Greetings, Lion fans, we’re down to the nitty-gritty of the season. With two games left in the regular season, on one hand, I wonder, “Where has the time gone?”, while on the other, two games to get to the playoffs seem like an eternity. This week, it’s a trip out west to Odessa, and the UT-Permian Basin Falcons. Let’s take a look.
OVERVIEW-The Lions sit at 7-2, coming off a 41-16 thrashing of the Buffs of West Texas A&M before a raucous(and for once, a dry one)homecoming crowd. The Falcons are at 2-7, and are returning home after a 24-7 loss to Eastern New Mexico.
This is a critical juncture for the Lions-win the two remaining games, and be assured of a playoff spot in Super Region 4. The Falcons seemingly don’t have much to play for, but that does not mean they can be looked past. Surely they would like nothing better than to derail the Lion’s post season dreams.
TALE OF THE TAPE-
-6 Turnover Differential
-3 Turnover Differential
The Lions have a decided size advantage, averaging 6’2″, 208 lbs. at the skills positions, while averaging 6’3″, 278 lbs. across the offensive line. The undersized Falcon defense averages 5’11’, 187 lbs. in the secondary, and 6’2″, 240 lbs. in the front seven.
CAST OF CHARACTERS-The Lions are led on offense by junior transfer Kane Wilson, with 87 completions in 142 attempts for 1,210 yards with 4 interceptions and 8 touchdowns. He is also the leader in rushing touchdowns with 8. The Lions have been hit and miss on occasion offensively this year, but when they have been hitting on all cylinders, Wilson has been at the fore front.
Carandal Hale leads the surprisingly deep and stout Lion rushing attack, with 97-496 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Ovie Urevbu and Nate Davis have filled in very nicely for an injured EJ Thompson, with Urevbu contributing 56 rushes for 324 yards, and Davis with 33 attempts for 173 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions continue what has become their calling card, spreading the wealth among the receivers. Marquis Wimberly leads with 44 catches for 603 yards and 6 touchdowns, while Ryan Stokes has burst onto the scene with 21 for 357, and 4 touchdowns. Chance Cooper has contributed 18-211 and a touchdown, and Matt Childers has been a Swiss Army Knife of a receiver(he does a little bit of everything)with 20-185 and a touchdown. He has also thrown a touchdown pass and shown some good running skills on the reverse.
The mystery this season has been…..where is Vincent Hobbs? The answer is, he’s been there all along, but has faced constant double and triple teams, as well have fighting an injury bug. He’s still managed to contribute 17 catches for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns, and is always a threat around the goal line.
The Falcons are led in tackling by junior linebacker Chris Hoad, with 104 tackles(49 solo), followed by junior Keegan Gray with 68(43 solo). Sophomore John O’Kelley leads the team in sacks with 7. Gray also has two interceptions.
CLOSING ARGUEMENTS-The Lions have a real edge here in size, speed, and overall talent. The Falcon defense is undersized, and surrenders an average of over 200 yards per game rushing, and 400 yards in total offense. The Lions objectives offensively are as follows: 1. Protect Kane Wilson, and allow him to work his magic. 2. Ball Security 3. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff….winning is where it’s at now. Two games. Two games to get the Lions where they want to go. As John Madden once said, and it fits even more here:
“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.”
That’s it, Lion fans. JUST LOAD THE WAGON. Everything else will take care of itself.
See You Saturday.