal that was the product of poor blocking on the line. That cost us 5 points there, but even with all those things going wrong, they stepped up when they needed to. Tristan Perry knocked through a fantastic punt on the final drive and Kristov Martinez blasted a free kick out of the back of the end zone and that was huge too. Also, huge props to holder Preston Wheeler to dealt with screwy snaps his way, but he managed to nab all of them and get them to where Kristov could knock them through.
- Finally, I have to say the fortitude of this team won them this game. You have two teams that arrived at this game, but MSU had not had really any close games, the Lions had to pull out 3 very close games and survive before this one. They were ready for that, and that is all about coaching. Colby Carthel told his team last year “You only have to beat them by one point.” This win was so satisfying on so many levels, but Tarleton State is undefeated and coming to the Hawk next Saturday. We will see where this team truly is at that point.