Greetings, Lion fans, this might sound like a broken record, but here we are on the eve of another one of those “biggest game of the season” times again. The #7 ranked Lions take on the #16 ranked and undefeated Tarleton State Texans in a battle for the lead in the Lone Star Conference race. Let’s take a look.
OVERVIEW-Just how many more superlatives can there be to describe the work done so far by the Lion defense? Webster’s Dictionary may have to be expanded. A Midwestern State offense that came in averaging almost 600 yards and 45 points per game was limited to just 17 points. Employing a “bend, but don’t break”philosophy, the Blue Gang gave up some big plays, but never allowed the Mustangs from Midwestern to establish a rhythm. Throw in the fact that it was spread over two days and two different stadiums, and it becomes even more incredible. There’s no time to rest, though. A very talented and explosive Texan offense comes to town.
TALE OF THE TAPE-
CAST OF CHARACTERS-The Texans are definitely a run first offense. They are led junior Daniel McCants, 77-607, 5 TD’s, with a long run of 75 yards. He is followed by Xavier Turner, 50-269, 5 TD’s, with a long of 31. D’Anthony Hopkins contributes 48-240, 3 TD’s, with a long of 35.
Ben Holmes leads the Tarleton passing attack with 70 completions on 106 attempts for 1,168 yards with 11 TD’s and 4 interceptions. Junior Zahari Manning leads the receivers with 18 catches for 453 yards , 6 touchdowns, with a long of 70 yards. Sophomore J.F. Thomas is a big play threat with 6 catches for 203 yards, 2 TD’s and a long of 64. Savon Rollison chimes in with 14 receptions for 145 yards.
The Texan special teams are manned by punter Ron Reid, with 22 kicks for a 40.8 yard average. Joanly Martinez is 5-5 on field goals with a long of 36.
The Blue Gang find themselves in a familiar situation this week, being outsized. Tarleton averages 6’3 303 lbs. on the offensive line and 6’0″ 198 lbs. at the skill positions. The Lions are at 6’1″ 235 lbs in the front seven, and 6’0” 178 lbs. in the secondary.
THE BOTTOM LINE-It seems like the same song, second verse, Lion fans. The Blue Gang face a big, fast, talented, and explosive offense in Tarleton that will test them to their limit. The bright side is that the Texans are a run heavy group. The Lions always seem to match up well in these situations. They’re going to need every advantage they can get to have a successful effort.
THE VERDICT-This is a Tarelton team that is big, fast, and talented. They know it. And they like to let their opponents know it, too. Translated, they like to trash talk and taunt whoever they’re playing. If the Lions have had an Achilles’ heel , it has been the susceptibility to fall into this trap. This will be Job #1 for Coach Carthel and his staff…walk away from the noise, and focus on the job at hand-winning. There has been no team better in the Lone Star Conference at winning than the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions. George Herbert, the English poet, once said, “The best revenge is living well.” Nothing could be truer for the Lions. Walk away from the noise, and the taunts. Having more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game is what counts.
If the Lions continue defensively as they have all year, limit the explosive plays, and control the Texans running game, they can win this game.
This one has a chance to be a special one, Lion fans. See You At The Hawk.