This week we’re gonna do it a little different. Thoughts will focus solely on ASU and the peril they can force on us this week. Buckle up and here we go.
As a Lion in the late 80s and early 90s most know that we won an LSC title in 1990. Little known fact is that I also played on 3 teams that ended up in 2nd place. ASU played a role in our finish every year as they were always a huge late game that was always tough.
1988…we got shellacked by a pretty good ASU team at home. It was a magical season but that windy afternoon in Commerce saw injuries overwhelm us and our dream season quickly turned into a nightmare. In those final 2 weeks we went from the #2 team in the nation to not even making the playoffs as the effects from the ASU loss spilled over into the final week as we lost to a terrible Cameron team to end our season.
1990…we came into the game this time around in a similar situation as 88. Undefeated in conference with the Rams paying a visit and a chance to clinch at least a share of the title. As we learned this team was something special. We had established a winning culture at Memorial Stadium that would last a couple more years early on that season and revenge was on our minds as we repayed the Rams with a backyard beat down heading to what would be our first appearance in the NCAA playoffs in school history.
1991…this team was arguably the most talented one I played on. But we had some Jekyll and Hyde moments throughout the season. We had a terrible loss to ENMU 2 weeks prior but had a chance to make amends in Angelo. Pre game speech by Coach Eddie Vowell was the most epic one I had ever heard. It was probably too good as we came out the 1st quarter and were receiving a similar beatdown to the one we got in 88 trailing like 25-7 after the first quarter. I guess the speech kicked in during the 2nd quarter as we got the wind behind us and stormed to a 32-25 halftime lead. Both teams settled down more in the 2nd half and after shooting ourselves in the foot several times we settled for the unimpressive and uninspiring tie at 39-39. It was the only tie I ever played and of course back then there was no overtime. Talk about kissing your sister squarely on the lips…it was the weirdest feeling ever. It left ENMU a half game ahead of us in the standings as another LSC title slipped thru our fingers.
1992…in the 3 previous match ups I now had a 1-1-1 record against the Rams. They basically had taken 2 rings off my fingers. This was my final game in commerce, final chance to buck the Rams and final chance to get rid of these pesky guys. Defense was the name of the game. This game would feature a matchup of the top receivers in the LSC statistically but our defense shut theirs down and we strived in a 25-11 smashing. We shut their offense completely out as it was mistakes by our offense that directly led to the 11 points they scored. Redemption was ours as we strolled to 7-3 and showed why no one wanted any part of the 92 edition of the Lions.
ASU has ways been a top rival game for us. This year will be no different. They are going thru some inner turmoil as they just fired their head coach. But don’t let that fool you. They are the Rams and they will show up. An effort like last week will produce results like we got in 88 and that’s a promise. No more excuses. No more mistakes. Our playoffs essentially has already started. These guys would love nothing more than to knock us out of it as once again they have nothing to lose. I said at the beginning of the season we would be everyone’s superbowl and get the absolute best from each opponent and I think it’s fair to say I was spot on with that. Expect more of the same from this group. Lions don’t let the distractions sway you. Stay focused and go for the kill. Break them early and they will lay down. Don’t give them any confidence by shooting yourselves in the foot. Trust me, that will be dangerous. I speak from experience. Let’s punch this playoff ticket Lions!