Greetings, Lion Fans, sorry for the delay, but it’s finally time for this week’s edition of the Blue Gang Notebook, and a look at the UT-Permian Basin Falcon offense vs. the Lion Defense. Let’s get to it.
OVERVIEW-The Lions have a decided advantage overall. The Falcons are not a very explosive offense (only 6 plays of 50 yards or more). They have a -3 turnover differential, and 9 interceptions stand out.
The Lions have shown an increasing tendency the past few weeks for turning the opponent over, and have 3 defensive touchdowns in the previous eight quarters. While being mostly undersized for the season, they have overcome that disadvantage with a mixture of speed, talent, and an outstanding defensive scheme from defensive coordinator Scott Power and his staff, one that the players have completely bought into.
In addition, the Lions have the best special teams/return game in all of Division 2. Teams absolutely refuse to kick deep to Reggie Kincade, and directionally punt away from Dominique Ramsey.
TALE OF THE TAPE-
Points- 19.6 ppg
Rushing- 102.8 ypg
Passing- 266.6 ypg
Interceptions – 9
Points- 20.2 ppg
Rushing- 146.2 ypg
Passing- 176.5 ypg
Total- 322.8 ypg
CAST OF CHARACTERS- The Falcons are led on offense by freshman quarterback Taylor Null, with 157 completions in 285 attempts for 1,960 yards and 9 interceptions, 14 touchdowns, and a long of 82 yards. Marquis Simmons leads the rushers with 460 yards in 100 attempts, with a pair of touchdowns. Leroy Giles has contributed 263 yards in 55 attempts with a touchdown.
Junior Kyle McBride leads the Falcon receivers with 45 catches for 621 yards and 5 touchdown. Kristian Brown has 26 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns, and Ben Galaviz has 34 catches for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The Lions continue to be led in tackling by senior Brucks Saathoff, with 75 stops (36 solo), followed by junior Mark Westbrook, with 57 tackles (39 solo), and the always consistent Neema Behbahani, with 52 tackles (25 solo). Dominique Ramsey, in addition to his punt return exploits, turned in a spectacular 85 yard interception return for a touchdown last week. Michael Onoha continues to be a threat to opposing passers, with 5.5 sacks, despite being double teamed, and from this writer’s perspective, being held by offensive linemen almost every play.
As mentioned before, the Lions hold an incredible advantage over every opponent in one area- Special Teams. They hold the best return game in the country. Reggie Kincade has 11 returns for a 40.9 yard average with two touchdowns. Teams now simply refuse to kick deep. Last week against the Buffs, he came up and took a pooch kick back well into West Texas territory to set the Lion offense up in prime field position. Dominque Ramsey continues to be exciting on punt returns, with 21 for a 13.38 average, with a touchdown, but is one of those returners that brings fans to the edge of their seats every time.
Tristan Perry has 37 punts for a 42.3 yard average, and the best placekicker in all of college football, Kristov Martinez, has connected on 10 field goals in 13 attempts. His kickoffs continue to sail out of the end zone, keeping opponents pinned in their own end of the field.
CLOSING ARGUEMENTS/FINAL VERDICT- This is the third step in four that Lions need to get to where they want to go-the playoffs. They hold an advantage in every area, and have the best special teams in the conference, and arguably, the nation in Division 2. Bottom line-play the way they are capable of playing, and they win this game, and win it big.
Here we go, Lion fans. See you Saturday.